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I hadn't thought of the amuse buche as a way of intoducing something new. Great idea. You can use the same concept with desserts, but at the end of the meal.


I agree that the waitstaff is your key to selling new items. Really leave your lines of communication open with them all the time.

Learn what kinds of descriptions inspire customers to order. Do they prefer simpler sounding meals, or do they like every aspect of their dish explained on the menu. Do they tend to go for the familiar? If that's the case, try to include (like you said), a twist to a familiar dish. If they are more adventurous, you can make it even more exotic. But in the end, it still comes down to waitstaff.

Some restaurants leave cards for customers to fill out at the end of the meal. I wonder how effective they really are.
 
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