As a server, utilizing upselling techniques is one of the easiest ways to increase your tips and your restaurant’s profits. While some people believe that effectively upselling can require a certain skill, it really isn’t difficult to do.
The key to using suggestive selling techniques in your restaurant is to do it in a way that doesn’t make the customer feel like they’re being pressured to buy something. If you are too pushy when upselling, the customer could feel like you’re just trying to get money out of them and become aggravated. So here are a few effective upselling tips that will leave your guests (and your pockets) happy.
Your first chance to upsell occurs shortly after the customer is seated. Instead of immediately taking drink orders, this can be turned into an opportunity to describe some of the unique beverage options your restaurant has to offer. A great way to do this is by saying your personal favorites: "What can I get you to drink? I love our Blackberry Margarita, which uses fresh and juicy blackberries. It’s delicious and I highly recommend it." While the customer may have originally decided that they would just get a water or soda, now they can’t stop thinking about that tasty drink you just described to them. By doing this, you’ve just converted a $1.75 soda sale into a $7.00 drink sale. This technique can also be used to upsell any appetizers your restaurant may offer.
Your next opportunity to use suggestive selling techniques depends on whether or not your guests have come in for a full-size entree. A great upselling method is being assumptive; don’t ask if the customer wants an entree this evening, assume they want one. So after you’ve returned with their drinks, begin offering them different entrees: “Are we in the mood for a juicy burger this evening or were you thinking about trying the pasta?” Once again, this puts different food options into guests’ minds that they may not have been initially aware of. After the customer has chosen an entree, you can also try to upsell to a larger serving size or additional sides, like guacamole or sour cream.
The final opportunity to upsell in your restaurant is after your customers have finished their meal: "Can I interest anybody in dessert?" Before your guests have a chance to reply that they’re too full, throw out a suggestion, but make sure you’re being descriptive. Rather than listing the desserts, tell your customers what each dessert is by listing some of the main ingredients. Make the dessert so temptingly irresistible that their mouths will be watering before the dish is even delivered. Also, nothing goes better with a dessert than a cool glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee, so make sure to push these beverage items as well.
When attempting to use upselling techniques in your restaurant, remember to be assumptive, suggestive, and descriptive. By using these suggestions and taking advantage of each upselling opportunity, you’re likely to see a rise in your tips.