Educate, Inspire and Incent Your Servers
The ingredient that matters most in creating a new star of the menu: your front of house staff.
Their knowledge, expertise and genuine excitement around new items is the #1 driver of sales. Get started with these tips from Renegade Cook Matt Nelson and Reinhart pros:
Arm servers with confidence in knowing every detail about your new dishes, from how to modify to suit customer preference to the origin story of individual ingredients. Use a variety of tactics to keep your training fresh, including a classroom session with skills practice, an open book menu quiz and a fun activity at the end, such as a Server Olympics.
Invest in a tasting event
Schedule an in-depth sampling for servers, so they can speak about your new items in an educated way. They can’t sell it with enthusiasm if they haven’t tasted it.
Communicate with passion
Encourage servers to talk about the new items with real energy and excitement e.g. “This is my favorite dish on the menu right now”…”I wish this was always on the menu.”
Sales contests work, but only if they’re structured correctly
Make sure it’s fair to all e.g. based on percentage of sales of new items vs. overall sales that can put lower-traffic shift servers at a disadvantage. Offer multiple rewards: weekly awards to sustain momentum, and first, second and third place winners at the end. Consider motivating all with a team reward for achieving a restaurant-wide sales goal.
Involve back-of-house too
Sales contests are even more successful when FOH is backed by a motivated BOH team member. Pair each server with a cook and give both an incentive to work together and win.
Check in frequently with your team
Start an ongoing conversation by asking for feedback on how your new menu items are faring. Ask them about quality, popularity, customer comments, etc.
- Posted: August 22, 2019
- Categories: Business Solutions