Customer Service and Suggestive Selling


9 mins read

Everybody wins with good customer service; customers have the best dining experience possible, problems are resolved, staff feels more satisfied in their work, and most of all it drives your business forward. Conversely, poor customer service does the opposite and isn’t sustainable for your business.

Every business will have its own idea of what drives good customer service and what suggestive selling looks like, so work out from the list below what is most applicable to your business, and make sure that you keep on training and retaining your staff in this area.

Service – Your commitment to your customers should be that they will receive outstanding customer service each and every time they visit your café or restaurant. Not only will this keep them coming back but it will drive positive referrals, and future business.
Excellent and insightful service involves the following:
  • Ensure that all customers are greeted warmly and quickly. If you’re busy, smile and make eye contact with the customer and let them know you will be with them in a minute.
  • When talking to a group, make sure you make them feel included by talking and making eye contact with them all.
  • Never appear rushed in front of a customer. Each should feel like they have your full and undivided attention.
  • When talking to customers speak clearly with confidence and warmth.
  • Pick up on the cues your customer is giving you, as this will help you anticipate the kind of service they are wanting and their likely needs.
  • Place yourself in your customer’s shoes and deliver the kind of service you like to receive when dining out.
  • Outstanding customer service falls flat if it’s not delivered with a smile and positivity. This also helps drive a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Remember regulars’ names; they love to be recognised.
  • Never argue with a customer and never defend a mistake or blame others. When something is wrong, maintain a warm and friendly disposition and use the opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
  • Never allow staff to congregate in groups to chat, even during slow periods. Ensure you always look busy by taking care of the small jobs that always need to be done.
  • Ensure that you are anticipating the needs of your customers, but be careful not to ‘over-service’ them.
  • Every customer should be provided with water [sit down restaurants only] as soon as they sit down, give them a menu and let them know you will be back soon to take a drink order. 
  • Be knowledgeable about the menu so that you can make recommendations and understand what allergens may exist in each dish.
  • Throughout the service keep on asking yourself:
  1. What else needs to be done right now?
  2. Does a team member need my help?
  3. Am I ready for the next rush?
  4. What’s happening? 
  5. Is there a situation arising that I should be ready for?
  6. How are my customers going? 
  7. Is it likely they need anything from me?
Remember, delivering great service is fun, and the positive interactions you will have with your customers will give you a real buzz.

Suggestive selling harnesses the power of good customer service and anticipates the needs of your customers to increase your sales.

It’s a win-win scenario in which customers feel like they’re receiving outstanding service and in doing so, they’re happily spending more money.

Suggestive selling requires the following:

  • Intimately understanding every item on the menu and taking the opportunity to talk to the customer about the menu item. Understand the ingredients and any relevant anecdotes which might relate to them.
  • Read your customer, consider what they’ve just asked for and offer them something that will compliment this. Tea, coffee or a cold drink are always good options, maybe they’d like to add a side or an add-on that goes well with what they’ve already ordered. 
  • Build a rapport with the customer, especially if they’re a regular, as this will help them trust your advice.
  • Give your customers space, they will often need time to look at the menu and consider what they need.
  • Don’t overdo it and never be pushy.
  • Show enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to guide them through the menu and make recommendations, a lot of customers respond well to this, especially if they are visiting for the first time, or the menu has been updated since their last visit.
  • If appropriate, give them a little taste of an item you’re recommending.
  • Think about the time of day, as this will influence the types of items you suggest.


Related Articles


Inside the social food movement

Customers always eat with their eyes first – and now a staggering number also eat with their smartphones and social media accounts before picking up their fork.

Cream and its many uses

A quality culinary cream can work its magic in a variety of ways – here’s just a few of them for you to try.

Butter vs Margarine: A tale of two fats

You no doubt already know your customers are keen to eat natural foods these days - and they’d be hard-pressed to find one as pure as butter.

Dairy UHT cream vs non-dairy UHT cream

UHT (ultra heat treated) cream or long-life cream is exposed to high temperatures for a short period of time, before it’s packed into sterilised Tetra Pak cartons and delivered to your kitchen.

Helping customers choose your establishment

Consumers have never had so much choice when it comes to dining out. So how do you convince them to choose your establishment?

