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Suggestive selling drives me crazy...

Now I'll be the first to admit that it is a pretty short drive. Was reading the tip jar post and thought of this. I hate those places, chains mostly, where everyone is trained and required to say, "would you like a pastry with that?" I mean I just stood in a line where you forced me to look at your goodies. Do you think I'm not capable of deciding if I'm hungry and want something with my coffee? It comes across as rehearsed and uncaring and selfish anyway.

My favorite thing to do is is say, "I'll have a cup of coffee, please, and nothing else...", and watch for their confused face as they now don't know what to say. If I forget to say that, and they ask if I want cheesecake with my coffee I'll say, "no thanks, but nice try". That gets a laugh.

Your thoughts? Especially good responses to rehearsed suggestions!

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  1. It works, that is why they do it. Many times people intended to buy something else and forgot while repeating a special order.

    As far as responses: at this time of year, I ask "which holiday"?

    If there is a challenge, I ask why they don't combine and call it "February Holidays" and have one set of sales instead of separate Presidents Day and Valentines Day...

    1. Jfood's normal response to this question is "No thank you."

      Would you like sugar? leads to "no thank you"
      Leave room in the cup for milk? "Yes Please"
      Skim or Regular? "Skim please"
      They give jfood his change and he says "thank you and have a nice day"

      Sorta stays right on the yellow line going down the Interstate of Life

      2 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        Same here jfood. Lives too short to get irritated over such things. A simple no thanks is all that's needed.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Agreed. Having to recite that bullshit as part of your work is bad enough, without customers working at deflating your required schtick.

          And if taking the high road doesn't seem rewarding enough all by itself, there's always the factor of not wanting to annoy someone who has access to your food or drink - does that seem like a good idea?

      2. Try to remember that in all likelihood, they are no more happy about saying it than you are hearing it. You hit it on the nose when you say "trained and required..." Giving the deliverer a hard time is just making their job more unpleasant. It is kinder just to go with the flow and be pleasant. If you need to make a statement, make it to someone higher up on the food chain, so to speak.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Val55

          I don't think that the server is even aware of how long you have stood in line. Might it be that they are just happy to help? As for jfood (George Castanza/Sienfeld, et. al.), it's a bit perplexing to those types.....forgive them.

          1. re: Deepster

            Actually, I'm sure that they know how long you have been in line. That can be part of the stress of their job, they don't want to deal with customers that are upset at waiting so long in line. Also, if their supervisor is around and they do not follow the behaviors that they are trained to do, then they can in effect be written up for not doing their job correctly. Most of these kids are young and are doing their best. Personally, if you don't like it, don't blame the messenger, go to the source; send an email or letter to the company and express your opinions. But as others have posted, this is just a part of sales and often does add on to the sale very effectively. Put yourself in their position, maybe you will treat them a bit kinder in respect.

          2. re: Val55

            Exactly. I worked at McDonald's in hs (years ago) and that was one of the five steps of serving a customer. It was a pain and people would get so offended or make nasty comments about it. If we didn't, we would be marked down and wouldn't get our nickel raise every few months--a bad economy makes you desperate to keep a job. Complain to corporate and, if it stops, it'll help out the worker bee, too.

            1. re: chowser

              Same here, "upselling" is what they used to call it. I've also encountered it at a Bank I worked at that required, while I was busy helping a customer with whatever question/problem they called about, to ask if they'd thought of an RRSP, would like an increase to their credit limit or fill_in_the_blank product not yet on client's profile. Dehumanizing for sure and I'd hear about it if I didn't meet my quota. (silly me I thought I was hired to help people not sell).

              I think suggestive selling would be eliminated if staff had anything to do with it; trouble is, it's been proven effective so management has grown attached to it.

              I don't have a witty response to the average "would you like ___ with that?" except a simple "No. Thank you."

              1. re: maplesugar

                Who needs witty when you can be succinct, polite and respectful all at the same time?

                1. re: ccbweb

                  When we come down to it, too, few people are clever enough to come up with a "witty" response that no one else has and when you serve hundreds of people, you hear it too many times to count and yet you're forced to kind of chuckle, at least, the umpteenth time you hear it.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    Um, I wasn't suggesting I'd ever say anything but a sincere "No. Thank you" service industry jobs are hard enough.

                    The OP asked: "Your thoughts? Especially good responses to rehearsed suggestions!" I just meant that I didn't have any other suggestion other than to be polite.

