Always Room for Key Lime Pie

December 2, 2015

I saw and commented on the key lime pie. Conveniently for him, the waiter overheard the conversation and smartly asked if we’d like a slice…

I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, and as we were discussing the menu… “What are you having?” “I don’t know, what looks good to you?” …I saw and commented on the key lime pie. Conveniently for him, the waiter (are they still called waiters?) overheard the conversation and smartly asked if we’d like a slice following our lunch, which we readily agreed to — and thoroughly enjoyed. It was a $6.99 sale for him and a bit of shared delight for us. Everyone won. I bring this up because — while I’ve never run a restaurant — I am a lifelong salesman and marketer, so I almost can’t help myself from watching when either or both of these activities are taking place. That being established, I have two thoughts for anyone who runs a sit-down restaurant. First, why not have every server ask every customer, every time, if they would like dessert while they are ordering lunch or dinner? I eat out several times a week between lunch and dinner and I can’t remember the last time someone ordered dessert following a meal. You’re full, thinking about leaving and about the calories, and the common response seems to be a version of “I’d love to, but I don’t need the extra calories.” However, for the same reason we’re advised to not grocery shop while hungry (we buy far too much of what we do need and far too many things we don’t “need”), what if waiters hit ‘em for dessert when they’re hungry — before they order and eat? Second, chips (especially at a Mexican place) and bread are a detriment to orders. If too much time passes between delivery of the “free” chips or bread and the server taking the order, you run the risk of the customer filling up and ordering less. I have countless times heard, “I ate way too many chips, how about if we split…?” So, my unsolicited advice to those in the restaurant business is to ask me about dessert while I’m hungry and to tighten up the time between bringing me “free” food and taking the order for what I’m going to pay for. In the meantime, I’ll take another basket of those great chips and I’d like a slice of pie when dinner is done…