The Little Things

I recently visited two really great restaurants that are having different levels of success and to my mind this is why…  By the way, both restaurants have previously been awarded hats, but currently neither restaurant is hatted.

After we had dined, we reflected on what had been good about each restaurant? And what could they do differently?

One of the restaurants was just amazing. We had a wonderful time there, the food was great, the service was great, the wine list was incredible. Everything worked really well. From my opinion that restaurant deserves its hat back.  It was just fabulous and if it was located closer to us we would definitely be regulars spending a decent amount each time we visited.  In the other restaurant, which is local to us, we spent just as much money but when we came away, we both agreed that we didn’t feel like we would rush back.  Don’t get me wrong the food was great, the service was good, and the wine list was good too… but something was off.

Here’s what happened…  There were three of us dining, one person had a three course set menu, the other two people ordered from the a la carte menu.  At the end of the main course, our waiter, said to us, “I'll be back with your dessert, and for you two, (the one’s ordering from the a la carte menu) here's the menu”.  He then popped the menus on the table and walked away.

When we reflected back to the first restaurant, the waiter there was just so enthusiastic about all the dishes, all the specials and the dessert menu.  When he brought the dessert menu to the table he “took us on a tour of the desserts on offer”… He talked about where the ingredients had come from, why flavors were being combined.  Which dish was his favorite, which was the restaurant's most popular, which was seasonal and so on.  He was so enthusiastic and informative that we would have loved to have tasted every one of them..

In contrast with the waiter in our local restaurant, there was none of that and consequently neither of us bought a dessert.  If he had spent more time educating us about what those dishes were and why we should try them, we definitely would have.  

There is so much extra money that can be made in restaurants who use this “strategy”… and so much money lost in those that don’t.  Just by having your staff do “those little things” right, you can increase your profits by 10, 20, 25%, I have seen it done many, many times.

By the way, you don't have to have a high-end restaurant to do this.  We have actually supported a bar to execute something very similar to this... And they did it on a busy Saturday night when the bar staff claimed that they were already flat out.  They used a script that up sold a cocktail and they added $2,000 to their profits that night. Imagine that across 52 weeks of the year an extra $2,000 = $104,000!  And this client had 5 bars so if he implemented it in all of his venues it would have potentially created an extra $520,000 just by adding that “little extra” step.

Just in case you are thinking, “I don’t want my team to sound scripted, like they are pushing things”, it's not about using scripts it's about providing a structure so they are reminded to pay attention to the little things.  To have exciting interactions with your diners about why they should try the special menu, why they should try desserts, why they should try a cocktail, why they should have a side or a special.

It's that kind of energy exchange between your waitstaff and your guests that will get them to buy more and spend more and for you to be more profitable. It's those little things that will get that first restaurant back in the hatted ring. Whereas my local restaurant probably never will.

So whatever your intention, to become “awarded” or to make more money (or both) it will only be achieved if you pay attention to the small details. If you are interested in us helping you with that, get in touch with us through the contact us page on the website. I can talk to you about it or point you towards some resources or training on this subject. And if you want we can come in to your restaurant and train you and your team, your management, your front of house staff, and even back of house how they can help this to increase your profits. So please get in touch with us and let us help.