Server gets in trouble with the boss for refusing to 'suggestive serve' alcohol

@sensualyodeling/TikTok maeching chaiwongwatthana/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘My only obligation is to the customer’: Server gets in trouble with the boss for refusing to ‘suggestive serve’ alcohol

'management would take tables out of our section'


Jack Alban


Posted on Feb 24, 2024   Updated on Feb 24, 2024, 7:19 pm CST

Approximately 29.5 million Americans are alcoholics. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that a sizable chunk of the U.S. population, as early as the age of 12, abuse alcohol and struggle with drinking. Which is why a server is heavily criticizing the way her manager specifically asked her to “suggestive sell” boozy beverages to diners without any inkling on their part that they want a drink.

TikToker @sensualyodeling says that as someone who never needed much of a push to get a drink herself in the past understands why merely offering one to someone at a restaurant could be bad news, and was shocked that her supervisor, after explaining this to him, issued a callous rejoinder to her voiced concerns.

She begins her video by stating her rage over the issue was preventing her from going to sleep and that recording a TikTok video about the matter would provide her with some form of catharsis. “I tried to go to bed an hour ago and I’m still heated about something my manager said to me at work today. So everyone who works in a restaurant knows the manager. The one that micromanages you even though they have never in their life taken a table. So he was getting on me about suggestive selling alcohol,” she said.

@sensualyodeling went on to delineate her reasoning for being reluctant to upsell alcohol to restaurant guests, citing her own troubles in alcohol consumption regulation during her sophomore yer of college. “And I explained to him you know I suggestive sell appetizers and desserts all the time I’m just not gonna be the one in the interaction to bring up alcohol,” she said. “Alcoholism is a thing and some people if prompted are going to order a drink and that shouldn’t be something that they’re doing. My sophomore year of college I would order alcohol every time it was offered if someone else was doing it whatever I did not need to be doing that. It was to my detriment it was to the detriment of the people around me.”

She also highlighted a potentially tragic scenario of suggesting alcohol to parents who are dining with children and how that could go south relatively quickly. She said, “Especially when someone has kids, like, and I almost always get someone to get a larger glass of wine or a larger beer people getting cocktails, extra shots or second rounds, but I am not going to bring up alcohol. I don’t know someone’s situation. And he looked at me and he said well get over it.”

@sensualyodeling remarked that at the end of the day, she doesn’t how an allegiance to the establishment that she works for but rather the customers’ she’s serving as a tipped waitress as they are the ones who will ultimately supplement her income.

“Like, y’all pay me $2.13 an hour, I don’t owe you anything. My only obligation is to the customer because they’re the ones that actually pay me. Which means I’m happy to go over the entire drink menu with you. If you ask me about it. Also if you’re my manager stop telling me if you have time to lean you have time to clean. I do have time I’m not getting paid to clean you make a wage and you sit on your a*s all day,” she said at the end of the video.

@sensualyodeling if i don’t care about the extra dollar on my tip, why would i compromise my ethics to benefit a company that pays me $2.13 an hour #serverlife ♬ original sound – 👺👺👺

When it comes to the art of suggestive selling at restaurants, there’s no shortage of analysts and commentators willing to offer their two cents to servers and eatery employees to try and get diners to spend a bit more money or navigate them to trying particular offerings. The Secret Sauce detailed a list of “techniques to raise restaurant revenue,” but in this very same piece admits while the end goal is to make the business more profitable, there is one key factor about suggestive selling that can’t really be quantified.

And it’s a decisive factor that seems to be something @sensualyodeling was touching upon in her video, which was ultimately lost on her manager. “The key to suggestive selling is to be knowledgeable about the menu offerings, perceptive about how and when the recommendation is delivered, and that it is genuine. Suggestive selling is successful when a customer not only orders what your server recommends but when they feel it made their dining experience better,” reads the site.

The operative word in the aforementioned quote is “perceptive”—picking up on a table’s cues, like hearing them mulling over drink options or asking others what kind of cocktail or boozy beverage they should get is a perfect opportunity for a server to swoop in with some suggestions.

Other outlets all more or less echo the same conclusion as @sensualyodeling, which is that even when it comes to suggestive selling the recommendations should ultimately benefit the customer.

There were several other commenters who echoed @sensualyodeling’s philosophy when it comes to recommending drinks for tables, like this one person who said that if there’s someone in a group who wants to order an alcoholic beverage, then they will more than likely make that known. The user wrote, “People who want to drink will ask for it. Period. You don’t have to suggest booze.”

Another server shared their technique for broaching the topic of drinks without specifically asking if a person wants alcohol. “I always just ask if we’d like to start off with some drinks or apps, and most people don’t take that as alcohol unless they already had it in mind,” they wrote.

Other commenters shared how suggestive selling alcohol can really backfire. “one time my trainee was really pushing a table to drink until they said ‘we’re actually 25 years sober today’ i vowed to never again push alcohol,” one person penned.

There was one TikToker who went so far as to say that being offered alcohol would ultimately make them want to never return to a restaurant again. “as a sober alcoholic i’d NEVER go back to a restaurant where i had someone try to get me to buy alcohol,” wrote the user.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @sensualyodeling via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Feb 24, 2024, 10:00 pm CST