Restaurant Sales Upselling Techniques

Opportunities for up selling come along all the time in your restaurant or cafe and unless you and your staff take advantage of them you are leaving money on the table so to speak. Today I wanted to give you some information on how to capitalize on these opportunities to make you more sales, combined with having the right restaurant management tools will get you the results you require.



There are basically three areas we can outline to up sell to a customer.

1. Set opportunities

2. Up-sell

3. Spontaneity (monitoring customers' needs)


A Set Opportunity means that there are set times that are suitable to suggestive selling, from when the customer enters the restaurant to when they leave.

There are three'-such Set Opportunities:

1. When the customer is initially taken to the table

2. When the order is taken

3. When dessert is ordered


When taking the customer to the table it is a good opportunity to let them know about drinks. Saying something like "Would you like a wine, cocktail or soft drink while you think about your order?" is a good way to have them make a decision as to what drink they may like.


When the order is taken, many waitpersons will make the mistake of asking a `closed' question like, would you like an entree? A better way is to `assume' the sale. Try something like "which entree would you like to try sir/ma'am?" If an entree is declined, proceed to the next opportunity, which is asking which main meal they would like, perhaps suggesting a favourite. Upon the customer choosing, it provides another opportunity to `upsell' to say a larger serve or a side order etc.


Asking for the dessert order can sometimes produce and obstacle for the unwary waitperson. Many customers will say no because they have just finished eating and feel a little full. However, the astute waitperson will see an opportunity. By `seductively' describing what desserts are available or describing `their' favourite, they can sometimes entice the customer to have a dessert.

Appearing' to accept the customer's `no' decision can create another opportunity. By suggesting that they bring the dessert menu back `later' will give the customer a chance to have the main meal settle and perhaps when they are approached later, they may be able to be enticed.


Probably the most famous up selling phrase is "would you like fries with that?" Many people nowadays actually refer to up selling by that phrase. So use it to your advantage - because it works!

As a general rule, when a customer orders one thing, ask if they would like another `thing'. It is a good idea to have set `up sell' items. Again, the most famous is fries with a hamburger.

After the meal for example, referring back to the dessert opportunity, if the `follow up' dessert offer is still declined, then offer after-dinner drinks.


A different (indeed opposite) approach to up selling is down selling. As the name suggests, it's a matter of suggesting a higher priced and/or quality product in the beginning and if the suggestion is not heeded they can then suggest a `down market' or less expensive item. This can be particularly effective when the customer is a little indecisive.


Similar to up selling and down selling, cross selling is about suggesting something of similar value but of a different range but perhaps with a better margin. For example, if your client managed to buy a quantity of say Budwieser for a special price, then they might have their team begin to `Cross Sell' it in place of the Molsen Dry that they had bought at regular price.


A spontaneous suggestion, as the name suggests, is when the suggestion is made from an impromptu situation.

There are many, many opportunities that may exist, far too many to list, however, an example of a spontaneous suggestive sell, might be a `top up' on a half full wine glass. Good bar persons are particularly adept at this. They assume the sale! Suffice to say, that Spontaneous Suggestive Selling will improve as product knowledge, confidence and team motivation improves.

There are a number of practical things that can be done when used alongside the various techniques covered in the previous sections.

Restaurant Sales Upselling Techniques

The Restaurant Management Center has a large selection of sales and marketing tools available designed specifically for restaurants and cafes. Restaurant Management Tools.

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