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Archive for August, 2005

Maximizing Sales through Service

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

I just flew back from a speaking engagement at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in downtown LA. I do many speeches every year but I was very honored when they asked me to be a speaker at this great conference that attracts over 18,000 people. The workshop was standing room only and I received a lot of positive feedback so I felt good about the topic and content.

The title of my speech,
“Maximizing Sales: How to Increase your Sales Exponentially”.
was centered around the 3 ways that restaurants can increase sales. Today I’d like to share some of my thoughts on this important topic.

Now on the surface, increasing sales doesn’t seem like a topic that belongs in a service newsletter. But a look below the surface will reveal that providing remarkable service and maximizing your restaurant sales, go hand-in-hand.

In any business there are only 3 ways to increase sales. That’s right, not 100, not 50, only 3!

1. Get more new customers
2. Increase the per person check average
3. Increase the frequency of customer visits

3 Ways to Increase Sales

Still don’t see how this relates to service? Ok let’s look at each section a little closer.

==> 1. Get more new customers.

Most restaurants understand this one very well. In fact this is the area that they tend to focus most of their energy and money on. To get new customers they will advertise with mailings, newspaper ads and some will even pay for a TV spot. But is this the best way or even worth the cost?

Did you know that word of mouth advertising is ten times more effective than TV or print advertising. Ten times more effective! Knowing this, doesn’t it makes sense to focus on ways to trigger word of mouth advertising for your restaurant? But how?

By providing remarkable service.

We’ve all seen the stats that an unhappy customer will tell nine or ten people about their bad experience. But what about a happy customer, someone that experienced remarkable service. They may not tell ten people about their experience but they will tell two or three people. Start the buzz!

The goal of your wait staffs service should be to start conversations about your restaurant….good conversations. :) If word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of marketing on the planet, give them the remarkable service that they will talk about.

==> 2. Increase the per person check average.

How do you do this? One way (and the best way) is by training the staff to be successful server sellers and not order takers. If your wait staff development does not include sales training then you are not providing remarkable service but instead providing your customers with vending machines, that have legs :)

You need to teach your staff to:
* guide the customer
* make the customer feel pampered
* use words to paint images of the features and specials
* use suggestive selling to enhance the customers dining experience
* get them to come back

By teaching the principles of being a successful server seller, not only are you providing remarkable service, you are also increasing the check average.

==> 3. Increase the frequency of customer visits

73% of the reason a customer will return to your restaurant is service. Wow, 73%! Armed with that knowledge plus knowing that the average person eats out 218 times a year, what should you do?

Make sure that your wait staff training is a top priority. And this should come from the top down. Owners, operators, managers, everyone in a power position should be preaching the gospel of providing remarkable service. You must let your staff know that service is a top priority for your restaurant.

When you have new hires, they shouldn’t be allowed to hit the floor or touch a customer until they have gone through a formal training process that covers both sales and service training. And there should be tools in place to help reinforce the training over time. There are several companies that can help in providing those resources…(shameless plug) but we have the best tools available in the industry today so call and let us show you how we can help.

Regardless of what resources you use, make sure wait staff development is a top priority in your restaurant.

———————

There it is. The three ways to increase sales and how service relates to each of them. While there are other methods under each of these 3 ways to increase your sales, providing remarkable service sits on the top of each category!

Jeff Hookham
CEO, 4 Remarkable Service
www.4remarkable.com