Everything is fine. Customers are happy, employees are content… things are going well. So what’s missing? Maybe it’s that spark – that passion – that turns a job into a way of life. Your job as an operator is to build and feed that passion in your team members through effective restaurant training. But sometimes motivation feels forced and servers go through the motions without getting excited. When people aren’t inspired, everyone can feel it, especially the customers… and they leave feeling just as uninspired about your operation.

Here’s how to create more passion in your servers and watch your sales soar:

  • Give your employees a scoreboard. You’ll motivate your team members when they know they’re being assessed, especially if you make the competition friendly, fun and interesting. Start tracking sales of each server and bartender. Measure not only their check averages (at both lunch and dinner), but also the number of appetizers, sides, desserts, wine, soup, etc. they sell during each shift. Post the scoreboard and award weekly prizes. If you like, you can even form teams and conduct an ongoing competition that’s sure to get the entire operation excited.
  • Schedule “sales” meetings. At least six times a year, you should formally meet with your entire service staff and train on service and sales-oriented topics. Use these restaurant training meetings to not only improve skills, but to gain awareness of your team’s challenges and brainstorm solutions.
  • Hold daily pre-shift meetings. If you use this time to go over the specials and the fact that Sally is late again, you’re not making the most of this valuable time. Instead, turn the time into a sales meeting and give every server and bartender specific sales and service goals for that shift.
  • Follow up during the floor shift. Instead of waiting to tally up sales at the end of the evening, take a look at individual performance while the shift is still happening. If a server isn’t performing well, ask how you can help. The server may need a boost in confidence or a clarification of your expectations and waiting until the end of the shift will mean a lost opportunity for everyone.

Restaurant Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.