What’s so special about “Specials”?

All restaurants and cafes have a great opportunity to use specials as a marketing tool to sell more of a certain product in their business.

Some do it well and some not so well. Let us look at a few examples.

First of all what are the reasons for having specials? Well there are many, so let us get the negative ones out of the way first.

Your business has been very quiet over the last couple of days and some of the produce is starting to look its age. There are a number of things that you can do here one of them being what many restaurants do and that is throw the produce out. This is an obvious solution and solves a problem however it is not good business if the produce is still in good enough condition for sale (in other words, is not at a point where it is going bad). So it’s a good idea to have your chefs checking your cool room and fridges on a daily basis and give your produce every opportunity to sell by ways of special dishes. Have the kitchen brigade come up with other dishes they can use the produce in or better still roll out one of the proven popular dishes that have been on the menu in the past. It’s all about being on the ball here and training your chefs in good habits, helping them to learn that if they aggressively market their product it will help them keep their product rotating and the bad habit of just throwing it in the bin will be kept to a minimum.

Now we have got that one out of the way I would like to talk about some of the positive reasons for having specials.

You may want to change the menu in your restaurant but are not too sure what is going to work, this is what I suggest: Start to compile your ideas for the new menu and as you come up with new dishes – test the waters using them as specials. You will soon get a feel for how well they will sell on your menu if they sell well as a special. Over a period of time the whole of the new menu can be tried this way. Another good tip is as you try specials through the year always write them down in a book and rate them out of 10 for popularity, by the end of the year you will have some useful info.

Another good reason for having specials is that it keeps your chefs and customers interested in your food, as you are offering new dishes. When you have lots of regular customers coming to your restaurant, it does not take them long before they are saying “what’s new”? Your chefs will benefit as they are coming up with new ideas and this helps to keep them fresh and motivated.

Specials can be a good profit earner too, just because you are using the word special does not mean you are saying “cheap” although some of the supermarkets would try and have us believe that. Specials can actually be higher priced simply because “they are special” and you charge accordingly.

Let me give you a simple example of this, one of our restaurants had a very busy breakfast time on a Sunday morning as many restaurants do. So we would invent a popular food special and a popular fresh juice special for the morning, what we found this gave us was not just a better price for those lines but also it helped the chefs and the barmen with their efficiency as most dockets had a couple of specials on them, hence cutting down the variety ( so instead of seeing a drinks docket that had every fresh juice on the menu it may just read 5 special juices of the day ) and the thing that would make you feel warm and fuzzy is that they were higher priced than the norm).

My last hint on specials is that if you are going to offer just one or two specials, then you can verbal them as long as they are not too complicated, however if you have several specials then do not make the mistake that I see many restaurants do, that is for the wait people to show off their good memories by reciting them. What these guys do not realise is that while they may have good memories the customer may not, so after hearing the first one they give up listening. You will get far better results having them written.

So you see special can really mean SPECIAL and the more you sell the more SPECIAL they become.

For more info contact Jim at JMLinsight Hospitality Coaching Solutions Tel 0411 1234 74

jim@hospitalitycoaching.net