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      I got that! I didn't mean for my comment to come off as criticizing yours, rather as agreement with it. I was trying to communicate my complete agreement with "no, thank you" and to point out that it is succinct, polite and respectful.

                  2. re: maplesugar

                    I feel badly for those who have to resort to the corporatespeak in dealing with the public. It's hard ENOUGH for servers to deal with the public, without having to spout words put in their mouths by management.


                2. re: Val55

                  exactly, Val. I've been forced to suggestive sell at jobs and hated it, but I wanted to keep my job.
                  I don't see why anyone would want to think of ways to be ruder to those who deal with the public.

                  In my experience, "no thanks" works just fine.

                  1. I'm not talking about someone trying to serve me, or seeing if I want cream with my coffee. Nor do I want to make anyone suffer. I'm just trying to call attention to the frustrations caused by the corporate machine.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: scuzzo

                      Yes, we understand that YOU are frustrated, but your original post is asking for 'good responses' as if you want to make them feel like a fool, bad or less than human for doing their 'job.' If you are so unhappy with the corporate machine, as you say, then as others have suggested, choose to frequent other establishments. Complain to the corporate hierarchy, not the hard worker right in front of you that is just doing as they are told. I agree with Kbee, a simple, 'no thank you' should suffice.

                      1. re: justagthing

                        I agree. I work for the big bad corporate hierarchy (not in food though) and we too are trained to engage in suggestive selling. You have to keep something in mind: these businesses are NOT a non-profit. They are there to make money and adding on a pastry with your coffee is a step in that direction.
                        These people work hard enough as it is and the last thing they need is a snarky retort when they are only trying to do their job.

                        1. re: HungryRubia

                          I was in retail sales as well and yes, we were trained to suggestive sell, but not in such an obvious manner. But my paycheck really did depend on what I sold (commission). Thankfully, my customers were all kind, understanding and respectful. I love that most of the chowers sound like they are kind and treat most others with respect.

                      2. re: scuzzo

                        Then write a letter to corporate.

                        1. re: PeterL

                          PeterL, ever hear the saying 'the fish starts to smell at the head'?

                          1. re: PeterL

                            Corporate doesn't care! It's called "marketing" and if they are making money, they don't care about you! If they did they wouldn't serve us the crap that they pass off as "healthy fare."

                        2. I worked in Starbucks while I was at college; and while I understand that it can be frustrating to have someone recite these lines to you, it's not really the server's fault. They're required to offer a specific product or try and upsell certain items at certain times of the day, and failing to do so during a mystery shopper visit can lead to a telling-off from the management. Just smile, and say "no thanks". FWIW, why do you say "forced (me) to look at your goodies"? Is it a problem to have pastries etc in a display case - surely this makes it easier to know what they have, if you did want some food, than having to ask what cakes they have?

                          1. You could always stop going to chains.

                            1. Your response seems overly hostile. What's wrong with "no, thank you"? Works for me.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Kbee

                                I agree, these people are just doing their jobs, why begrudge them for doing what their manager is making them do. I just say no thanks and move on.

                                Some folks on CH really like to dwell & complain about things that are no brainers to me & really not that big of a deal in most peoples lives. I think these people either need to get a hobby, or perhaps a family to use up some of their free time that they spend worrying about these unimportant things.

                              2. sorry to pile on here: imagine if you were the underpaid coffee drone, though.

                                you are "trained" and part of your training is to ask each and every customer "would you like a pastry with that?"
                                ick you think, kinda pushy.
                                your first day you feel pushy when you ask
                                your second day you try to be more positive, and act sincere and genuinely helpful when you ask and you feel a little better about yourself
                                your third day someone smacks you with a snarky response when you are only trying to be helpful and you start to hate that you have to ask everyone the same thing, especially because you are starting to recognize a few customers that come by every day.
                                and it goes on, and you go between hating your mgmt for making you recite the words and the customers for ignoring you, being snarky to you, or otherwise dehumanizing you by acting like you're personally trying to take their dollar forty nine for some crappy pastry full of hydrogenated shortening anyway, when it's only part of your job.
                                and it goes on, and you start to laugh at the snarky comments, because it's a variation in the routine, and you've taken yourself out of the situation entirely, for your own sanity, and you may or may not hate your mgmt or the customer any more or less, but you know that part of your individuality has died and if you thought about it it would hurt you.
                                your customers complain that you don't look them in the eye, that you forgot to say thank you or that it didn't sound sincere. they complain about the existence of the tip jar that pays for your busfare or parking every day. they complain that to-go coffee is twenty five cents more expensive than for-here because packaging is now more expensive and they complain that you are speaking canned phrases at them. you are silent and they complain to your mgmt that you are silent. your world is five steps between the counter and the machine and you can't get away from the customers until the end of your shift except when you take a break to pee.
                                and it goes like that until you kill people or find an independent coffee shop to work at, where your co-workers will call you "weird corporate robot" behind your back for the first six months until you loosen up and learn how to talk to humans again.

