Upselling is a technique that restaurants can use to increase sales and profits. By definition, upselling is “the practice of suggesting higher-priced menu items to customers.”
In other words, upselling is when your waiter recommends the $32 steak instead of the $22 steak. Or, it’s when you’re at a coffee shop and the barista asks if you want a pastry with your coffee.
While upselling may seem like a no-brainer for restaurants, it’s not always easy to do. In fact, many restaurants don’t do it at all because they’re worried about annoying their customers or coming across as pushy. However, when done correctly, upselling can be an extremely effective way to increase sales and profits.
Here are a few tips on how to upsell in your restaurant:
Train your staff on the importance of upselling.
Your waitstaff should be trained on the importance of upselling and how to do it effectively. They should know what menu items are most profitable and how to suggest them in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or sales-y.
Upselling can be a great way to boost your bottom line, but it’s important to remember that it should be done in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or sales-y. Your customers will appreciate your recommendations if they feel like they’re being given a choice, rather than being pressured into buying something they may not want.
There are a few strategies that waiters can use to upsell to customers:
1. Suggest upgraded or add-on items
One of the most common techniques for upselling is to suggest upgraded or add-on items. For example, your waiter might suggest adding a side dish or appetizer to an order or upgrading to a higher-priced menu item.
This technique is especially effective when you’re suggesting add-ons that are complementary to the original order. For example, if someone orders a steak, the waiter could suggest a side of garlic mashed potatoes or a bottle of red wine to go with it.
2. Recommend combo meals
A third strategy for upselling is recommending combo meals. This technique is especially effective for restaurants that serve multiple courses (like appetizers, main courses, and desserts)
For example, your waiter might suggest ordering an appetizer and main course together to get a discount on both items, or ordering a dessert to share with the table
3. Use suggestive selling techniques
Finally, waitstaff can use suggestive selling techniques to encourage customers to upgrade their orders. Some of these techniques include using persuasive language, making eye contact, and using positive body language.
Waitstaff should also be polite and respectful when suggesting upgrades or add-ons; after all, you don’t want them coming across as pushy or sales-y.
Make sure your menu and your restaurant is designed for upselling.
Your menu should be designed in a way that makes it easy for customers to order additional items. For example, you might want to include suggested side dishes next to each entree or list popular add-ons near the bottom of the menu. When making the menu, also offer food that is either more interactive or something that waiters can make a spectacle of. This will also attract neighboring tables to order the same thing.
In addition, you can display food in a way that makes it easy for customers to see can also encourage them to order them. For example, you might want to use open kitchen displays so that customers can see the chefs preparing their meals. Look for display cases for restaurants — these are great for displaying desserts like pudding and cake.
Offer special deals and discounts.
Another way to encourage customers to upgrade their orders is by offering special deals and discounts. For example, your waiter might mention that the restaurant is currently running a special on steak dinners, or that they have a discount on bottles of wine.
Of course, it’s important to make sure that the deals you’re offering are actually good deals! You don’t want your customers feeling like they’re getting ripped off just because they decided to upgrade their order.
Get creative with your upsells.
There’s more to upselling than just recommending a higher-priced item. You can also get creative by offering add-ons or bundle deals. For example, you could offer a discount on a second entree if someone orders an appetizer or dessert. Or, you could create a special lunch combo that includes an entree, drink, and side dish for one price.
Be genuine and honest with your recommendations.
The key to successful upselling is to be genuine and honest with your recommendations. Your waitstaff should only suggest items that they would order themselves or that they truly believe the customer will enjoy. If your staff comes across as pushy or insincere, it will only turn customers off and hurt your business in the long run.
Upselling can be a great way to increase your restaurant’s profits, but it’s important to do it the right way. Your waitstaff should use polite and respectful language when suggesting upgrades or add-ons, and they should only recommend items that they would order themselves or that they believe the customer will enjoy. You can also encourage customers to upgrade their orders by offering special deals and discounts. Just make sure you’re actually offering good deals!