Restaurant up-selling is the process of encouraging or influencing a guest’s purchase by enticing them with high margin items and add-ons. With a little effort and strategizing on your part, it’s an easy way to increase average per check and get more out of every guest. The most cliche phrase in the business “would you like to add cheese”.
Your front line employees are perhaps the greatest advantage and talent for up-selling, they are your sales force. Almost every interaction they have with a guest is an opportunity to influence their purchase. Whether it’s a carryout or dine-in, nothing beats the power of suggestion. Up-selling should appear like a good service rather than a sales trap. Servers must be trained how to up-sell, yet there is a big difference between enhancing the guest’s experience by guiding them through a meal at your restaurant, and hustling up to add to the check. Servers must read the guests and understand the menu dynamic. When guests ask questions, servers give information and guidance about the menu.
In the restaurant industry, where guests actually rely on recommendations for trying new dishes, up-selling can work wonders if you talk to your staff about why up-selling is important and by providing them with proper coaching on how to do it gracefully by taking a consultative approach, like “Hot Chocolate goes really nicely with the brownie sundae,” or simply “would you like to share an onion rings” good for two. The way the server greets the guest is half way of forming a relationship by making eye contact, having an open body stance, smiling, being warm, friendly and engaging the guests. The