                                if you spend money at chain coffee world takeover outlet, treat the coffee drones as if they were human-- they are trying to remember too! & if you want to talk to a person while you are getting your coffee, go to the independent coffee shop across the street.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  Love your response soupkitten, and please Chowers, remember that this is the same for those of us who are forced to work in chain restaurants and retail establishments too. I ALSO think it's stupid to suggestive sell you wine when you've already declined alcohol or started your meal with beer, but I'm supposed to ask you when I deliver the entrees or I can get in trouble. The current job scenario involves telling you to go on our website and signing the receipt with my name in hopes that you'll fill out our online customer service survey. This is after asking you if you have a store charge and if not, do you want to get one and explaining what you'll get if you do so. I get tired of saying these things too.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    I really feel for both soupkitten and rockandroller! My oldest DD was a server, then manager at a chain restaurant and one of the major job requirements was coming to the table and listing the appetizers they needed to "push", and if you didn't do it you were not only chastised but also given some type of demerits. After so many demerits, even if you excelled at everything else, you were terminated! Ridiculous, but common practice in ALL business. I used to get annoyed, only slightly but still annoyed, but now I listen to the spiel and then say "No thank you." But sometimes when they list 3 things I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, I'll say, in a joking manner of course, "Ooh, wrong table! We don't eat any of that." They usually laugh.

                                    Be nice - they are being watched very closely!

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      "...if you didn't do it you were not only chastised but also given some type of demerits. After so many demerits, even if you excelled at everything else, you were terminated!.....Be nice - they are being watched very closely!"


                                      More and more and more, I feel badly for those in the service business.

                                      Imagine not being nice to them or not tipping those in restaurants 20%?


                                      And as I said before, it's the same in retail, where they are even forced to be nice.

                                      1. re: danhole

                                        don't feel bad for me, i'm in the independent, happy place! i've also never worked as a barista but work every day with those who have & do. i just don't think it's very hard to empathize with others-- c'mon, would you want to do their job? a long time ago i started to make personal decisions to support independent places where people aren't "programmed" and to run a business model that's been called "anti-corporate" (what a compliment!). i only wish i could hire everyone away from their corporate serving jobs, because i know how much it sucks.

                                        it ticks me off a little that people complain so much about how things are done in corporate chain establishments but they continue to patronize them, and continue to complain. the chain places continue to make the big bucks and expand and make their employees miserable; the little indies struggle & go out of business. . . don't bother writing to corporate--as other posters have pointed out, they don't care-- go to an independent establishment, where your business *will* be appreciated.

                                        1. re: soupkitten


                                          Please Support the independent businesses!!!

                                    2. re: soupkitten

                                      "and it goes like that until you KILL people or find an independent coffee shop"

                                      SK - Are you really suggesting that anyone working in a "corporate" coffee shop will end up commiting murder? And yet again, here you go insinuating that poeple don't treat others as if they are human based on what they do for a living. My dear, I really think you might have some issues that YOU need to address, instead of blaming others for your unhappiness.
                                      The world is not one vast conspiracy working against the 'service industry' people of the world as you seem to suggest in WAY too many of your latest posts.

                                      Signed, a person that very rarely patronizes chain establishments!

                                      1. re: SweetPea914

                                        it was a joke, SweetPea, that bit about killing people. i think a lot of these other folks complaining about dealing with the public, and the occasional mean-spirited, snarky customer, may have gotten a chuckle from it. the vast majority of your customers can be perfectly nice, but one jerk can really go a long way towards ruining your day when you're in the service industry.

                                        i just don't think that it's acceptable to be cruel to a service employee, whether it's being verbally rude or whatever. i joke about it because i find some humor in it too--again, i can easily identify with the baristas who must wait on people who are mean to them--sorry we don't share the same sense of humor but it's a bit of a stretch for you to decide i'm an unhappy person because i like to speak up for baristas, waitresses and bartenders. someone has to.

