The Key To Increased Average Order Size Isn’t Your Servers

If we told you that the key to an increased check average was in the upsell you’d probably stop reading. But this isn’t about that. In fact, at this point, if your servers don’t know how to upsell then why did you hire them?

We’re just going to say it: we believe that your servers don’t need tactics like the upsell. What they need are weapons of mass consumption. After all, increasing check average is a battle you fight every day, right. Shouldn’t you have weapons to fight that battle?

What is a weapon of mass consumption? Glad you asked. It lives on your menu, it’s made in your kitchen, and you’ve already got tons of them ready to be fired. Your servers just aren’t using them… yet.

Flipping Server Behavior Upside Down

Let’s reimagine the guest experience in your restaurant, shall we…

Right now, your guest sits down and is presented with a series of options dictated by your menu – appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks. Your server starts off asking what your guest would like to drink (they consider pushing the red wine since they know that leads to 42% more dessert sales). The guest orders that red wine and next up is the appetizer, then the entree and finally, the chocolate cake.

Sound familiar? The check average is up since your server got a dessert order and a bottle of red wine, but is that really the ticket to this process? We say no.

Your guest is going to order a drink regardless. Your guest may even be someone who’s inclined to order chocolate cake regardless. What if instead of serving up a menu of predetermined options, you change the perspective and give your servers more weapons and an increased knowledge of how to use those weapons.

Enter The Small Plates

Appetizers. Small Dishes. Large Dishes. Sharing Dishes. Entrees. Desserts. Sharing Desserts. What’s changed about your menu? Nothing but the portion size. And with the right pre-shift discussion about what brings guests back, your servers’ knowledge of the menu.

Imagine this scenario…

Your guest sits down and is presented with a series of options dictated by your reimagined menu. Your server starts off asking what your guest would like to drink.

“While you decide on that drink, have you see our small appetizers? How about some sauteed olives or a custom cheese board while you wait?”

Your server comes back with this otherwise none as an appetizer order and the drinks and suggests an appetizer or small plate – each guest orders one. Then, the decide on a few sharing plates. The meal concludes and while they’re too full for “dessert” they’d love to split a “sharing dessert”.

More weapons of mass consumption lies only in the way they are presented to the guest as options. Your server didn’t do much differently – in fact, he was using the art of the upsell and building a trusting relationship.

All that changed was the perspective.

So, when we say the key to increased check average is NOT in your servers, what we mean is this: the key to increased check average is in the experience your restaurant provides. You’re selling more, not charging more. You’re serving more, not spending more.

Guest author bio: Theresa is the mind behind the content strategy at Upserve. Upserve puts everything restaurateurs need to know in one place, providing real-time guidance to unlock the power of their menu, workforce, and guest habits.

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