So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

A quick reminder about premium brands

We’ve been talking about wine, but if you aren’t asking a very easy question, you’re missing a big opportunity to upsell.

The question is, “Do you want (insert brand name here) or (insert premium brand name here)”?

In other words, When someone says, “I’ll take a gin and tonic please”, is at least your immediate question “Which gin is your favorite”?

Even better is, “Do you prefer Tanqueray or Bombay”? If they only want the cheap well brand, they’ll tell you. But by offering a choice, you make it easier to make the choice between the two options. This is an old sales principle.

If they say “Bombay”, you’ll then ask “Bombay or Bombay Sapphire”? If they say, “Oh yes, Sapphire”, you’ve just moved them up 2 price tiers. That’s usually an extra buck for each level. So now, you’ve just built your check by $2. Doesn’t sound like much unless you do that 6 times a week. That’s like an extra $600 table every year for asking a couple of simple questions. And sometimes the upsell can be as much as $4 or $5 if you move them from a well whiskey to something like Single Barrel Jack Daniels or a Woodford Reserve from a well bourbon. If you consistently upsell, you’ll makes hundreds of extra dollars a year.

I’ll be posting more on this at a later date, but basically, you need to learn which one of the “top shelf” brands are carried by your bar and then commit them to memory. It should almost be automatic and reflexive. If someone asks for a Cosmopolitan, the first thing out of your mouth should be something like, “Which vodka do you prefer, Absolut, Stoli, Belevedere…(letting voice trail off)? You should never “settle” for the well. But that doesn’t mean that you should be pushy or aggressive. Just let them remember how much they like Grey Goose instead of Popov.

Tanqueray Rangpur

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