Post this for your Service Team to Read!

Yes, I am serious. If you want to increase sales in your restaurant. Have your service team read this, or read it to them at the next service meeting.

Hello waiters and restaurant professionals, My name is Peter Harman, I am The Food Guru and I want to talk to you about the Psychology of Selling in your restaurant – at the table. My goal is to help YOU and Your Boss earn more money, achieve financial freedom and live a better life.

I am going to start with a question for you - The waiter, the server or server assistant.

What percentage of all the sales in your restaurant do you think that the owner takes home as profit? Seriously, this is not a trick question.

The question is if we take in $100 dollars - how much of that money does the owner get to keep?

If you are playing this for your people, please STOP now and ask each of your people to pick a percentage. You might even write the answers down on a piece of paper. I’m sure you will find the answers –interesting and enlightening.

Here are the real answers…

80% of all restaurants in America lose money and go out of business in the first five years. This means that the owner put up every penny they had to open the restaurant AND borrowed every cent they could get from their friends and family and then, borrowed every nickel the bank would give them AND also put up their house as collateral. That means if the restaurant goes out of business, they will lose every friend they ever had PLUS – Their house. AND – their family will secretly hate them, forever. So now you know why the boss gets a little weird some times. He has bet his entire LIFE on this restaurant, because he really wants and NEEDS to succeed. Wow! Right?

14% of All restaurants in America earn 5% or less.

5% of all restaurants earn a 10% profit, and only 1% do better than that.

The truth is that this is a very challenging business with serious consequences.

Now here’s the FUN part… YOU the waiter or sales person have the chance to earn a gratuity or tip or commission of 10-20% at every table you serve, from now on - IF you know what you are doing, and that ladies and gentlemen is why I am here.

My goal is to help YOUR boss stay alive and keep his or her restaurant open. AND - We are going to do this by INCREASING SALES.

Let’s dive right in.

We have two ways to sell - Marketing and Sales.

Marketing is The Air Campaign that gets the customer to the door. This is stuff like advertising, TV, Radio, Newspaper and maybe billboards. This is also social media, like facebook, twitter and Instagram.

Here’s the funny thing about advertising and social media. It Doesn’t WORK! AND - There is no marketing technique on earth that can save a lousy restaurant.

But do you know what does work?


Did you know that YOU (the service team) are the face of YOUR Restaurant. It’s True, you are the ones who have direct contact with the customers and your performance has a direct effect on the success or failure of the restaurant.

THINK ABOUT THIS- When you go out to dinner and it sucks, how many people do you tell?

You tell everybody you know right? Well so do YOUR customers.

Here are some numbers to think about. The average person tells 10 people, those people tell 5 people each and those people tell 2 people each. That’s 100 people. But remember the person who was with you for this not so stellar dining experience, is also going to tell other people - and another 100 people will hear about it, Wow, that’s 200 people from one bad experience.

Now imagine this happens 5 times every week, which is not too hard to imagine if you just think about all the stuff that goes wrong every day. So, that’s 100 people x the 2 people = 200 x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year, that equals 52,000 people x the average check, let’s call it $20. That is a potential sales loss of $1,040,000, WOW!

Now let’s imagine that this goes the other way and it’s a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE…

The same thing will happen and we will see a $1 Million Sales Explosion.

Imagine a $1 Million Sales Explosion times a 20% Gratuity or Tip means $200,000 in the pockets of the waiters and servers - sitting right here in this room. WOW!

Ladies and Gentlemen, because I am the Food Guru, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking what do I have to do to get my hands on some of that CASH.

Here are some really good ideas to help you get there - please pay attention and don’t be afraid to take a few notes, because the success of your restaurant really depends on it.

This brings us to SALES - Sales is the ground game – the one on one selling that happens inside the restaurant at the table by YOU the professional waiter.

First we need to SET THE STAGE – It’s SHOW TIME! The place must be clean and smell nice, the lighting and the music must set the right tone.

The cast and crew must be in uniform – Poised, ready and focused.

I recently went to a Diana Ross concert and do you know what – SHE is a Star and she is in SHOW BUSINESS! And so is Elton John. Also, Think about the show the Super Bowl Puts on every year or What about The WWF. What about your place, are you putting on a show, or just going through the motions. Are you wearing a clean crisp uniform and using sales props to sell or is this just a J.O.B.

READ THE TABLE: The Show starts by reading your table – Who are they and why are they here?

Is this a couple on a hot date or a family having dinner, or two business men on a corporate account?

It starts with Your - WELCOME:

I’m talking about A WARM SMILE AND GENUINE HOSPITALITY… SERVICE is bringing them a beer and a burger. HOSPITALITY is about making them feel WELCOME - SPECIAL and IMPORTANT! The first question is – Have you ever been here before? Because this question will help you GUIDE them in the BEST direction for THEM. Remember you are here to SERVE – THEM, not the other way around.

CONTROL THE TABLE and BUILD RAPPORT and TRUST: You are in charge of the table, it is your job to direct and orchestrate the experience. Great waiters are humble, smart and persuasive. When you approach the table – you should be 1-degree above their level of Energy. If their energy is at 5, you should be at a 6. If their energy is at 7, you should be at 8. If they’re energy is at an 8 and you are at 5, you are a mouse and you will become dead meat. BUT - If their energy is at 5 and you are at 9, you will scare the crap out of them… And freak them out, and not build RAPPORT or TRUST.

INFORM & EDUCATE & GUIDE: This is a THREE Part Play:

1) You are the brand Ambassador. Represent the Restaurant. Talk Up the brand Who WE are and what we are GREAT at.

2) Know the product inside and out.

Never Have to say, I don’t know or let me go find out.

