by Rita Imerson – Operations & Training Consultant
When rolling out new menu items it is critical that your service, takeout, host and entire FOH team know how to best suggestively sell the featured menu additions.
If possible, slowly introduce menu items by running each item individually as a special during the weeks leading up to the full rollout. This not only gives the culinary team an opportunity to practice preparing the items, it allows the service team to taste and see the items before they are added to the menu. Other tips to help FOH staff become comfortable with new items:
- Make all menu items and have a full food and/or beverage tasting to allow the staff to try the items. This tasting helps them better describe the items and contributes to excitement about the fresh new options. As a team-building opportunity, have BOH or the culinary team each describe and take ownership of one menu item.
- Post menu items with photos and descriptions in high-traffic employee areas. Also, use online information distribution platforms to share items each day with pictures and descriptions.
- Incorporate an upsell contest and offer a prize on a daily or weekly basis that rewards the service team that sells the most new items.
- Develop tests to assure team members are learning new ingredients and descriptions.
- Coach suggestive selling techniques and discuss and role-play how to upsell during pre-shift meetings every day.
- Always validate and praise team members that do a great job with salesmanship!
Remember, the key to successful salesmanship is to teach your team that suggesting menu items is how we assure a great guest experience. We don’t want to push extra items unnecessarily; we want to craft a wonderful dining experience by offering items that will elevate the experience for our guests!