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The Art of Upselling

Upselling simply defined is the practice of suggesting certain menu items with the goal of getting the guest to spend more money. This tactic is a valuable marketing strategy in any type of restaurant, but must be trained and practiced in order to be effective. Restaurant servers, cashiers and kitchen staff who have contact with the customer should know appropriate and effective ways to upsell menu items. Workers can upsell whether they work in a quick-service restaurant or an upscale lounge. We have compiled some simple methods to help you implement in your restaurant.

Use Embellished Descriptions: Describe the ingredients, cooking process or presentation of a dish as a means to entice customers and convince them to buy it. For example, suggest an appetizer by explaining the ingredients and preparation with vidid language.
Wine Pairing: Wine can provide an excellent complement to a meal. Pairing a specific wine is a great way to upsell your customers. This requires training, experience and extensive knowledge of both the food and wine menus. It is important to ensure that the wine being offered is going to enhance the customer’s experience.
Desserts: Present dessert menus after lunch or dinner. Utilize a dessert tray to show guests how tasty the desserts look. Do not forget to offer low calorie dessert options, which may sway diners who are trying to watch their figures. Also suggest coffee or tea.
Teaching the Art of Upselling to Employees
Upselling does not always come naturally. Make upselling part of the training process by offering tips and suggestions to restaurant workers and servers at the start of every shift, as well as during initial training sessions. Provide opportunities for servers to taste menu items, including daily specials. Make menu knowledge a priority, so servers can speak intelligently about the preparation and quality of food. Role-play with servers to demonstrate how to ask questions or offer more items. Hold contests and offer incentives for servers who sell the most dessert or daily special, giving food or gift cards as prizes.


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