The Rules: Rules 1-10

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If I were not a server, I think I would make a good scientist.  My approach to serving is very similar to scientists testing new theories.  I form hypothesis and experiment to see if it can be proves true or false.  Everything I write about here has been tested on thousands of guests and over years of serving.  With this critical eye, I think I have proven some theories to the extent that I refer to them as rules.  These are truism that have been proven in my mind time and time again.

In the coming weeks I will expound upon these rules in greater detail.  For the moment though, here are my first ten rules of serving:

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I Make A Mean Cherry Limeade

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If my tombstone was written by coworkers, guests, or bartenders it would read, “Here lies Dave, he made a mean cherry limeade.”  I have declared this to every table I have served in the last three years.  When you order a cherry limeade at my restaurant, the chit prints up at the bar with simply my name.  Guests who I have waited on before recognize me from the line.  Perhaps no one other than Sonic has done more to increase awareness of cherry limeades in my town than I have.

Here is the initial drink pitch:

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Using Words That Sell

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In nearly every training manual, at nearly every restaurant, there is a section on using adjectives to sell.  This is often the extent of the sales training in them.  They encourage you to use words like “awesome” and “incredible” to sell the food to guests.  The authors of the manuals picture an army of servers bounding to the tables talking about how “awesome” the nachos are or the “incredible” margaritas.  They envision the guests will be overcome with curiosity and order these items in droves.   The new server fresh out of training goes to the table confident in this finely tuned sales pitch, only to be met with an eye role from the guests.  Discouraged, they decide eventually to just take the order.

The idea of using words to sell is important, but most companies do not take the effort to adequately explain how to do it.  This leads to poorly crafted and obvious sales pitches that are more likely to alienate a customer than convince them to buy.  The use of generic adjectives like “awesome” or “incredible” is so overdone that it can actually put guests on the defensive.  It can create an adversarial relationship with the guest that is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.  The key to avoiding this is to use words that inform guests, paint a picture, and emphasize qualities they are looking for in their meal.

Here are some guidelines to think about when selecting your words:

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By Way Of Introduction

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If you are taking the time to read this blog, a word of introduction may be in order. I took my first job waiting tables in 1995. In the years since I have worked for 13 different restaurant companies selling nearly every type of food in nearly every type of setting. I have been trained by people with decades of experience and have trained hundreds of servers. I would never claim to be the greatest server in the world, but I have learned some tricks, tips, and techniques that allow me to make a comfortable living as a server. I am starting this blog with the hopes of sharing my knowledge to allow more people to do the same.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving your Tips

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