Saturday, October 25, 2014

H2NO - restaurant waitstaff training in “beverage suggestive selling techniques”

Going out to dinner can be a pricey experience — a few dollars for an appetizer, another ten or more per entree, and maybe even dessert. The only good news for your wallet is that at most restaurants will give you a glass of tap water for free. That’s tradition, at least, and customers are used to it. But if you’re the restaurant — or if you’re a not-free beverage-maker — you’d prefer they choose otherwise.

Which is how Coke and Olive Garden got into a little bit of hot water about a decade or so ago.

The story begins in the late 1990s. The soft drink giant and the restaurant chain teamed up to create and implement something called “H2NO.” (Clever, right?) H2NO was an “education kit” for Olive Garden’s waitstaff training them in “beverage suggestive selling techniques” — in short, it taught waiters and waitresses how to get a customer off of the free tap water and into a more lucrative, paid-for drink choice.

More from Now I Know.

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