Understanding French Sauces (Part Two)

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Celebrity chefs seem to be everywhere today.  If you are a foodie, you can probably name a handful off the top of your head.  They have their own TV shows, books, and websites.  Entire networks are built upon the idea of bringing you the next celebrity chef.  Reality shows feature aspiring chefs competing to be the best. Each of these chefs owes a debt of gratitude to the founder of modern cuisine, Auguste Escoffier.

Auguste Escoffier

Even today no chef has contributed more to modern cuisine than Escoffier.  In his day he was called “The Emperor of Chefs.”  He is responsible for more than 10,000 recipes.  He took the work of Careme and updated it into a framework still used today.  He designed the “Brigade de cuisine” which serves as the model for all modern kitchens.  He worked at restaurants with names that are familiar to most people a century later.  Escoffier did not invent cooking, but no one before or since has had a greater impact on what we eat.

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In Defense of Selling as a Server (Part Three)

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Selling is a complex topic.  In the first part of this series, I discussed how most managers and corporations fail to encourage servers to sell in the right way. The second part dealt with the fact that we are all salespeople and in fact selling is part of hospitality.  If you haven’t read part two in particular, I highly recommend taking a look because it serves as a premise for this post.  Today, I want to tie this all together by stating that in fact the guests truly want you to sell them.

The premise that guests want to be sold something may at first glance strike you as odd.  I mean we all hate salespeople right?  While a resistance to salespeople might be common, but there is a more common trait that cancels it out.  We all love to buy things.  Some people love it more than others, but we all like converting the money we work hard for into things we will actually enjoy.  We know we work hard for it so we are naturally resistant to letting go of it.  The gap between wanting to save our hard earned dollars and the desire to buy things that make us happy can only be bridged by a sales person.

The difference between servers and other sales people is that the guest determines our commissions.  For this reason, many servers are afraid to sell.  I would argue that instead of using this as a reason not to sell, you should instead use it as a guideline.  Never try to sell anything that is not in the guest’s best interest.  You will only be rewarded for your efforts if they are pleased with the outcome.  This makes it imperative that you only recommend items they will enjoy and will reflect positively on you.

With that caveat, here are three reasons why the guest wants you to sell to them:

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Help Them Do What They Want: I mentioned earlier the dilemma between wanting to save and wanting to spend.  As a server you help ease the process by justifying for the guest what they want to do.  Providing this justification helps push them over the edge to allow them to order what they want to enjoy.  You give them permission to treat themselves.  The result is a better meal by overcoming their desire to save and instead buy what they want to.

Confirm What They Hoped For: After the fear of spending is overcome, you can address the secondary fear that the item might not bring the happiness they expected.  This is where your knowledge and expertise come in.  You have the benefits of having tasted the item and listening to the feedback of other guests who have tried it.  This knowledge makes your recommendation far more powerful.  In this way, your recommendation is really a review.  It is actually better than a review because you will be there when they are finished and have to stand behind your recommendation.  This provides confidence to the guest that the meal will be as good as they hoped for.

Create The Experience: So we have knocked out the fear of spending and the fear of disappointment.  The third fear a server can overcome is the fear of gluttony.  People do not want to order too much.  A server can overcome this by not pretending all of the food is necessary, but instead advocating the experience.  The appetizers, salads, and desserts are not needed to get full, but they are part of the dining experience.  Ordering the salad or dessert makes a meal an experience.  Give them permission to have the experience through your recommendations and they will get more enjoyment out of the meal.

“Sales” is not a four-letter word.  The inherent fear of selling intimidates many servers.  When done properly the guest will appreciate the efforts and the expertise.  Recommend as you would to a friend because it truly is part of hospitality.  The right way to sell will be the topic of many future posts now that the framework has been laid.  Please subscribe via one of the methods on the right column to receive a notice about future related topics.

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In Defense of Selling as a Server (Part Two)

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You are a salesperson.  I have never met you, but I am confident in that statement.  By way of explanation let me say that Sunday night I had one of the greatest nights of my life.  I saw Michael Franti and Spearhead perform and it was the greatest concert I have ever attended.  I have been to lots of shows, but the energy level at the show and the quality of the music was unexplainable.  If you ever get a chance to see them, you would have to be a fool to pass it up.

That is why I am a salesperson.  When I like something, I want everyone to know about it.  This isn’t a music blog so you might not have clicked the link.  If this was a music blog and you had faith in my ability to tell good music from bad, that recommendation would have been enough.  We all sell the things we like continuously.  We just consider it recommending things to friends rather than sales.

Looking at sales in this light allows you to identify what it truly is.  Selling is using persuasion to help influence the outcome of a decision.  When a guest sits down at your table they have already decided to order food, drinks, or both.  All you are doing when you are selling as a server is helping them decide what to order.  Serving is the greatest sales job ever because everyone buys something.  People almost never come in just to sit down and look at the menu.  They have made the decision to buy when they walk in.  The only question is what they will buy.

Read the full post at Tips for Improving Your Tips

Three Ways to Describe Dishes

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to servers when trying to make the jump from casual dining to nicer restaurants is describing nightly specials.  Learning to describe the dish in a way that makes it sound appealing without tasting or possibly even seeing the item can be difficult.  Many restaurants offer multiple specials on any given evening, which only serves to make it more complex.  Add to that the limited amount of time you have to learn it before your first table and you have a very stressful situation. It is imperative that you have a system in place to learn and recite information about the items you offer in a way that makes them appealing to the guest.

We have already discussed the importance of offering a recommendation and what words to use in it.   The skills discussed here are particularly relevant to servers who have to recite specials nightly, but can be employed by all servers.  When you offer a recommendation off the menu, you need to be prepared to describe the food in greater detail than the menu provides.  Describing food, whether it is on the menu or a nightly special, must be done in a way that makes the food appeal to the guest and paints a mental picture for them.  Ideally you want to create a mental picture of the entrée in their head while describing the flavors that make it exceptional.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

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