APPETIZERS - Get their appetite going and ready for the "Main Event".

On your initial greeting of the table you offered them appetizers right?
First visit should welcome them, get their drink order and offer appetizers. Allow them to at least think about them and talk about them while you get the drinks. This will lead to selling more, honest. They hit the table thirsty and hungry. If they don't, why did they come out to eat in the first place?

Selling appetizers isn't about selling appetizers. Sure, they are appetizers but you're not going to even say that word. That word means - added cost to many, so let's not use it at all. Instead you're going to sell them on the idea of something great to eat. Something they want and will enjoy!

Once again, we'll be selling the idea not the product. We want them to enjoy their experience. So instead of asking "can I get you an appetizer?", you are going to paint a picture of what they could be enjoying with words. I know it sounds lame but it works. Use descriptors as much as possible and instead of the word appetizer use words like "get started with", "would you enjoy" or "how does <description> sound?".

Your descriptions should include words like: crispy, creamy, spicy, hot, cold or anything else that helps paint the picture for them. You want to use as many as possible and maybe you'll hit upon the thing they like best. Often people like crispy things, they don't deep fry at home and it's something they really like about eating out. If you are super sneaky you can suggest things that are salty and might make them want more cocktails or beer. Just sayin'

Again, ask in multiples of three. Describe three items. You never know what they will like. Although you'll learn which are the most popular and start with them, followed by your favorite of course. If you offer what they happen to like you'll be well on the path to putting one on their table. And you don't know what part of what they like; could be they really like the celery that the wings include.

After your "pitch" for the appetizer give them a few seconds to order, if they don't order LEAVE! Give them time to talk about it, they are going to sell each other the appetizer for you! There are bound to be some differing opinions and you don't want to be around for that little exhibition of power. Let them do the work for you, you planted the seed now allow them to grow it into a full blown appetizer tree! When you return you can trim the fruit.

After they order some starters don't let them down. This is where you can show them you're a professional. Bring plates for them before the appetizers arrive. Make sure they have drinks before the appetizers hit the table too. Also treat it as you do anything you bring to the table, CHECK BACK! Make sure they are enjoying what they ordered. If they aren't you want to be there as quickly as possible to make it right for them. That's your job. You don't want them sitting there for 5 or 10 minutes talking about how much they don't like what they ordered. You want them talking about how great it is!

A word on the "check back". Ask them if everything is fantastic. Don't ask them if it's okay. That's not the mark you should be aiming for. Okay is lackluster and you should be aiming higher for your guests. If you suggested the appetizer you want them to be very happy with it. If you ask if it's fantastic and possibly comment on what it was you used to sell it (maybe a great dipping sauce or one part of a combination plate) you want them to agree that it's fantastic. Once you ask if it's fantastic and they agree, when they look back they will remember it being great. That's a wonderful part of the mind,  you can have them remember what you want them to. Tricky huh? (that's 6 years of full time magician talking there)