Skills Focus: Words That Sell


This week’s skill focus is about using adjectives to sell food.  Please don’t close the window.  Go ahead and take a moment to groan and roll your eyes.  It’s cool.  I understand that instinct.  I have sat through this lesson before.  Get it out of your system.  I will just wait here.

Feeling better?  I know this topic isn’t new.  I hope by now though that you trust that I wouldn’t give you the same generic explanation of it that you have received before.  The reason I wrote the original post and the chapter in my book on this topic is because I thought every time I had been taught this lesson, it was taught the wrong way.  Every training manual tells servers to “use adjectives to describe food.”  They all fail to explain which adjectives actually make sense to use and which ones are just wasting the time of you and your guest.  Here is the original post on the topic to review:

Using Words That Sell

Sound a little different than what you have been taught before?  That is the point.  Too often the explanations that are giving in training are “dumbed down” so much that they do as much harm as good.  Adjectives only sell food if they are accurate and paint a picture.  Saying something is “incredible” or “awesome” is really just wasting your breath.

Use adjectives that accurately describe the meal.  Don’t tell your guests something is “awesome.”  Let them know from the words you use that you think it is awesome.  Describe it in a way that makes them excited about it.  This is how adjectives sell food.  This is the difference between what the training manual says and what exceptional server knows.

To help with this point I am including a list of food adjectives that you can download.  Think of it as a vocabulary refresher.  The more you look over it, the more likely it is that one of the words will pop into your head when you are looking for the perfect adjective to describe something.  This is not a mad lib list.  Don’t just select one at random.  Pick the word that best describes the dish you are talking about.  This will help you steer your guests to the meal that they will most enjoy.

Food Adjective List

When used accurately, these words will help you sell the food you think your guests will enjoy.  When used in conjunction with the previous two skills focus lessons, they will significantly increase your sales and tips.  I know adjective are not a servers favorite thing to be taught, but they are incredibly powerful when it comes to improving the money you can bring home at the end of the shift.  That makes using them another skill the exceptional server must master.

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