Why our creams are better

Anchor™ Food Professionals has a range of creams to suit your business needs and satisfy your customers’ tastes.

Choosing the right type of cream

Cream is one of the most versatile ingredients for all foodservice bakeries and kitchens.

Fonterra Releases 2021 Sustainability Report

Fonterra’s 2021 Sustainability Performance Report indicates promising headway and momentum in the right direction.

Ready to reopen

In our COVID-19 world, social distancing is the new normal for so many of us. But keeping six feet of space between each other may take some getting used to – especially in busy restaurants! Although reopening guidelines come from a number of sources and differ geographically, there are a few common themes that have been tried and tested.

Finding their recipe for success in the kitchen

At Anchor Food Professionals, our people are at the heart of our success. We are committed to supporting a diverse range of talented chefs who work hard to ensure our customers’ thrive. We are proud to celebrate our female chefs who are paving the way for future generations.

Delivering excellence every time

Foodservice delivery was already taking off before 2020 ... and then COVID happened. While a shock, it made many businesses pivot to find new ways of setting up fast, convenient delivery models. And that meant new ways of thinking around pricing and cost management, updated menus, websites, communicating with customers, staff management plus extra food safety and hygiene measures.

Choosing the right type of cream

Cream is one of the most versatile ingredients your bakery or kitchen can stock – you can pour it, whip it, and add it to everything from drinks and desserts to pasta sauces and soups.

Butter, Naturally Pure

A meal that tastes good is just as important to your customers as one that’s good for them - and butter has a deliciously unique flavour that will easily elevate your menu.

Artichoke Basil Pizza

Artichoke Basil Pizza

Recipes with our award-winning mozzarella

Anchor Food Professionals has taken out some top awards at the 2022 International Cheese & Dairy Awards.

Anchor Food Professionals Performance at International Cheese Awards

Anchor Food Professionals collects eight medals and one trophy at this year’s International Cheese and Dairy Awards.

March 2022 Trend Report – Cheese, Spice & All Things Nice

Anchor Food Professionals have curated some of the latest trends to help deliver you some menu inspiration!

Regal Shake Recipe

A refreshing and deliciously creamy shake. Made with crumbled regal biscuits, topped with a decadent cream cheese topping.

Lychee Dragon Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Brighten your day. A perfectly balanced blend of mild tropical dragon fruit and sweet aromatic lychee topped with a deliciously rich cream cheese topping.

And that’s a wrap on Bakery China 2023!

Last week we were at Asia Pacific’s biggest bakery event - Bakery China in Shanghai.

It’s not just our Chefs who are world class.

As proud sponsors of the Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2024, we’re excited to introduce another star of the show – Anchor Chef’s Classic Whipping Cream!

Tarte à la mangue

This Tarte à la mangue is a baked mango tart with mango mousse and vanilla cream using our Anchor Whipping Cream.

Collaborating to grow our Chinese market

Two of our New Zealand team recently travelled to China to learn more about the UHT Cream market there, and how we can develop great new products for our customers.

Anchor Food Professionals wins big at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards 2023!

We recently entered some of our Anchor Food Professionals products in the International Cheese and Dairy Awards – the world’s biggest platform to champion world class producers of cheese and dairy products.

Orange Blossom Malabi Custard

Orange Blossom Malabi Custard

Tomato Bisque

Tomato Bisque

Whipped goats cheese tortellini

Whipped goats cheese tortellini, vintage cheddar & toasted pine nut cream sauce.

Squash Soup

Squash Soup

Cajun Cream Tortellini

Cajun Cream Tortellini

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream.

Spicy red cream sauce with roast eggplant & spaghetti

Spicy red cream sauce with roast eggplant & spaghetti.

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream.

Rosemary & garlic roast chicken with pappardelle, goat's cheese & avocado

Rosemary & garlic roast chicken with pappardelle, goat's cheese & avocado.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

A delicious creamy soup for fall. Made with fresh mushrooms and Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream.


A Korean dish with a twist! Deep fried chicken, pizza topping flavours, and a hit of spice - all balanced out with our smooth Mozzarella cheese. Try out this Korean-inspired dish that will delight all the senses!