                                      2. re: soupkitten

                                        "treat the coffee drones as if they were human"

                                        They ARE human, they aren't "coffee drones". And frankly, I always see customers at the "evil" corporate coffee house treating the employees with respect. And get treated with a smile in return. How does referring to chain coffee shop employees perjoratively as "drones" further the interests of independent shops anyway?

                                        FWIW, one of my students worked at one of these "evil" places--he enjoyed it, learned a lot, enjoyed the company of his co-workers and the customers. In addition, he got some benefits, too--not bad for a part-timer.

                                      3. If you're the person who does want a pastry and they don't ask, you'd likely feel as though you were being rushed along and all they cared about was moving the line along and not serving you as an individual customer. I end up with two conclusions:
                                        1) they're a business, so asking if a customer would like something additional makes a lot of sense
                                        2) there's literally no way to make every single person happy all of the time and so you might as well go with the first conclusion as your fall back because, well, it's a business.

                                        1. "I mean I just stood in a line where you forced me to look at your goodies"

                                          I think this speaks volumes. No one is "forcing" you to do anything. If it bothers you, why invest even more energy into coming up with a snarky reply? A simple no thanks concludes the transaction and everyone can move on.

                                          1. I feel compelled to say that all selling is suggestive. All of it.

                                            Think about it. Otherwise it's just an exchange for something you picked out (I'll trade you 55 cents for this pound of flour. OK.) In a vacuum; as, really, most of our purchases are made. (think grocery shopping).

                                            If you have someone actually trying to sell you something, you can answer either yes or no. Yes, I realize there are very aggressive sales people out there in some instances. That's when the ability to utter the words "no, thank you" become more important...but this is not usually the case. Most of us do not experience truly high pressure in sales. It just feels that way because of our mood or proclivities. High sales pressure happens more in say, car sales, than in pastry sales.

                                            If we engage in the world of commerce, we run up against sales training, including that which might rub us the wrong way. soupkitten stated things in a very cogent manner in her post. Sales training demands certain things from corporate (and indie) employees. It does NOT demand snarky ripostes from the retail concern's customers. Be polite and tolerant and say no, thank you.

                                            Rehearsed comebacks to rehearsed sales suggestions just compound the lack of civility.


                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                              Any comment you make make in response to these sales pitches, no matter how clever you think it is, will be something the worker has heard a gazillion times before.

                                              1. re: bibi rose


                                                I love how people give you what they think is such an original "zinger" then they give you that stare with a snarky smile on their face, trying to see if they were able to ruffle your feathers.

                                                People like scuzzo come into my shop all the time. I often wonder whether they came in to buy something, or just try out their new Zinger! I hope it's the latter, how ironic would that be... someone complaining about up-selling comes in to buy something they don't want/need just to use a zinger comeback.

                                                1. re: newJJD

                                                  I used to work at Sears in the auto center and rare was the winter day when someone DIDN'T come in and say "My Die Hard died" with a look on their face that said "aren't I a clever boy?"

                                                  Everyone upsells--do you want fries with that, how about a service agreement, can i interest you in an extended warranty, do you have AA batteries already, do you need stamps today...It worked for the first retailers that did it, but now it's just so much noise and/or an irritant.

                                            2. I used to work in retail (although not food service) and we were required to do what is called "upsell." It was on our secret shop and if you didn't ask the customer if they wanted to buy a gift card AND an additional item, the store failed the secret shop. All of our reviews were based on your sale score which was average number of items sold multiplied by the cost. During the holidays, we were given a bonus for pushing gift card holders and stupid bears along with the normal items. I can't think of much that was more tedious or annoying. I hated doing it, but I did it and got my whole 50 cent/hour raise... I hate it when people upsell, but aside from the "would you like to sign up for our credit card?" thing, I mostly just say "no thank you" and get on with it. Companies pushing their credit cards REALLY piss me off, but that's another story.

                                              Basically, scuzzo, it's just something you have to deal with. If you hate it, call the corporate offices of the company. Please don't take it out on the employee since they can get fired for failing to meet expectations... and chances are they aren't making much money to start with.

                                              1. A polite "No thank you" is what I use unless I start getting aggressive upselling.

                                                1. You choose to go into that coffee shop, you choose to stand in that line. If you do not like looking at their goodies, look somewhere else.

                                                  The poor, terribly underpaid person behind the counter probably also wishes that the line was shorter so that he/she could take it a bit easier for a few minutes.

