What's Good Here? (members ed.)

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November 8, 2005 - Jim Laube is the President of RestaurantOwner.com, an online resource center for independent restaurant operators. For more information visit www.RestaurantOwner.com.

Whenever I visit a new restaurant, I make it a point to ask the above question. The most common response? You guessed it, “ everything.”
With this reply, servers miss out on a valuable chance to develop some rapport with the guest and also lose the opportunity to influence the guest's buying decision.

While a response of “everything”, may indicate a training shortfall, a contributing factor may also be the restaurant's employee meal policy. Restaurants that offer a “special”employee meal (often made up of leftovers) may be missing out on the opportunity to thoroughly familiarize their staff with the food
they serve.

Some restaurants offer their employees a deep discount, 50%, 60% and even 70%, to encourage their staff to order their employee meals off the menu. The employees pay essentially for the cost of the food.

These restaurants report their servers are much more familiar with the food they serve and can make recommendations and respond to guest menu questions from personal experience not just from what they read in a training manual.

Occasionally when I ask “what’s good here?” a server will say something like, “I had the grilled tuna two hours ago and it’s to die for.” Guess what I usually order?

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