5 tips for up-selling in your Restaurant

By 4.7 min readPublished On: March 13, 2019

Up-selling is when you offer customers the opportunity to purchase additional items to benefit, enhance, supplement or otherwise improve upon their current purchase. The easiest person to sell something to is the one who is already at your door and ready to pay you money.  It’s an important and effective way to increase your profits within your restaurant. However, you don’t want to lose customers by pestering them with multiple attempts at increasing there bill. You will need to make sure your staff are trained to pull this off. .
Up-selling is your “every little bit counts” strategy, in that every up-sell leads to a small increase in the price of a meal. Think about the phrase “would you like fries with that?” This is a classic example of up-selling — a sales technique used to sell additional goods or services to existing customers.
Let us show you some tips and tricks of the trade below:

1. Know which menu items have the highest profit margins

When informing your staff about up-selling, make sure to suggest items that have the best profit margins. This will ensure that you are increasing your profits to the maximum potential.  All this info is readily available to you  when using PointOS point of sale system at your restaurant. You can share all the right stats to will help your employees sell the items that have the best profit margins. For example, if a customer is deciding on which wine to purchase, the server can suggest the wine with a high profit margin and give a short description of why it’s a good wine to purchase.
Of course your staff should never say you are suggesting this wine because of the profit margins, as this would be a complete turn-off for customers. Make sure to give your staff informative descriptions of the flavor or enjoyment that the customer would get from purchasing your suggested menu item. Remember the item with the biggest profit margin isn’t always the most expensive item on the list.

2. Offer all the add-ons

When a customer orders a specific menu item, the server can offer a variety of extras that could accompany the meal that the customer has asked for. Offering extras to customers is a good way to increase the cost of the meal that the customer wishes to purchase.
For example, with a burger the server can suggest to add bacon or cheese, with meat dishes the server can suggest adding sauces or extra sides. When using PointOS your staff can easily add these extras to the bill.
A customer is more likely to add an extra when you dangle it in front of there face thereby increasing the amount that the customer is paying for their meal.  Make it personal and tell them how much you love the dish they are ordering will be so much better with the add-on. This is a simple way that servers can help to up-sell without sounding too annoying to the customer.

3. Be suggestive

If you are too general by simply asking if the customer wants drinks or dessert, it makes it way easier for the customer to refuse, therefore losing the restaurant the increased profits that come from up-selling.
Your waitstaff will be more effective by suggesting specific items when they are recommending courses that the customer has not already ordered. For example, when asking if the customer would like a drink order, the server should suggest a specific drink that they think the customer would like. You can create menu shapes with text captions that catch your staffs eye using your point of sale system. Highlighting these products will remind your staff to suggestively sell.

4. Stop pestering

There is a fine line between effective up-selling techniques and completely annoying the customers. Your staff need to know the difference because you do not want to annoy your customers to the point where it leaves a bad taste in there mouth and they leave you a horrible review and never want to come back to your restaurant.
Customers come to dinner to have personal time, they don’t want some stranger constantly bombarding them with suggestions and attempts to sell them something. Training your servers on how and when to make suggestions is so important.
Keep it natural-this is the most important part. By inserting up-selling techniques naturally into the conversations with customers they won’t even realize your trying to make more money out of them. Remember servers have the incentive to increase the bill and to be personable as this will increase there tip. It’s a win win.

5. Reward your staff

Everyone loves incentives. Give your staff an exciting contest atmosphere with a weekly prize for the highest achiever. Whoever keeps your upselling efforts front-and-center in the restaurant can win a prize whether its extra cash or a paid days leave.
If you are using a point of sale system you can easily track this information by pulling a report on whose bringing in the most profits from up-selling. Your staff will work harder knowing theres something in it for them.
Remind your staff your always watching, and show them appreciation by rewarding them for bringing your business more cash.
Its important to remember that up-selling should be part of your employee training. All servers should know the basics of up-selling, from offering top-shelf liquor to knowing how to give a mouthwatering description of menu items. Up-selling not only increases restaurant sales but it also makes for bigger tips for servers and it shows customers that your staff is knowledgeable as well as friendly.

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