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4 Tips for Upselling in Restaurants

November 19, 2020

Head of Hospitality

Head of Hospitality

Article Overview

10min read

Restaurant upselling is the art of influencing and gently persuading your guest to purchase a more expensive dish or add add-ons to the dish they ordered. There is a certain flair to it; push too hard and you are likely to put off customers from visiting in the future. The good news is that it is not too difficult to perfect. With a little tweak to your restaurant marketing plan and constant efforts, you too can increase the average cost of the bill and maximize revenue.

Train Employees

The first lesson you should ingrain in your employees is the importance of upselling and how to successfully master it. Regularly revise what you’ve told them and ensure they have all the information they need including nutritional data, prices, etc.

Additionally, make sure your servers know the main dishes they must try to focus on. For example, if you have a new dessert menu or promotion in place, you would want your employees to know that in advance. This way, your employees will be ready with recommendations and informed opinions on beverage pairings and more if the need arises.  

Positioning Matters 

If verbal upselling sounds too sale-say to you, this may be a better option. The careful positioning of text and images by an expert menu design company can do a great job of convincing customers if done well. Positioning dishes with better margins next to add-ons is known to naturally convince customers to purchase complementary dishes.

positioning matters

Take, for example, a tomato soup – positioning it next to a steak dish or cheese sandwich has a good chance of influencing a customer to purchase both. This is the same reason that the Mcdonald’s burger is always shown next to a side of fries. 

Know The Customer

Upselling doesn’t work with everyone – reading the customer and table should give you an idea of whether to try it or not. If the customer is enjoying a meal leisurely and does not seem in a hurry to leave, suggest a coffee or dessert, both well suited for light chatter.

know the customer

On the other hand, if the customer seems in a hurry or in a bad mood, suggesting an additional dish may not be the right move. After a bit of practice, it becomes easy to spot the right customer for upselling. As repeatedly mentioned, upselling should not be a pushy tactic – your employees should aim to be a connoisseur and not a salesperson. 

Add Online Ordering

Ignoring online ordering means you miss out on many other opportunities for upselling. Especially in the current pandemic era where most customers are not interested in dining, online ordering ensures they can still grab their favorite bite from your restaurant. 

Online ordering offers a range of opportunities for upselling. Mobile menus can easily suggest related items that customers can add at a single tap and the lack of a server lets them deliberate over the order however long they want. 

Upselling is a highly recommended strategy for restaurants today but as described above, it does not have to negatively affect the overall dining experience. By utilizing the strategies listed above, you are bound to see your revenue increase.

Head of Hospitality

Angela Soudi is a visionary writer with 20+ years of experience in Sales and Marketing across Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. She is highly invested in actively contributing articles to pioneering hospitality platforms and websites.

Head of Hospitality
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