Unoccupied time passes slower than occupied time. That’s why increasing appetizer sales not only improves restaurant sales and server tips, it also improves the overall guest experience. Suggesting and selling appetizers fills up the time between guests ordering an entrée and receiving it, improving their perception of the service you provide.

Strategies to Sell More Appetizers

What’s the worst that can happen when a server suggests an appetizer? The guest can simply say, “no.” That’s not so bad! Training your servers to consistently suggest specific appetizers is the first step toward increasing appetizer sales. Making suggestions opens the door, and the right server dialogue gets the job done. Train servers on these dialogue tips to sell more appetizers:

  • Offer a choice. Sometimes, guests don’t order appetizers simply because they’re not sure what they want. A server’s job is to guide guests to selections they’ll love. Train servers to give guests contrasting options, such as mozzarella sticks or a side salad, rather than suggesting two similar items, such as two deep-fried appetizers or two spicy selections.
  • Use descriptive words. Servers’ appetizer descriptions should give guests a visual image that triggers their taste buds and makes the suggestion hard to resist. Not only are they more likely to order an appetizers, they’ll feel good about the level of service your staff has provided.
  • Give personal recommendations. Guests care about what other people think. Practice appetizer sales dialogue that includes a personal recommendation by a server (“The French onion soup is my favorite”) or others (The calamari is very popular”).

Online Training for Increasing Appetizer Sales

Need help training your servers to sell? Our Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on the Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Watch the video below or click here to learn more.