Your front of house staff are your best sales people


Your front of house staff are your best sales people

Your front of house staff are your best sales people

Operations and HR Director Lisa Chambers on ensuring your front-of-house staff are your best brand ambassadors.

At HGEM, we know exactly how important front of house staff are to sales. Our mystery guests regularly mention how staff have influenced their orders through making recommendations and endorsing brands, and how impressed they’ve been with self-assured, knowledgeable staff who can talk with confidence and enthusiasm about dishes and offerings. We also hear a lot about the staff who have missed opportunities. We hear from the guests who would have ordered a second round of drinks, a few after-dinner coffees, a dessert, a bowl of nibbles at the bar… if only they had been offered some.

We don’t just see the anecdotal evidence from our diners either, our research and surveys back it up. Wine sales, for instance, are a significant area of potential profit for hospitality operators, and our research has shown that 42% of diners are more likely to purchase a bottle of wine if it comes recommended by a staff member.

But while suggesting bottles of wine and upselling bread and olives does make a difference to an operator’s bottom line, and to the guest experience, that’s far from the extent of the role front of house staff play as sales people.

The delivery of brand standard service is obviously one of the primary roles of hospitality staff, but in too many cases, that takes the form of box checking, rather than coming across as a genuine interest on the part of the team. There is a distinct difference between serving guests, and providing a service. For example, are your team reciting the beers you have on tap, or are they talking about the variations between them, and offering a taster? Are they asking guests if they want a dessert, or are they explaining lighter options available for less-hungry guests? Presumably they can talk about the allergens and dietary restrictions applicable to your menu, but can they also suggest substitutions, or recommend other dishes that might be suitable for guests? Your front of house staff need to be sales people as much as servers, identifying what your guests want and showing them how your business can provide it. This must be done in an appropriate, professional manner. Always.

Even more important than their words is their attitude. Your front of house staff are the only interaction most guests will have with the people in your business. Just as they need to sell the items on the menu, they need to sell the brand; to be the personification of the brand personality, and the human embodiment of everything your brand stands for as an operator.

If this sounds like asking a lot… well, it is. But engaging your staff is equally important as engaging your guests. Guest engagement just isn’t possible without the support of the team working front of house, the ones coming face to face with your guests every day. The quality of the marketing, interior décor, even food and drinks, don’t come close to having the same effect. Investing in your staff, giving them the tools needed to succeed, and inspiring them to be passionate and vocal advocates for your brand is the best investment a business can make. They need to be proud to be working for you.

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