TIPS: How to Increase Restaurant Sales and Profits

December 8, 2017 by Matt Thompson
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There is a number of ways how to increase restaurant sales, yet the profit-generating strategy many restaurant owners or leaders overlook is training. Everything comes down to teaching your staff how to succeed in your restaurant with excellent customer service, product knowledge, selling strategies, and unparalleled service behavior.

While there are many resources available to restaurant leaders, some training programs are hard to digest and put to practice. At ShiftNote, we believe it’s all in the acronym: “TIPS”. Taking the following approach to employee training will make your wait staff experts at providing and increasing restaurant sales through customer service:

  • Training employees
  • Income generating
  • Product knowledge
  • SMART service behavior

T = Training

Focus on ongoing staff development. Highlight service tips that will make a difference for the customer. You can structure some pop-up training sessions around the following concepts to instruct servers on learning how to stand out and earn more. So, how do you do this? Here are some ideas:

  1.  Set standards for customer service.
  2.  Take care in your restaurant’s presentation.
  3.  Make each guest feel valued as a patron of your restaurant.
  4.  Pay attention to glassware – small details go a long way.
  5.  Discuss going above and beyond the call of duty with things like maintaining table cleanliness, table greeting frequency, and creating an all-round welcoming environment for patrons.

I = Income

The key to earning this income is through exceptional customer service, and, in the eyes of the guest, the service standard is set by a server. Profit lies in the server being able to provide an exceptional guest experience. To inspire staff to do this, you need to:

  1. Create salespeople out of your servers.
  2. Teach them about zone selling – or upselling items during beverage, appetizer, main course, and dessert serving times.
  3. Understand the value of a dollar. (For example, a server who works 40 hours per week could see a potential 10,000 guests per year. If they could sell a soda or a cup of coffee to every guest they see, earning a dollar more on each sale. That’s $10,000 right there!)

P = Product Knowledge

For a restaurant to reach the next level of service, your staff needs exceptional – and innate – menu knowledge. Knowing the menu like the back of your hand is important – and beyond that so is menu details, like ingredients used, common allergens within the dish, portion size, and more. The goal is equip your wait staff to know as much about the menu as possible so they can answer any patrons question!

S = SMART Service Behavior

To earn more tips and see greater success at work, servers have to be SMART about the steps of service with:

  • Seating: Greeting patrons immediately leads to better restaurant turnover times.
  • Making a positive impression: A server’s personality can go a long way and a way to do this is customizing the guests’ experience.
  • Arranging delivery times: Avoid gaps in service times – especially the main course.
  • Revisiting the table: Servers need to make sure they are visiting the table enough and keep the table tidy.
  • Treating the close with the same importance as the greeting: A well-done goodbye is a server’s last chance to leave a lasting impression. And if a good impression is left, it’s more likely the patron will leave a good tip!

The Next-Level of Service To Increase Restaurant Sales

Now it is time to take the training, income strategies, product knowledge, and SMART service behavior to the next level by creating an experience for the customer. Combining these tactics into a superior service delivery will differentiate your restaurant from average guest visits to an exceptional and recommendation worthy experience. Here are four ways to do this:

  • Customize guest interactions
  • Listen with appreciation
  • Become a better salesperson
  • Showcase caring and hospitality

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Matt Thompson

Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.