Your servers probably don’t realize this, but they have the easiest sales job in the world. Salespeople in other industries have to spend time convincing customers that they really do want to buy something. That step is already done for your servers — guests come in to your restaurant ready to buy. They’re hungry. They’re thirsty. They’re just waiting for your servers to sell them what they already want.
Biggest Sales Obstacle: Product Knowledge
What your servers sell, and how they sell it, is what affects guest satisfaction and your profits. The biggest obstacle to sales success in any industry is a lack of product knowledge. It’s simple: you can’t sell what you don’t know. In the restaurant business, product knowledge is a critical component to service and sales training. Guests are depending on your staff to describe menu items, make suggestions, and answer questions that will help them enjoy their dining experiences.
Why Is Product Knowledge Important?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many servers feel like the menu does their product knowledge job for them. What can they possibly say that isn’t already written down in black and white? A lot! Guests rely on servers to guide them through the menu, asking questions and offering suggestions tailor made for each guest.
Product knowledge is a heavy-hitting tool in your servers’ toolbox when they are able to pair items such as beer and appetizers, wine and entrées, or desserts and after-dinner drinks. When guests are indecisive, a server’s level of product knowledge can be the difference between guests truly enjoying their experience or finding everything to be just “okay.”
Product knowledge is also a safety issue. Many guests have food allergies that can cause a variety of reactions ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications. To keep your guests safe – and protect yourself and the restaurant from liability – it’s critical that servers know the details of every product on your menu.