I like Roots idea.. Alot of controversy on this question, it seemed like one was for sampling the next against all the way down the thread.
I’ve got a concession trailer and I’ll sample if it’s convenient (i.e., yes to pork sold by the weight and no to chicken sold by the quarter or piece)but I always ask the customer to promise to purchase the item if they love the sample.
For customers that struggle to make a menu decisions, I’ll often put a small sample of their second choice item in the take-out box to entice them to come back. They usually leave you a tip and come back for their second choice too.
People are always asking for a sample of my Spagehtti Sauce and I always give them a small cup.Then when you see the look on thier faces you know you got them hooked.Now if they start asking for a sample of your Filet breakout that one that hit the floor.
You know, thinking about it I agree with chicagostyledog. The only barometer is profitability. Try it as a general offering for a week and see what happens. If the revenue generated outpaces the cost of the samples, then it’s a good idea.
But I still wouldn’t pander to mooches.
You inadverdently hit the nail on the head. Customer satisfaction is maximized when you exceed the customers expectations, not just meet them.
I rarely disagree with the Mayor, and I agree, that asking for a sample of a dish that has to be prepared and cooked is something I would never do or expect a restaurant to provide.
But with smoked BBQ, there is usually a fully cooked slab of pork or brisket just waiting to be pulled or sliced when the next order comes in. Pulling off a small taste of pork or cutting a small slice of brisket is no big deal to the kitchen staff and could result in a future loyal customer. It may not be expected by the general public, but when given the opportunity, it’s a great way to show customers that you care about them.
As with your other question concerning the dropped filet, I think you need to provide a little more information before anyone can give good suggestions. I would like to know how often this request for tastings occurs? What types of bbq meats (other than brisket) do you offer? Are these offerings always on the menu? What percentage of your sales comes from bbq? Is it real or pseudo-Q? Cooked low and slow using wood? Can the customers see or smell any evidence of a pit or, perhaps, stacks of wood? Are you so confident of your product that, if it’s ordered sight/taste unseen, the customer will be satisfied? pb
You might want to consider doing it like they do in brew pubs, offer a sampler tray as a menu item. For a price they can have a small sample of each "Q" that you have avalible. If presented right it might evan become a mainstay on your menu. Chow Jim
I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t expect it. And as a customer I’d be embarrassed to ask.
I think the way The Mayor phrased his answer is about right.
And you do have a strange clientele. Without saying too much, where are you?
I wouldn’t expect a sample of Liver and Onions, or Hot Beef Sandwich to be offered at a ‘sit-down’ type of restaurant with a general menu. Why should I expect a sample to be offered of BBQ? Now if you have employees available to carry a tray around the restaurant offering a sample of various items that you are trying to gain feed-back (no pun) about from potential customers, then the sample thing is ok. Otherwise it is not worth the effort, and certainly not expected by the general public.
Now if I were operating a Deli-type establishment, or a BBQ Stand where you order at a central location and pick up your food to carry it yourself to a table or outdoors, then having a sample plate of small tidbits on toothpicks might be ok (at the register or order-point) Especially if you are trying to introduce a new item!!
I know it’s a pain to deliver a sample to the table at a sit-down restaurant, but think of the increased business potential when they try something and love it. Maybe a small amount (just a mouthful) of pulled pork and beef brisket in those little 1 oz plastic cups used for condiments will convince them they want to order your Q’.
I disagree with Linda, don’t give them burnt ends or something you don’t consider your best.
I think of the many times I’ve asked waitstaff how good something was and instead of a description, they offered to bring me a small sample. I usually leave a very happy customer and give a larger tip for their caring enough to make sure I had a good experience. Both you and the waitstaff could benefit from this.
Personally, I would never ask for a sample of anything in a restaurant. It sounds like you have a varied enough menu so that one does not to order barbeque at your restaurant and has other choices if they are "leery" of ordering the barbeque.
I would definitely recommend allowing for some small sampling. It shows that you take pride in your Q. Especially as you say, you are not in a state known for its Q.
Living in the Chicago area, I recently at at a small shop that had BBQ and smokehouse in its title. I was excited to order the BBQ brisket sandwich. The sandwich had no smoke ring, or flavor to indicate any preparation that could be construed as low and slow. When I asked why they called it BBQ, the owner looked at me funny, and said "because it has barbeque sauce on it". I didn’t see any evidence of a smoker (there was none there), and asked how he chose the name of the place. He told me that he liked the sound of it.
Living in a BBQ wasteland (Annapolis, MD), I’d love to be able to sample before ordering. I’ve been burned by many "BBQ" restaurants. Just a small bite of pulled pork would be a great help in deciding whether to stay and order, or leave and never return. Good luck.
Vayo con Queso
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