Serve Up Some (Silent) Samples For Superior (& Simplistic) Sales

It’s a tradition for many people going to a grocery store; a walk through the bakery, deli, produce and similar fresh-food areas results in a stack of plastic cups with half-eaten samples. Samples are a great way for customers to try a bite of your dishes and see if they want to order more. Have you considered starting offering samples in your restaurant? Samples may be cost-minimal way to maximize to your sales. How do you get started on offering samples to your customers?

What Kind Of Sampling Is Right For Your Restaurant?

Not all sorts of sampling are right for your restaurant. The simplest and easiest situation in which “silent sampling” is possible is for delis and the like, food locations that include ready-made dishes, sides, and more that can be sold in scalable amounts. Silent Sampling is the concept that you can place the food out for customers with a sign describing the product, price, ingredients and more, and let them take at their free will. Your staff will never have to stop their task to offer, but only to answer any questions about the product, and prepare an item for sale if the customer wants their new favorite treat.

For more upscale restaurants, you may want to reserve sampling for when customers asks to try, or staff believes a customer may enjoy. While sampling some items may be logistically impossible, such as a piece of steak or lobster, it may be possible to provide samples for other dishes. Cakes, side dishes, sauces, and more may be in the realm of possibility for many restaurants, and in many cases, would be encouraged in the chance that a customer may be ordering a large amount of something (say, a number of cakes for an event). In these cases, sampling may be more of a proper affair, with actual plates and utensils.

How To Silent Sample

  • For silent sampling, you’ll need to make sure you have counter or table space near products you’re wanting to sample, so you can place a domed tray adjacent to the product.
  • Figure out what products could both use a boost from sampling and work well in bite-size amounts. Remember, the concept is that customers can get a full taste of your dish without filling themselves up; if you serve a large cookie, for example, you can break that up into smaller bites and it’ll still taste the same. On the other hand, it may be a bit hard to cut a large sandwich into multiple pieces and still include all the ingredients. Side dishes like macaroni & cheese or potato salad work great in these concepts, as they are the same taste throughout.
  • Souffle cups are the perfect sampling container for most dishes you’d wish to share. They’re small, cheap, and disposable (in fact, it may be a good idea to keep a small wastebasket nearby to collect the trash).
  • Keep safety in mind. Don’t use toothpicks to sample, as the wood may splinter. Instead, using plastic sampling forks offers a cheap and disposable item that doesn’t require cleaning, and won’t require security if someone leaves the premises with it. Additionally, remember temperature guidelines. If your dishes need to be served cold, put ice at the bottom of the tray. If they need to be served hot, dispose of them once they’re no longer an appropriate temperature.

Sampling just may be a key to your customer-base growing, and their taste buds as well. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.