Valentine’s Day Is Almost Here! Train Your Employees How To Use It To Up-Sell!

Valentine’s Day is an amazing day for the restaurant industry and its employees. It is one of those holidays that is like shooting fish in a barrel. It is a self-described, special day. No guesswork needed and your staff should capitalize on it in more ways than just one. You can help them by giving them the “lingo” that will get great reviews as well.

#1) Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to get tons of mentions on social media, collect and use guest’s names, get tipped much higher and ensure guests are coming back all by using simple, suggestive words and phrases like, “It’s an honor” Instead of “you’re welcome” whenever a guest asks for anything like a photo or champagne. Making customers feel as though you are honored to be hosting or facilitating their special occasion will have the person paying the bill digging deeper into his pocket. Using the term “It’s an honor” makes people feel as though they are really valued not just “served” and if the object of the game at each table is to sell the most, get the highest tip and make sure they come back, opening the customer’s ears (and heart) with the word “Honor” is a good first step.

#2) The next step is to tell your staff to be on the lookout for incomplete parties and to also create photo taking opportunities. An incomplete party gives the server a chance to ask, “And what is your guest’s name? I’ll try to greet her personally at the door when she arrives.” Whether the server does or does not get a chance to do that is inconsequential. The fact that he got her name is the only important part and the guest who is already seated feels like he is getting a value added service before he has even ordered anything.

Now, not only can the server greet her by name but now he has complete license to use her name while checking on them throughout the meal. This makes customers feel special but more importantly now the server can write her name in chocolate on the dessert plate and give credit to the boyfriend/husband (Who of course will not have thought of this at all but will be eternally grateful to his server.) He will almost 100% of the time ask the server’s name and this, friends, is the start of a beautiful relationship between a first-time customer and your restaurant.

#3) The final step: The picture. Of course they will take a picture of the beautiful plate which has, “Happy Valentine’s Day Debbie!” written beautifully in chocolate around the rim but what good is that to you if they don’t mention your restaurant or Bob the server? This is where training Bob the “Off script” customer engagement language is important. The plate is just a tool to make sure Debbie takes her camera phone out. Bob has to capitalize on the moment by saying, “Well, how about a picture of you two with dessert?” Of course they will agree because girls like their picture taken after they’ve gotten dolled up and it was Bob’s handiwork that got them the plate she is excited about in the first place and the gentleman knows it. Now Bob should say, “Ok, let’s take one your way and then one mine.” (Get creative) Whatever pose it is will be 100 times more exciting than their first boring picture but Valentine’s Day opens the door for one extra special photo … the kiss! Bob can now say how about the kiss photo? No one has that one!” (And no one really does!)

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Now Bob should say as he hands back the phone/camera, “Ok, if you like my pictures better than yours can I get credit as your personal photographer… make sure you spell my name right hahaha!” This will actually get them both thinking about posting not only on their own social media but also on the restaurant’s social media and Yelp! It will also prompt the guests to ask for and actually remember Bob’s name. More than that it just reminded them that Bob went way above an added value service. This was a personalized, one-of-a-kind moment he created and then captured. This was definitely not on the menu and will probably be reflected in Bob’s tip and now Bob can tell them to feel free to request him when they return and actually ask when they are coming back and telling them that he would be honored to help create all of their special dinners and events. “So who’s birthday or anniversary is coming up next? I’ll be ready!” Will this have guests thinking about their next dinner and making reservations before they leave? Absolutely it will! Thanks to you and Bob!

There is quite a bit of “off script” psychology leading up to a picture, a post, subsequent referrals and a return visit but you can train your staff to use this one trick every day of the year. What the heck, your customers are going to ask for their pictures to be taken anyway. Why not set it up so that you get social media exposure, more customers, more money and an opportunity for customers to learn employee’s names plus feel valued and honored as well?

Let me know if you liked the article…. it’s just the tip of the iceberg… If your employees were really serious about making more money they would be handing out business cards on their way to work and all the way home and ALL the surrounding business owners would know them by name and refer customers to them constantly.
I have an easy way of handing out business cards that will give each of your employees V.I.P. status at all the surrounding businesses AND have those business owners sending in new customers daily. Give me a call at 1-646-462-0384 to train your staff to double your clientele and double sales in six hours guaranteed.

LeeAnne Homsey specializes in providing consulting / training services to the restaurant industry. As a 25-year veteran, LeeAnne has worked with a wide array of restaurant businesses ranging from casual to upscale dining establishments. For more information call 1-646-462-0384, e-mail or visit