                                                  Why do you walk in, prepared to "confuse" (or to be "witty" i.e. mean to) the person behind the counter?

                                                  If I am asked whether I want something else with my coffee, I say: "No, thank you" or "Yes, please", depending on what I have decided to order that day.

                                                  Next time, when the person behind the counter asks you if you want a pastry -or something else- with your coffee, try a genuinely friendly smile (it actually feels good to smile), accompanied with an equally friendly: "No, thank you" -and see if you yourself might feel better while walking out of there.

                                                  1. Good response. THey do the same thing at my local post office - you go in to mail something, and they keep asking if you want additional services, need stamps, etc. One day I got a great smile from the clerk when I said, " no thanks, and no fries, either."

                                                    6 Replies
                                                      1. re: phoebek

                                                        You should have heard what they said about you after you left.

                                                        1. re: justagthing

                                                          You are so right about that! In my old store, we always remembered the difficult customers and made fun of them after they left.
                                                          And what folks like Scuzzo don't understand is this: if you are nice to people who wait on you, they will go out of their way for you in return.
                                                          If you were the type of customer who always tried to give me a hard time or be a wise guy, it would take me twice as long to either ring up your transaction or find your shoe size in the stockroom. However, if you were friendly and kind I would go ahead and let you use your expired coupon or call 15 different stores to help you find that sweater you wanted so much.
                                                          Nice breeds nice!! There is no need to be so condescending!!

                                                          1. re: HungryRubia

                                                            Wait a minute! I think you may have misinterpreted Scuzzo's response to my post. The point I was trying to make was that the clerk and I shared an "imaginary wink" at the USPS policy. I wasn't trying to put her down or be otherwise condescending, and she didn't take it that way.

                                                            1. re: phoebek

                                                              Thanks for your clarification. Your post was definitely taken in the opposite way.

                                                              1. re: phoebek

                                                                Yes,thank you for the clarification...... having worked in retail for as long as I have, I feel its my personal responsibility to defend my "brethren" LOL!

                                                        2. In my business my staff is required to ask if someone would like "white or dark meat chicken" for their bowl or plate. It is clearly posted NUMEROUS places in front of guests that white meat is $1.00 more, which an upcharge for breast meat in this industry is normal and mostly expected. Now we also must keep a fast pace to move the order line along, as we specialize in getting people their food in 5 minutes or less. But what is amusing about this is, we don't ask it to get the extra 1.00. We ask out of courtesy, because when some people walk in and want a chicken plate, they ASSUME it will be breast meat...wanting it changed to breast meat after they receive their order. But some people get upset after we ask, and they claim we deceived them. If we take the time with every customer to ask the question then follow up with the upcharge---because now they have to stand and contemplate some more....we would never get through the line that formed.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: Rob83

                                                            Speaking just for myself, if I were asked "white or dark meat" on an order I would assume it was the same price, I don't always read signs.

                                                            In your situation, if I were your customer I'd expect you to say, "OK, it's dark meat" and if I said, "can I get white meat?" you'd say "sure, that's an extra buck". If that takes too long, why not just say "it's dark meat, would you prefer white meat for an extra buck?" Maybe it takes longer, but it must take time to deal with those upset people.

                                                            1. re: Rob83

                                                              This is the difference between clarification and upselling. When I worked at McDonald's, the standard was to give smalls to people who didn't clarify what size coke/fries they wanted (this was presupersized days when they had smalls). So, the upsell would be to ask, "Would that be a medium coke?" rather than saying "What size coke would you like?" and have them consider ordering small. Chances are people would say yes to medium, or even large. That was the easiest way to upsell since people didn't realize it was happening.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                Unfortunately, I work for a well known chain restaurant. I am a Univ. grad looking for a better job. I have been in the service industry for years and it has become evident to me that this and all chain restaurants are ran solely for the benefit of the shareholders with no true regards to the well being of customers and employees. It is going to backfire and cause more money to be lost. Please recognize that this is a very flawed policy.

                                                                Suggestive selling is HORRIBLE. I always have to up sell juice, specific pies, coffee with pie after dinner etc, but it goes totally unnoticed by management when a party that only will order water skews my check average. It should be abolished, but if suggestive selling is a mandatory policy in a restaurant it needs to be encouraged in an positive manner from management. There should be some focus of incentive. Working under the constant fear that you will get your schedule cut and not be able to pay rent will show through to the tables and creates a negative atmosphere.

