Sell more appetizers. Sell more premium drinks. Don’t forget about desserts. Did you charge for that side of sour cream? Waitstaff sales training is more than just selling, it’s an overall sales strategy.

As restaurant managers, we know how hard it is to make this business profitable. And while we may preach about the importance of sales, our servers often tend to become confused… and discouraged.

But maybe we’re starting at the wrong place. Maybe instead of pushing waitstaff sales training during a shift, we should be training our servers to become salespeople. Here’s how professional salespeople do it (and how you can steal their successful strategies):

  • Start with the numbers. Professionals have an annual sales goal and an average sale figure. If you’re still focusing on “12 appetizers tonight” sales strategies, you’re thinking too small. And so is your team. Instead, provide salespeople with realistic monthly sales goals and track their success weekly.
  • Determine success rate. If you train your salespeople to always ask for the sale, you can easily track their success rate at the end of the night. You’ll determine how many people they need to ask to make one sale and you’ll motivate them with the math. Soon, they’ll be thinking like salespeople. “That ‘no’ just means I’m one guest closer to a ‘yes.’”
  • Limit sales goals. While it’s tempting to break down goals into categories (desserts sold, extras added on, premium drinks, etc.), many sales professionals limit themselves to no more than three or four goals. Too many waitstaff training goals cause diversions and more places to fail. And, in our business, do we really want to push items on customers… or fulfill needs? When we’re focusing on selling more appetizers, we’re not focusing on finding out what customers want from their dining experience. Instead, “extra” sales can be combined to fit into one category. Consequently, salespeople don’t feel as if they need to force items on people, but rather discover what they want… even if they don’t know they want it yet.
  • Reward success. Many of us think the additional tip should be reward enough for additional sales, but if you want your servers to truly become salespeople who work towards goals, you must reward them for meeting them. Determine what’s fair and motivating and post their successes in order to validate and promote your waitstaff sales training strategy.

We can help you kick start your waitstaff sales training. Click here to view our learning library!