Making members and guests feel valued and welcome is an absolute no brainer for any hospitality venue, but for golf course F&B establishments which often operate with smaller margins and lower foot traffic than traditional restaurants, the line between success and failure is razor thin. And with labor shortages and employee turnover at levels not seen in decades, the importance of increasing margins through upselling and keeping good employees has never been higher.
According to 59club USA’s industry leading proprietary data sets, the F&B customer service tactic most in need of improvement is also the least costly and happens to be a catalyst for increased margins. It also helps raise tips for servers and happens to be one of the key components of exceptional customer service – friendly conversation starters, A.K.A the upsell engine.
Customers are far more likely to purchase premium items when they have a personal connection to their server. Something as simple as a friendly introduction from the server or a well-placed engaging question can be the difference between your customers ordering the cheapest thing on the menu or opting for the larger size – and higher margin – appetizer, special of the day, beer, cocktail or dessert. Developing rapport through the friendly conversation starter tactic is something every server in your organization should strive for at the beginning of each individual interaction. And it works.
This same tactic is also one of the driving forces of higher tips. Since most diners in the US tip a percentage of the bill, raising the final total through upselling – made easier through friendly communication – will increase gratuities and employee satisfaction and assist in lowering employee turnover.
Clubs are simply not taking advantage of this tactic. Even at the podium levels – the best of the best – of 59club clients, only 66 percent (66%) of tests showed a server’s willingness to engage in friendly conversation starters. The industry average drops to an abysmal 40%, showing an industry wide opportunity for growth and higher F&B margins. Let’s do some math!
Club X has an average of 140 players per day of which 40 (29%) order a small beer at the end of their round. The small beer is priced at $7 with a 78% margin. The large beer is priced at $9 with the same 78% margin. If servers at Club X used friendly conversation starters to prime the pump for the upsell to the larger beer and managed to convert half of the 40 drinkers to the premium beverage, the result is a $11,534 increase in profit over the course of one year – on only one menu item – just by implementing a no-additional-cost tactic in your customer service toolkit. Win win.
Does your service staff need a tutorial on friendly conversation? Take advantage of 59club USA’s online training platform that is designed specifically for the club business.