Tuesday, March 28, 2017
How to Increase Your Check Average Working Backwards
Here is what I have come up with.
First of all depending on alcoholic beverages or wine nowadays with people cutting back and being designated drivers etc.. to rely on that alone to increase your check average can be meager at best. When you see a lot of tables sticking to soft drinks and water you know you are up against it if you rely on wine etc.. Maybe about 1 in 5 tables order a bottle of wine.
So this is what I am doing to increase the check average. First of all I greet the table and go over our features to them. I ask them gently if they would like a beverage or would like a couple of minutes more to look over the wine or drink list. In many cases if they do not drink they will say they are sticking with water or would like a soft drink.
Next is the fun part. So I start with the lady and she usually will always only order a main course. Some order an appetizer but most do not waiting for the cue from the husband.
When they order a steak I will say to them, "do you want the salad with it?" Now if I ask them if they want a salad generally most people will say no but if you say the salad they almost always reply back, "does it come with it?" I say yes it does if you order this and I point at the part of the menu which includes what they are having with a salad. It is not much more but it's something.
I do the same for the other lady who almost always orders the salad as well. Then the guys come and this is when I can up sell the size of the steak. If they order the 10 oz with the salad I offer the 14 cause I know they want it and they are still saving money with that salad combo. Then the other guy I can up sell the size as well. It is like if someone has bought a car and the salesman is asking if you want the heated seats with that? The car is bought all he is doing is selling some add-ons. Same idea selling the bigger steaks.
Once they have ordered their salads working backwards I ask if they want to share a couple of appetizers before their salads? Now there is always that one guy who looks for himself then ask the table if they would like to share what he would like to have. Then the other guys says sure order that and add this or that onto that as well.
So if they have ordered drinks I know I got a good table here because now timing your table is critical. A lot of dumb waiters will order the bread and salads right away send it through then put in the order for the hot appetizer. So the people are inundated with food on their table.
As I mentioned earlier and I tell them I will get that bread out to you and I will let you share and enjoy those hot appetizers before I bring the salads out. That is the proper service anyway so they agree. During their wait they are downing those drinks and picking at the bread. By the time I move those appetizers away and getting the salads they are ready for, you guessed it, another round of drinks.
You might even get that second bottle of wine by that time.
Now because they have had their meal spaced out and had time to drink and enjoy each other's company usually almost all the time when you bring the dessert menus over they are at least ready for coffee. In most cases because they shared appetizers I will say here is the dessert menu and perhaps there is something on that you may like to share as well for a night cap.
I usually can get two desserts.
Well that is what I am doing let's see how it works. Not every table is like the one I described obviously but when you get one like this you gotta make it count.
I didn't even mention the add-on sides to the main course either.
Radio talk show host of "The Hospitality Industry News Network" and author of "You Only Live Once" about his early years traveling around and working on ships and foreign countries Steven blogs about his thoughts on the restaurant industry as he sees it today.
Check out his web site at www.stevennicolle.com for more information.