Are you leaving sales opportunities on the table?

If you are analysing your sales you’ll know what your average customer spend.  But do you know what percentage of your customers buy what products and services?  Unless you do you wont know where you are losing out on sales opportunities.

For example of only 45% of your guests take breakfast, this leaves another 55% who go without or go elsewhere. Even if they don’t want a full blown breakfast are you missing out on sales of croissants, coffee or fruit?

If you know that only 25% of your guests eat in the restaurant, this means 75% find an alterative. If only 75% of diners order a side portion of vegetables, 25% just have the main dish; if 40% of conference organisers want coffee and pastries on arrival, 60% go without. And if only 10% of your restaurant diners have a dessert, that leaves 90% who don’t.

But before you can address this you need to understand why.

Sticking with the dessert example ask yourself, is it because:

  • The order is being taken too soon and diners are too full
  • The dessert menu is too boring or does nothing to sell itself
  • It’s too expensive, not seen as value for money
  • It’s too cheap, giving the perception of poor quality
  • Main courses are so big diners don’t have room for a dessert
  • Service is slow so people are in a rush to get home or back to work
  • The ambiance is wrong and diners feel they don’t want to stay around
  • Diners feel rushed don’t feel welcome to stay
  • Dessert menus are slow to materialise so people have gone off the idea
  • There is too little information so people don’t know what they are buying
  • Not everyone wants a dessert so those that do go with the majority
  • They simply aren’t offered dessert

Some potential solutions:

  • Review your dessert menu and include one or two extra special items
  • Add seasonal choices using in season produce to give variety and perception of freshness
  • Ask customers what they’d like to see on the dessert menu
  • Let customers see the dessert menu at the start of their meal to get the idea in their mind at the outset
  • Offer non-sweet alternatives at the same time: port, cheese, more wine, specialist coffees for the non dessert lovers
  • Make a point of dessert portions for sharing
  • Offer take home desserts
  • Give staff an incentive to upsell on desserts
  • Ensure staff are confident to describe all the dishes on the menu

Whether you are a hotel, restaurant or conference facility, adopt the same approach with all your offers and services where you are potentially leaving sales on the table.

Caroline Cooper

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