By Andrew Carlson, Foodable Industry Expert
There's a true science when it comes to making your restaurant run like a well-oiled machine. It takes both the front-of-house and back-of-house teams to make everything run smoothly.
Let's say you've created an awesome culture and everyone loves working for you. But there's just something missing.
Yes, your staff is warm and welcoming. Yes, your guests love coming in because of the experience they receive...yet somehow, your sales aren’t increasing. You are sitting there, scratching your head, wondering why your team isn't raising that guest check average.
Little did you know that it has been sitting under your nose this whole time. I even said it above.
But the root of the issue isn't that you just need to increase sales, it starts before that.
It Starts with Your Hiring Process
When you are conducting interviews, it's vital to get an understanding of someone's personality because you simply cannot train someone to have a great personality.
We've all tried it, and it causes us more stress, headaches, and is simply exhausting.
So you ask all of these situational-based questions surrounding how they would handle adversity with customers or questions based around customer service. But what about sales?
Have you ever asked questions about the process they follow to increase their sales?
Do you ask data-based questions from their previous work history and follow it up with checking with previous employers about their data?
The restaurant industry isn't just an industry where we make and serve extraordinary food and provide an excellent experience. The restaurant industry thrives by sales!
You can boost your sales on a number of things:
- Menu Engineering
- Low-Cost/High-Profit Dishes
- Food/Drink Specials
- Social Media Marketing
- Loyalty Programs
- Cross Promotion with Local Businesses
- VIP Programs
The list is endless. But the most important part of increasing sales lies in your team's ability to sell the product that you serve.
Set YOUR Standard
Set your standards high. Create sales contests in order to boost your store sales and increase your guest check average.
When you train your team to remember that sales are important and hire people who have a deep understanding that they’re not just walking into a serving job but also a sales job, there will be a massive shift within your restaurant.
Create incentives to get your team to dig in, reward top performers, and spend some valuable time coaching the people who are not meeting your goals.
Restaurant turnover is still incredibly high and if you take the time to nurture the ones that truly care, they will be loyal to you and your restaurant forever.
Even if they choose not to stay, you’ve taught them some valuable life lessons that will have them looking back at their time and be able to thrive in life simply because you took the time to coach them.
You’re essentially creating more leaders that will grow in life and there’s nothing more rewarding. The better they get now, the better your restaurant will be tomorrow.
Sales Is About Your Story
Have you ever walked onto a car lot and just dreaded seeing the sales people rush towards you like it’s the zombie apocalypse? Or when you start asking questions about the comfort package that you’re interested in, but they tell you to get the (twice as expensive) sports package simply because it seems “better” in their eyes?
Those salespeople might be hitting their sales goals — in reality, they probably aren’t — but they aren’t creating returning customers. They are creating customers that just want the time at the dealership to be over.
That’s exactly what you don’t want for your restaurant. You must train your team to tell your story and listen to what the guest wants.
You want them to be able to create a unique, one-of-a-kind experience that will cause your customers to come back time and time again.
If a customer asks about the specials, what can your team say about the specials? Is it a trout? What is it seasoned with? Where was it caught? What are the flavor notes that will hit your tongue first and what will the finishing tastes be like?
How about when it comes to the overall feel of the restaurant? When someone walks in with their jaw dropped or wide smile, they’re going to want to know about the owners. How did they come up with this concept?
If your team cannot answer these questions, then what’s the point in having them on the team?
Your job as a restaurant is to maximize your sales and the only way to do that is by hiring people with an understanding of sales and an understanding of how to connect with people.
If you are hiring someone solely based off of customer service skills and personality, you are leaving a lot of money on the table and will have a difficult time increasing your sales.
Once you start putting more of a focus on sales, you will start to see massive shifts in your sales and profits.