Seasonal Restaurant Sales: How to Make Your Servers Care
During the holidays, you and your team have countless opportunities to maximize sales. With the steady stream of diners and the feeling of goodwill and gluttony (it’s no surprise that most Americans gain at least five pounds during the season), it’s the perfect time to motivate your team members to sharpen their sales skills. Here are a few employee incentives to get them started:
- Offer “most sold” prizes for categories: Select categories—gift cards, appetizers, special entrées, etc.—and offer awards for the most sold throughout the shift. Prizes can include iTunes gift cards, CDs, movie passes, etc. Then, the winners of each night are thrown into a drawing for a grand prize (an iPod, cell phone, even a TV) and then have the drawing during your holiday party for added excitement.
- Create holiday splurges: Work with your chef to create combinations that can be positioned as special, seasonal dishes or pairings. Appetizer sampler plates, trio-martini fleets, slice-of-heaven dessert tastings are all ways to make the holidays seem more celebratory while increasing sales.
- Spread the love (or at least, the prizes): Offer sales incentives to everyone who sells a gift card. Remind your team that we’re all in the sales business. Those who answer the phone, pack the to-go boxes, and deliver are all employees who can suggest and sell gift cards. Even the people who don’t have direct contact with guests can sell to family, friends, neighbors, their kids’ schools, etc. And when those salespeople receive “commissions,” it’s a happier season for everyone!
Remember, the best incentives and contests involve as many staff members as possible and generate multiple winners. Whether you’re trying to increase dessert sales or improve kitchen times, a good rule of thumb is that every contest should offer some type of reward for at least 60% of the employees involved.
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