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Increase Profits: Knowledgeable Servers Sell More

Author profile: Frank Fileccia
For over 32 years Frank Fileccia has been helping luxury inn, boutique hotel, resort and restaurant clients achieve their potential.
Your servers are one of your restaurant’s most valuable assets. In fact, servers are often the only people who actually talk to your customers—which means they’re one of your few chances to make a great impression. But servers have to do a whole lot more than just take orders. Knowledgeable servers who truly know their stuff have the power to boost your sales and increase profits. So what are a few things you should make sure your servers know? Read on to find out.

The menu.

The biggest thing your servers should know? Your menu! It’s important for servers to understand everything on your menu inside and out. They should be able to recommend dishes in every category, suggest entrees and drinks that go well together, and explain exactly how much everything costs.


Today’s customers care about what’s in their food, so your servers should be able to brag about which of your ingredients are locally sourced or organic. In addition, one estimate shows that 12 million people in the U.S. have food allergies. For these customers, not knowing what’s in their food can be a matter of life or death. If your servers are knowledgeable and confident about what’s in your food, you’ll have a much better chance of increasing your sales to customers who have allergies or dietary restrictions.

Wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks.

Does your restaurant have an extensive wine list? Your servers should know that list top to bottom and be able to recommend wine pairings to customers. Servers should also know the correct way to serve wine to customers. If they do so incorrectly, customers won’t be impressed—and they probably won’t order any more wine from your restaurant! Servers should also know which beers go with each menu item.

Upselling and cross selling.

Upselling is one of the best things your servers can do to increase sales—but they can’t upsell if they don’t know how! Be sure your servers are knowledgeable about this sales method that simply involves suggesting pricier (and higher quality) drinks and meals to customers.

Your restaurant.

If you expect your servers to boost your sales, you need to make sure they understand everything there is to know about your restaurant. Do servers understand your brand? Do they know how to properly represent your restaurant? Do they understand the type of customers you’re trying to attract? Do they know where you keep all of your restaurant’s supplies?


One of the most important things for your servers to know may seem like the simplest. However, many servers just don’t know how to properly communicate with customers. It’s important to focus on more than just taking orders. Servers should know how to hold conversations with customers and take an interest in their lives. They should know how to maintain appropriate customer/server interactions, and they should also be aware of how to handle difficult customers.

Training your servers make take some time and money, but it’s well worth it. Knowledgeable servers make your restaurant look great—and they have the power to boost profits!

Copyright?© Frank Fileccia

The Quote

"I have known Frank since 2002 and feel he is one of the most talented, creative and interesting people I've met. He always does a wonderful job and is very reliable and trustworthy. Frank should be the head of a 4-star resort! I always wish him only the

Deborah Fabricant