Turn Your Servers into Sellers!

To implement this strategy you’ll want to gather up your bartenders and cocktail servers and ask: “What is your main responsibility here?” Most often, the bartenders will answer, “Make drinks,” and the servers will say, “Serve drinks.” Chances are good that they’ve been trained to believet that their job is to take, make or fill orders. That perception could not be further from the truth. For them, and you to truely succeed, they need to start looking at serving and bartending as the sales jobs they are.

Admittedly, alot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of being sales people. You might want to avoid using the “S” word, and package the idea a little differently. Something like “Ask these questions or do these things, and you’ll double your tips, or better!” Here are some talking points for your discussion:

“Research shows that most people instinctively apply a standard tip percentage to their total, with few exceptions. In other words, increase the sales total, increase the tips. This is easier to do than you might think, and we’re going to go over a few strategies in a moment.”

• “Offering a second drink, as an example can increase sales by 100%. Who isn’t interested in doubling their income?”

• “Suggesting and selling premium beverages delivers even more meaningful results. Sell a $10 premium cocktail instead of a $4 well, and increase tip income by 150%!”

After you get them excited about getting more money for doing the same job, the next thing you’ll want to do is give them the tools to do it.

The Upsell is usually the only technique being taught, and it isn’t all that motivating for a server or bartender because their gain isn’t significant, and the timing is off. With this strategy, the server has to wait for the customer to make up their mind and then try to change it. The techniques I’m going to share are more profitable (for you and them,) and less disruptive.


When training your sales force, teach them the following:


word choiceWord Choice

This whole game really is just about word choice and timing those words.

When a customer asks, “What’s good here?” don’t just tell them what’s on sale. Instead, tell them what you like or what the house specialty is or other higher priced drinks that receive good feedback. Remember, drink discounts are designed to get people in the door. Once inside, it is to everybody’s benefit to sell them full-priced signature beverages.

When asked to recite a product list, such as beers on tap, always lead with the most expensive options first. Peoples attention and patience wears thin with every listed item. Usually they’ll stop you by the 7th or 8th item. If you started with the cheap stuff, they’ll cut you off and order before they even hear about the good stuff. So always start at the top and work your way down.

Never ask “What can I get you to drink?” Doing this puts pressure on the guests, who may not be familiar with your premium offerings. Leaving it up to them usually results in them choosing a familiar and less expensive drink.

Sell Second Drinks, not “Another Round.”

Avoid asking a group if they are “ready for another round.” Instead, suggest premium beverages to individuals as they’re finishing up their first drink.

Asking people as a group ads to social pressures and drives sales down. When you ask a group, someone hast to either make a decision for others or seek out a consensus within a group. This slow the sales process down and creates another unwanted side-effect. Guests often perceive the offer of a second round as a time commitment. Notice that when you ask a group if they’d like another round, someone always looks their watch. Someone looking at their watch at a bar or nightclub is never a good sign. Avoiding this is simple, you just go to each guest individually and offer them another one of what they’re already enjoying or better yet, suggest a premium beverage.





Taking orders in the traditional manner leaves your tips to chance.

Simply beginning with the person in “Position 1,” places the group’s sales for the entire night in his or her hands. If Guest #1 orders a half-priced well drink, research shows that the rest of the table is likely to order the same or similar. Fortunately the same is also true, if the first order is premium, then it will influence the rest of the table in that way as well.

To make this work in your favor, begin by suggesting a premium beverage to the table and see who bites. If you can begin with a premium beverage, then the trend should continue.




Is the best time to offer a second drink:

a.) When their glass is half full                                   b.) When their glass is one third full

c.) When their companions glass is mostly full      d.) None of the above

Wish I could wright upside down on this thing, lol. The correct answer is “C,” when their companions drink is mostly full. Have you ever noticed that when you offer a second drink, most people look at how much their companions have left? They’re trying to decide whether they have time to for another beverage or not. To sell more drinks, find the guests with an empty glass while his or her companion’s glass is still relatively full.


Putting It To Use

Remember, if you want this to work, you have to give them a good reason to do so. If you don’t tell them what’s in it for them, then all they’ll hear is: “I want you to work harder so I can make more money.” Most of them probably think you make too much as it is.

I heard it said once that the best way to become a Billionaire is to work at creating Millionaires. Always keep in mind that the behaviors that make more money for your team are the same behaviors that will make more money for your business.