                                                                At this store we are told that our days and hours scheduled to work will be cut if at least 9 out of 10 guests are not ordering beverages besides water.

                                                                How people are made to feel is very important. We should see our guests as the source of our livelihood and as an opportunity for repeat business.

                                                                However if we are given a table that will only order water the server cannot help but feel that this table has become the enemy and that they are going to get in trouble for having their numbers too low. This creates a conflict of interest between the guests and the servers.

                                                                We are located in a very diverse society and the fact of the matter is that there are certain demographics that do not often order beverages besides water in restaurants.
                                                                This has caused servers to argue to avoid taking tables of a certain ethnic background because they are likely to lower check averages. It has resulted in the racial profiling of our guests. Servers that are too afraid of getting there schedules cut do everything they can to pass over certain tables. It is wrong, unprofessional, and inefficient. It would not happen if numbers that do not reflect quality of service were not used as fear tactics by management.

                                                                When our guests go out to eat they want to be waited on by a professional and approachable server who is kind and knowledgeable. A good server will guide and make suggestions for a guest while they order. However, the servers I work with have recently become desperate in their approach to push beverages and desserts and it is a turn-off for guests.

                                                                The servers are pushed so much to focus on numbers instead of service that you can see their disappointment and attitude change when guests do not order dessert and/or beverages. We are losing people who would spend thousands over the next few years because we are disappointed that they will only spend ten dollars today and it shows.

                                                                Case in point:

                                                                A woman came in to eat by herself on a weekday who is on a limited budget and is trying to watch the extra calories and caffeine. Therefore she could not be sold a beverage besides water, even with the server being as persuasive and professional as can be. However this woman was given efficient and polite service and made to feel welcome again as a guest, even though her check was less than 7 dollars. Because of the good service she received on that weekday she brought her children and grandchildren in to eat that weekend.
                                                                The party included almost 10 people, and they all ordered entrees, 3 bottles of wine to share, additional beverages, and pie for the table. The bill came about 200 dollars for ten people.
                                                                However the service was slow, inefficient, and the guests were not made to feel appreciated. So much so that the woman who was hosting this dinner said that she felt embarrassed to have brought her family to a place where they were treated like a bother.
                                                                The woman said she did not complain to the manager on duty because she did not want to cause a scene. Because of the unprofessional server and poor experience it would be easier to simply take her future business elsewhere, which is exactly what her and her family have decided to do.

                                                                Now herein lies the problem with managing from a corporate office with no idea what is going on in the actual restaurant:

                                                                The server who originally waited on the woman and gave her good service so that she would return is reprimanded and has her schedule cut because the woman only ordered water. Then the other server who gave the return party bad service (and turned these customers off for life) is given more hours because of all of the beverages sold, while he is constantly causing guests to leave offended and never return.

                                                                1. re: 1server

                                                                  Corporate offices seem so far removed from day to day reality they they are often "penny-wise, pound foolish" in the quest for a good bottom line.

                                                                  This reinforces my personal quest to put my money towards businesses which appreciate my business. Most times they are privately owned...
                                                                  A smart business hires employees who are intelligent enough to handle each situation in a professional manner that addresses the needs of the customer.
                                                                  Unfortunately, many just don't understand that this will benefit everyone in the long run.

                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                    HERE HERE!

                                                                    prime example: In-N-Out. big chain, private ownership, great service/product.

                                                                  2. re: 1server

                                                                    Oh, jeez, my experience is just so difference. I worked in a chain restaurant as well (a medium tier steak house), and our incentive to upsell was that the servers with the highest average checks got to work the Friday and Saturday nights, when the place was packed, and those with the lowest got the graveyard shifts of Sunday-Tuesday.

                                                                    We offered a salad bar, so there weren't many appetizers, but dinners just came with meat and potato/rice. We offered a seasonal vegetable and mushrooms sauteed in wine as add-ons. I always offered them, because 1) they tasted great, and 2) I thought they complemented the meal very well. I offered wine with dinner, because I think a nice red goes well with steak. I offered liquers and dessert with coffee, because that's how I like to end a meal. If the customer demurred, that was fine; I never pushed anyone. But I offered all the things I thought I would like.

                                                                    If a customer ordered a scotch, I didn't try to push him into having a double. If, when I offered the vegetable, they said "No, that will be all", I didn't offer the mushrooms. You get sensitive to what people want after a while. But I wanted my customers to have a memorable meal, not just steak and potatoes. And I was good - people asked for me when they came back - and I still was one of the highest performers.

