Skills Focus: Making Recommendations


(Note: This is the first of a new weekly series called “Skills Focus.”  The purpose of these posts is to revisit a skill that has been discussed on this blog.  This will allow you to take a moment and make sure you are using this skill to increase your tips.  Taking the time each week to focus on implementing these skills will help improve your income substantially.)

Making Recommendations is the key to selling food.

Over the years, a number of my guests have talked to me about coming to work for them.  I have been pitched the idea of selling everything from real estate to burial plots to adhesives to insurance.  I generally take this as a compliment on my sales skills.  I always respond with the same answer.  “I have the greatest job in sales.  People make reservations to come hear my recommendations and I close 100% of the time.  They might not always buy what I want them to, but almost everyone who sits at my table buys something.”

I don’t think I am the world’s greatest salesman.  I do think I have figured out the secret to selling food though.  I have developed a question so powerful that guests actually ask me to sell to them and then thank me for it.  It is so brilliant in its simplicity that if you are not already using it, you may be angry with yourself for not figuring it out sooner.  This is why it is the first topic to be brought up in the weekly skills focus.  It was also one of the very first posts on this blog when it began.

Skills Focus: The Most Important Phrase You Are Not Using

The reason this phrase is so effective is that it requires no sales training at all.  There are probably a couple of items on your menu that you absolutely love.  All this does is give you the opening to make recommendations to your guests about them.  It is not about using the right adjectives in the right order.  It is not suggestive selling, upselling, or any of those other forms of sales.  It is recommendations about the food you like and think your guests will enjoy.

The upside for you is tremendous.  Your guests eat great food.  You look like a hero for making the recommendations.  They see you as someone who is honestly interested in them having a great meal.  They reward you for making their meal better.  I told you this was brilliant.

 So for one week, give it a try.  Be prepared to ask the question and have a couple of items to recommend.  When a guest tries your recommendations, ask them how it was.  If they enjoy it, take credit.  Get used to using the phrase, “Is that xxx as good as I said it was?”  This is a subtle way of reminding them that you are responsible for them choosing that item.  Happy guests = better tips.  Making reccomendations will produce happy guests.

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