1. Overview
2. Culture
3. Operations
4. Service
5. Menu
6. Selling
7. Satisfaction
8. Problems
9. Closing
10. Rewards
11. Understanding
12. Conclusion

6. Selling

Suggestive Selling

A waitperson is not just an order taker! By combining knowledge of your product with a personal enthusiasm for your favorite dishes and our specialty items, you become a salesperson.

Have you ever gone into a store to buy something specific, and left having bought something ELSE? It’s happened to all of us and usually when it does, we’ve been placed under the power of suggestive selling. The key to selling is to remember that people LIKE TO BUY, but HATE TO BE SOLD. A good salesperson is an expert when it comes to what he or she sells and listens carefully to a customer’s needs. That way, the salesperson can make recommendations, or suggestions, as to what might be best for the customer. It’s good service.

Suggestive selling is a major part of your job as a server and, therefore, you must be an expert on all of our products. There is no bigger turn-off than a waitperson who not only cannot answer any questions, but also cannot make suggestions to their guest. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT! Personal recommendations will influence a guest positively.

When serving/selling, always remember our Best Practices and the Hanon “Be-Attitudes”:

Be Friendly
Be Confident
Be Helpful

And remember, suggestive selling not only helps customers get what they want, but it’s a powerful tool when you up-sell such things as appetizers, cocktails and desserts.

A wise man once said the restaurant business is a lot like a stage play. The menu is your script, your tableware is your props and YOU are the star of the show.

First Person: "Suggestive Selling Is A 'Piece of Cake'"

Okay, we’re not talking about selling JUST cake. We’re talking about the fact that selling is easy as pie, a can of corn, chopped liver…most of which you won’t find on a Hanon menu!

Here are a few of your peers, past and present, and how they effectively use suggestive selling to keep their customers satisfied and the tips bigger.

Win-Win Situation
Remember, suggestive selling is not just about increasing your tickets in the hope of earning larger gratuities. Eric Glinkler, floor manager at the Plaza Grill, says suggestive selling is a two-way street.

Be the Expert
Suggestive selling is one of the most important responsibilities of a good server. Jeff Mueller of the Plaza Grill says suggestive selling helps customers feel at ease with their server. PLAY VIDEO

Brand Names
When it comes to liquor, one of the best ways to suggestively sell is to sell well-known brands. Jason fisher of Pujols 5 Grill has great success making those kinds of recommendations. PLAY VIDEO

Know Your Stuff
Simply put, you have to know your product to sell your product. Derek West, who has worked as a server at both Pujols 5 and Plaza Grill, says success comes from knowing the menus. PLAY VIDEO

Out of Mind
Aaron Roberson, waiter at Pujols 5 Grill, knows that suggestive selling often is simply a matter of "out of sight, out of mind". He has success simply reminding his customers of the possibilities. PLAY VIDEO

Recommendations Are Good
One good way to understand the importance of suggestive selling-done the right way-it to reflect on your own dining experiences. Vicki McCoy of the Plaza Grill appreciates recommendations. PLAY VIDEO

Men Versus Women
Dan Ahrenica of Pujols 5 Grill has learned during his years as a waiter that he can suggestively sell some reliable appetizers depending on whether his customer is a man or a woman. PLAY VIDEO

Keep It Open-Ended
In her five years as a server, and a waitress at Pujols 5 Grill since it opened, Maura Blankenship says the key to suggestive selling is never asking "yes or no" questions. PLAY VIDEO


The restaurant industry employs an estimated 12.8 million people, making it the nation's largest employer outside of government.

Eating-and-drinking places are extremely labor-intensive -- sales per full-time-equivalent employee were $57,032 in 2005 and notably lower than other industries.

The restaurant industry provides work for more than 9 percent of those employed in the United States.

The restaurant industry is expected to add 2 million jobs over the next decade, for total employment of 14.8 million in 2017.

Nearly half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some time during their lives and 32 percent of adults got their first job experience in a restaurant.

The typical employee in a foodservice occupation is:
Female (55 percent)
Under 30 years of age (53 percent)
Single (66 percent)

Working part-time and averaging 25 hours a week

Living in a household with two or more wage earners (79 percent)


Hanon Management
Bevo Mill
Pujols 5 Grill
The Plaza Grill
Crowne Plaza
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