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Small plates, big impact

Every restaurant, in every culture, features some sort of tasty, little bites on the menu.

Whether they're a first course, a light entree, or a low-risk way to try new flavors, appetizers are a perfect way to enhance a meal and boost profits.

Appetizer do's and don'ts:

  • Are your appetizers consistent with the rest of your menu? I recently ate at a restaurant that served the traditional pub fare appetizers (fried calamari, onion rings, curly fries) alongside braised lamb and artichoke crusted halibut. I was confused about the concept. Use your appetizers to reinforce your brand personality.
  • Offer samples. Appetizers make great sampling items, and sampling has all sorts of benefits. Check out "The Power of Sampling" for information on how to set up a successful sampling program.
  • Do you promote your appetizers as a group event? Develop a suggestive selling script for your hostess or waitperson to suggest sharing. Your menu can indicate which appetizers are designed to share and how many they will serve. Don't forget the extra plates and utensils.
  • Are your appetizers "sharable?" Feature a variety of flavors. And make sure your portioning and plate presentation accommodate sharing. This may even involve portioning to accommodate the number of guests at the table. Have you ever tried to share three spring rolls between four people?
  • Are table tents used to highlight your signature appetizers? A mouthwatering picture and an enticing description are enough to tempt many hungry guests. Emphasize how quickly appetizers can be served. Surveys show that hunger is a big factor in ordering appetizers.

Appetizing Facts Source:
An American Express Briefing Newsletter featured the results from a study that shed a little light on the business of selling appetizers.

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