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Suggestive Selling

Suggestive Selling

Last week, I discussed some different ways to increase your ticket averages and tips through the use of suggestive selling as well as up-selling. Combined, these two tactics have the ability to tack on extra profits and sales, reflecting directly in your bottom line! Suggestive selling is an easy way to increase ticket averages and tips in an unobtrusive and pleasant manner. Let’s take a closer look at suggestive selling and how to incorporate it into your restaurant in a way that is profitable.

The Art of Suggestive Selling

Statistics show that 70% of Americans don’t actually know what they will order before entering a restaurant. With so much leeway, suggestive selling truly becomes an art. Before suggesting items, staff who take the time to find out what will have the best success will find that their ticket averages improve the most. Your employees become internal marketers for your restaurant, tailoring their marketing and suggestive selling techniques to each customer as individuals.

The Persona

Before suggesting any additional items, staff will find that their success rate improves when they spend more time creating a persona that is both trustworthy and likeable. Making eye contact, greeting your guests, and having a generally friendly persona creates a positive environment that supports suggestive selling and results in more ‘yes’ responses from guests! Similarly, your employees should firmly believe in the quality of the items they’re selling, as this is detectable by guests and will reflect in their ticket sales. Nurture your employee’s preference for your business and your restaurant’s items, and the results will shine through in their persona.

Set Your Employees Up to Succeed

Suggestive selling works best when employees have an arsenal of great additions for meals. Design menu items to be appealing as an addition to a main course! Similarly, train your employees to know what works best with certain dishes and to offer specific items, as suggesting a particular item results in more ‘yes’ responses from your customers. Either daily or weekly, review with every employee your specials. This prepares your employee with the knowledge it takes to suggest items in a profitable manner.

Train Staff Appropriately

This is an integral part of the previous point, as a well-trained employee is more likely to succeed! Ensure that your staff members know the menu inside and out as well as what sides work best with certain meals. Detail which meals may take longer to prepare, as this knowledge is great as a suggestive selling point (‘The steak will take about 20 minutes. Could I get you a glass of wine in the meantime? It would pair nicely with your steak when it’s done!’). The more knowledgable your employee, the more likely they are to be confident in their suggestive selling techniques.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Never suggestive sell to children! Simply put, you’ll end up with an angry parent. Ensure that your employees aren’t suggesting too many additional items, as this can be annoying to guests. At the same time, enforce the policy of not automatically adding items onto a meal without asking guests. Not only is this a shady practice, but the customer will most assuredly notice. Make sure that your staff are suggesting smart offers for customers, and you’ll surely reap the rewards!


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