                                                                    Now, counter service is a little difference, as you don't really get to establish a relationship, but I can't tell you the number of times I've stood in a line at quick serve spot where the customer in front of me, after standing in line for 3-4 minutes, gets to the counter, and then orders a Big Mac and a Coke (say), and after the counter person brings that goes "Oh, I want fries too", or "Oh, can I have a large Coke?". When the counter person asks me "Do you want the sandwich or the combo?" when I order a Whopper, I know she's just trying to save time from ringing up a Whopper, bringing that over, only to have me say "Oh, I wanted the combo", which means she now has to void out the original sale, re-ring it, and go get the drink and fries she could have gotten while waiting for the burger. It just saves time. So I have no problem when I'm asked. I just tell them what I want, or if offered a supersize meal, say "No thanks". It saves time for everyone, including me.

                                                                    As for your good server/bad server issue - that's just an example of a crappy manager. I've worked for good and bad ones; the good ones get out on the floor enough, and ask enough questions of the guests to know which waiters are doing a good job, and which ones aren't. And please - because ONE woman ordered water, the girl gets her hours cut? I think you exaggerate - even the crappiest manager I've ever had wouldn't do that. Now, if your tables consistently don't order drinks, you're either 1) terribly unlucky, or 2) giving off a "you're a drunk if you order alcohol" vibe (which I have seen from some servers). Can't do much about 1), and if it's 2), you either need to change your job or your attitude.

                                                                    1. re: 1server

                                                                      Your manager is an idiot. I'll take your word for it that criteria for cutting hours are set in stone at your place. But why, oh why is your manager allowing crummy service like in the incident where the lady came back?

                                                                      1. re: 1server

                                                                        >>""Now herein lies the problem with managing from a corporate office with no idea what is going on in the actual restaurant: ...""

                                                                        I disagree that the CO has "no idea what is going on in the actual restaurant" in the matter of up-selling and they do wish that those silly ordering people do go elsewhere.

                                                                        meatn3 is right in the "in the quest for a good bottom line".

                                                                        IF -Average Customer Spending- gets below a certain level, the CO has a cow, and you get the management threats like getting your hours cut.

                                                                        So IOW- The CO's do this with full intentions to maximize what the -Average Customer Spends(ACS)- too look good to the Shareholders. Bad ACS stats closes doors.

                                                                  3. I don't mind this too much. I understand they are trying to make money, and if they manage to do it by pulling a Jedi mind trick on the weak, so be it.

                                                                    What does bother me along those lines is when I call (or show up, but usually this is by phone) and open with "I'd like to place an order for pick up/to go." I place my order, usually 4 o 5 items max, and they take them down, repeat them back and then ask "For here or to go/pick up?"

                                                                    Seriously? You can't remember that critical piece of data for 10 seconds? I don't mind so much if they just want to confirm ("And that's to go, right?"), but at least pretend you were listening.

                                                                    1. The most powerful word in ordering is the newest of line in the sand 4-letter words..."JUST"

                                                                      "I am good with JUST the water". That one word cramps the brain in jfood's experience with everyone.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I can't stand it when I say "Table for one, please" and they reply "JUST one?"

                                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                                          jfood's telling ya. it is the word that strikes fear in the hearts of the receiver.

                                                                          He has heard that retort from host(ess) regularly in business. He agrees that it still pisses him off

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            Take a cue from Steve Martin in "The Lonely Guy" and pretend to be a well known food critic. Order lots of stuff, take a few bites of each and make scrupulous notes.

                                                                          2. re: Leonardo

                                                                            As a restaurant manager,that topic (just one?) was always the first thing I addressed with a new host/hostess. Exactly how many is enough? So many singles feel awkward eating alone as it is. I would point out to them that this customer could be recently widowed or just lonely and the aforementioned "just one" phrase would only hammer home that point.

                                                                            1. re: Leonardo

                                                                              Leonardo - i personally LOVE when they ask me that. I usually respond with "yes, but I promise to eat enough for two"

                                                                              that generally shuts them up pretty quick!

                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                              LOL! When I ask for JUST $3.00 worth of PowerBall tickets I always hear $1.00 per ticket up-sell. I say, -fine, as long as I only will spend $3.00 I JUST mentioned-. Like they really must have some math deficiency to figure this one out...