When your service is bland, your marketing dollars just go bye, bye!

Marketing brings customers to your door. 

Owners of restaurants spend thousands of dollars on marketing and then do a poor job on sales. Getting people to the door and a table is the job of the marketer.  That is done by advertising or setting up reward programs or using social media to scare up customers. It takes time and it takes money.

If the marketing department has been successful in bringing in customers, then the on-site staff has to now do its job. 

Now it is your turn

I am talking about making the whole customer experience exemplary and that involves everyone. It is not just the server’s responsibility. It is the job of the night cleaner, the busser, the dishwasher, the cook and the host as much as the job of the server or bartender. It requires a team effort.

The server/bartender has a special job. Once a customer has been enticed to come to the restaurant, the serving staff members have to generate as much revenue as they can from each and every one of them. And I am not talking about pushing; rather I am talking about understanding how to enhance the customer experience by nudging them here and there and building the check average.

Building the Check Average

Every $1 means more money for the restaurant and every $1 means another $.15+ for the server. Multiply that by thousands and thousands of customers and you see the power of the add-on sale.


This is by far the best and the most logical way to increase your sales. The customers that are in your restaurant and who are already paying you money, are the easiest people to sell to. But in reality, the servers fail to serve them properly. How often have you heard a waiter describe the appetizers or desserts to you without asking them?

Instead of your waiters just taking orders and delivering food to the tables, teach them how to sell. You are now paying them top dollar per hour so it only makes sense to show them how to sell what you are offering. It is a skill, so I highly recommend that you hire someone for a couple of hours to train your employees just how to do it right. Train them how to sell:

Jugs not glasses of beer

Doubles over singles

Appetizers and Desserts

It is amazing how the $$$ add up when your sales people sell. And do not think for a moment that your people are not salespeople. Every last one of them! Let them know that you see them as salespeople and not waiters or bartenders. They all impact the guest experience and that is what is most important. Sales are everything. Today’s sales come from today’s efforts, but so do tomorrow’s sales. Tomorrow’s sales come from repeat customer visits and referrals.

Increasing your Sales or Revenues

There are so many different ways you can increase your sales. It just takes some time and ingenuity on your part to set it up.

Let me give you some ideas:

  • Offer specials during your slower periods during the week
  • Offer theme nights such as a couple’s night or a wing night or kids eat free night. How about offering a valentine’s day special or get your staff and customers geared up for some great super bowl specials.
  • Start a dining rewards program. For example after your customers have purchased 5 lunches offer the 6th one for free
  • Get them, in the doors https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/restaurant-promotion-ideas
  • Staff Incentives – Have contests for servers selling the most desserts on a monthly basis.

There is no doubt that all of these ideas will create a buzz in your business and this is what you are looking for. People trust restaurants that are busy. When you see two restaurants side by side, and one is packed and the other one is empty which one would you rather go to?

Also, People love to eat out and let’s be honest; we are always looking for an excuse to go out.

So How Does This Really Affect Your Bottom Line?

On the surface it is a win-win situation for you and your customer. Instead of making $500 on a Monday night your sales or revenue will probably increase to let’s say $1000. You and Your customers are now happy. You gave them great value, great service and an experience that they will remember, and you just gained an additional $500.

But it is important as a business owner to know that these types of promotions do come at a cost. By offering discounts on your food, you will end up with higher food costs because of those discounts. And you also must account for the fact that you will probably have to put more servers on the floor so potentially these ideas could increase your labour costs as well.

But after everything is accounted for, that additional revenue, even if it is $100, is more than you had the day before.

It is enticing to want to spend every dollar you can on marketing your business and bypassing all of these ideas but being short-sighted is not good for business. Marketing will make a sale today; your service is what brings back your customers today, tomorrow, next quarter, next year, 5 years from now.