3) You must GUIDE them. Imagine that your Mother or some VERY important person comes to your restaurant. You would want them to have the best possible experience – RIGHT?

Now I’m going to switch the game and change things up just a bit. I want you to think of your customers as a combination or a GUEST a CLIENT and a PATIENT. A client is someone you guide and protect, a person under your care. A patient is someone that a medical professional nurtures and brings back to health. Now let’s supersize this idea - I believe we have a moral obligation to insure that our clients, guests and customers get the BEST dining experience possible. Anything short of our best effort is unacceptable.

When you see the customer as a valued and honored guest, AND - you want them to have the very best experience possible – everything changes. You stop trying to sell and upsell them and you start designing the very best EXPERIENCE you can for them.

It isn’t a matter of if they want an appetizer or starter – of course they want an appetizer or starter. Of course they want a second drink. Of course they want dessert. How could they NOT want to share a piece of Olivia’s fabulous cheesecake. Of course the want an after dinner cappuccino with a shot of Frangelico… Everybody wants that.

Everybody wants to Live a little - and enjoy a GREAT night out with a few small indulgences.

Your Job is to inform and educate the customer and you will do that by knowing your stuff and guiding them through the order and dining process.

Ask if they have ever been here before and teach them how we do things here. Know what the fish of the day is, know what pilsner, lager, ale and stout you have on tap. If you work in a steak house Know the difference between a spinalis and flat iron steak. When they ask you a question – you better know the answer – otherwise they will assume that you are just an order taker and you will lose control – AND they will not listen to any of your suggestions going forward. OOPS!

Your Knowledge will tell the guest - that you are a pro - AND you know what you are talking about and this will come in handy when it’s time to recommend dessert. All you do is simply GUIDE and SUGGEST. Present the drink menus and point out where the beer, wine and specialty cocktails are. Present the dinner menu and point out the appetizers, great steaks and sides and salads, so they don’t have to chase you down with questions.


Here’s an idea. Imagine that someone you love comes in for dinner and EVERYTHING is FREE. Just take the money OUT of the equation. Now what would you recommend?

Well – That is what you should do starting now for every table going forward.

BE AVAILABLE – Stay out of the side station and the kitchen, unless you have a purpose. Hang out with your customers. They are the ones who are paying your commission. Start thinking of yourself as a commissioned sales person.

I know what you are saying – I can hear you way over here in Iowa City.

BUT Food Guru - YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND – MY PEOPLE ARE CHEAP. Another way to put that is – What do we do about CHEAP People?

The answer is – THEY ARE NOT CHEAP – They just don’t TRUST You!

They don’t trust you because you have not built TRUST and RAPPORT.

Why am I having a hard time selling? How do I get them to buy?

The truth is - When all things are equal, we buy from people we like. Even when things are not equal – we still buy from people we LIKE!

I learned this from my little wiener named Toots… Toots loved everybody, so everybody loved Toots. When it comes to tipping, the same thing really holds true. When you get a lousy tip it is because – They didn’t like you… Ouch! And when you get a BIG tip, it is because they actually LIKED you. The fact is – IF you like me, I like you. If you ignore me and don’t like me, I don’t like you AND your tip will reflect it.

YES This is personal – VERY PERSONAL!

We are in the RELATIONSHIP Business, our job is to make friends and build good positive relationships. WHEN we do this – we get rich. When we dis-like and dis-trust people, they dis-like and dis-trust us. Plain and simple.

Here’s how you increase sales in your restaurant at your station and earn more money.

#1 Qualify the Buyer – be sure what you are selling is the right thing for them.

#2 Build Rapport & Trust by guiding and making intelligent suggestions.

#3 Inform & Educate the customer about the products and service you offer.

#4 Get them to say YES by doing #1, #2 and #3.

You have a moral obligation to your employer, your customer and your family to do your absolute best to deliver a first class dining experience for every single table that you serve. It is your duty to guide them through an excellent dining experience, one customer and one table at a time, for as long as you wear that apron.

The best way to do that is – Imagine that this is the most important person in the world, treat them like a THOU instead of an IT. Imagine there is no such thing as money and orchestrate the best ding experience possible.

In conclusion, it is vital that you do all of this with an attitude of GRATITUDE. Never make them feel lucky that they got in to your restaurant or section on a busy Saturday night, always convey that is it YOU who is lucky and honored to be serving them.


My Name is Peter Harman, I am the Food Guru. My goal is to start a restaurant revolution where every restaurant owner and manager who joins us has the information they need to earn a 10% Profit, create financial freedom and live the life of their dreams.

If you really want to turn your restaurant and your life around in the next 90-Days, here’s my three step Plan.

1- SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST This weekly pep talk will keep you on your toes and give you inspiration to keep moving forward.

2- BUY MY BOOK I have written a book called Restauranting 101, it focuses on Eight Basic Fundamentals and it has the power to change your life and as luck would have it - it's available on Amazon today. This book will catapult your knowledge into the top 5% of all restaurant owners.

Then, after that you can come to food guru . com and…

3- ONE ON ONE COACHING: face it… We all need a Coach… as a restaurant owner you need SOMEONE TO TALK TO, someone who understands your struggles and can hold you ACCOUNTABLE for the results. I want to be your coach… The goal of one on one coaching is to help you achieve the life of YOUR dreams.

Here’s what I believe: I believe that I can help you improve your sales by 10% - SIX Times in the next year. Here’s your homework assignment…

I want you to take out your P&L statement and look at your year to date sales. Then I want you to increase them buy 10% 6 times. Just to see what that would really look like.

Think about this opportunity for a second… What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for someone else to step up and make it happen?

Or are you ready to take the bull by the horns and kick some ass?

When the student is ready… The Food Guru will appear…

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

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