Many guests at your restaurant choose not to order appetizers because they fear it may ruin their meal, cost more than they’re willing to spend, or they may not see anything appetizing or enticing on the menu. Our suggestion is to approach the situation differently. Here are eight things you can do differently to sell more appetizers.
1. Make Them Shareable
Redesign your appetizer menu so that the entire table can share. When appetizers are designed for one person, it’s as if they’re ordering a separate meal.
2. Throw out the Labels
Don’t call it an appetizer. That label can be a deterrent for people. Instead, call them small plates, sharing plates or even flatbreads. Make the appetizer part of the meal – not a separate endeavor.
3. Train Your Staff on Suggestive Selling
Your servers are a lot more likely to offer an appetizer that they like if they know it tastes like and actually like it. This lets your servers talk about why they like it and why it’s special.
4. Offer a Happy Hour
Start running happy hour specials. This is an excellent way to boost sales during the slower hours between lunch and dinner on weekdays. In addition to drink specials, offer your appetizers half off Monday through Friday during the slower hours between lunch and dinner.
5. Create a Pairing Menu
It’s always exciting to find out why a drink and a plate of food have been recommended and paired together. People do this with wine all the time. Design your appetizer menu with drinks and items that complement each other.
6. Put a Creative Spin on Old Favorites
You can create entirely new menu items by putting a creative spin on old favorites. This can be as simple as pairing items with different dipping sauces or let them customize their order by streamlining it. You can do this by reorganizing your menu so that they’re enticed by following a process such as choosing an appetizer, then a dipping sauce, and then a drink.
7. Monitor Trends
Find out what other restaurants in the area are selling. Visit these other restaurants or even trade shows. Research industry trend reports to find out what’s selling and then try to incorporate these items into your menu.
8. Test Your Product
Test your market and be willing to step a little bit outside the box. An Italian restaurant doesn’t typically sell spring rolls, but for one Italian restaurant, spring rolls are now a top seller.
Do some research, add some creativity and mix it with the right presentation and you can sell more appetizers than ever before.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
About us and this blog
We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.