December 6, 2022
Alipio Umiten IV

Upselling Techniques In Restaurants: 24 Powerful Strategies

Upselling techniques in restaurants are essential to your success as a business owner. By offering additional food or drinks to customers, you can increase your profits and improve customer satisfaction levels simultaneously.

But what are the best techniques for upselling in a restaurant setting? And how can you ensure you’re using them to their fullest potential?

Keep reading to learn 24 powerful upselling techniques to help you take your restaurant business to the next level!

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Upselling Techniques In Restaurants

There are many different upselling techniques in restaurants; some are more subtle than others. Here are 24 of the most powerful upselling techniques that you can use to increase your sales and revenue:

  1. Avoid Asking the Obvious

One of the most important strategies for upselling in restaurants is to refrain from asking obvious and predictable questions. This means avoiding questions such as “Would you like to see the menu?” or “Would you like a drink?” Instead, use more creative questions and point out specific menu items that will pair perfectly with the customer’s order.

  1. Allow Staff to Sample the Specials

Another effective technique is to allow staff to try the specials on offer. Making sure they become familiar with any new dishes or drinks being offered can help them introduce these items confidently and make informed recommendations.

  1. Offer Sweet Treats On the Go

Providing to-go desserts is an effective way to encourage customers to purchase something sweet after their meal. Whether you offer single servings in attractive packaging, pre-packaged cakes or pies, or larger sizes for sharing – your guests can indulge at home and enjoy the memories of their dining experience with you.

Offering various options will ensure everyone finds something they love and leave on a sweet note!

  1. Suggest Wine Pairings

Customers who know the basics of wine pairing can be great at upselling, but for those customers who are not as knowledgeable, having a sommelier or wine specialist on hand to suggest appropriate pairings can be very useful. This gives customers more options when selecting wines and allows them to explore different styles and varieties they may not have considered before. Furthermore, it increases the chances of selling more expensive bottles with a higher markup.

  1. Get Personal

Refraining from repeating the same rehearsed line or generic recommendations when upselling is crucial. Customers want to be treated as individuals and know that the wait staff or servers are genuinely interested in helping them make the best decisions regarding their orders. Waiters should chat with customers and ask questions about what they are looking for to suggest items that will truly satisfy their cravings.

  1. Learn to Read the Guest

Before offering any upsells, it’s paramount for servers to gain an understanding of the guest’s needs. Are they a couple looking for a romantic evening out? Is it a family with kids who are more likely to prefer kid-friendly dishes? A server should take the time to learn about the customers and build rapport before pushing additional products. This will make them feel welcome and show that their preferences and opinions matter.

  1. Be Sincere

It is important to remember that upselling should feel like something other than an aggressive sales pitch. Being too pushy may make customers uncomfortable and dissuade them from taking your suggested items.

Make sure your guests feel like you have their best interests at heart when making suggestions. If they can tell that you are genuinely trying to improve their experience, they’ll be more amenable to your recommendations.

  1. Create a Sense of Increased Value

Restaurants can use upselling techniques to create a sense of higher value for their customers. This could include mentioning the freshness or quality of ingredients, highlighting special features of particular dishes, or suggesting add-ons and sides that may enhance the meal experience.

Offering specials, restaurant discounts, and happy hour deals can also convince customers to upgrade their orders. By creating an atmosphere where customers feel they are getting a good deal while at the same time feeling like they are enjoying a high-quality meal, restaurants will be able to maximize profits through upselling.

  1. Congratulate Your Team On a Job Well Done

Rewarding and praising your team’s success when upselling is important. Holding staff meetings that focus on successful sales strategies or giving rewards for outstanding performance can help motivate them to continue offering higher-value items.

  1. Know Which Menu Items Have High-Profit Margins

Knowing which menu items have the highest profit margins is essential if you want to be successful at upselling in restaurants. High-margin items should always be front and center when suggesting menu items, as these are the items that will provide your restaurant with the most revenue.

  1. Offer Extras

When it comes to extras, offering them can significantly increase a customer’s total spend in one sitting. From sauces and sides to additional drinks and desserts, giving customers options allows them to customize their meals while increasing their bills simultaneously. This is especially true when selling alcoholic beverages; suggest upgrading beer or wine to something more premium to drive-up sales.

  1. Know What Items to Upsell at What Times

It’s important to know which items to upsell at different times of the day. For example, recommending breakfast dishes and coffee during breakfast hours is a great way to increase sales, while afternoons may be best spent pushing lunch specials or lighter menu items. Understanding when customers are more likely to purchase certain items can help maximize profits and ensure that your restaurant is successful in its upselling efforts.

  1. Mention Takeout Options

Takeout is becoming increasingly popular, and customers may not know that the restaurant offers it. Have your waitstaff casually mention take-home options when taking orders—it will remind customers that they can enjoy their meal at home.

  1. Suggest Other Courses that the Customer Hasn’t Ordered

Customers may not be aware of what other menu items are available—and once they’ve committed to one dish, they will unlikely change their order halfway through. To prevent this, have your staff suggest interesting alternatives before customers decide on their main course or drinks.

  1. Train Servers Regularly

Regular training of restaurant servers is vital for the success of an upselling program. Servers should be trained to suggest additional items or upgrades to customers politely and helpfully.

A server training manual can provide detailed information about the appropriate items, as well as tips on how to communicate the suggestions effectively.

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  1. Utilize The Power of Positioning

Positioning your higher-priced items near the top of the menu or in a prominent part of the restaurant can influence customers to choose them since they’ll see them first. Additionally, using descriptive language such as “house special” or “chef’s choice” can create an air of exclusivity about certain dishes and make them more appealing.

Placing complementary items next to or below other menu items that customers are likely to purchase can also be a great way to get their attention and increase sales. For instance, positioning a glass of wine or an extra side dish next to the main course can encourage customers to add it as part of their meal. Utilizing this type of placement in your menu will draw more attention to the items you’re hoping customers will buy.

  1. Introduce Changes to the Menu Based On Upcoming Festivals

Restaurants can take advantage of upcoming festivals and holidays to introduce changes in their menu by introducing special dishes based on the festival or holiday. This is an effective way of upselling as it will tempt customers to try something new and unique, which often results in higher sales.

Additionally, restaurants can capitalize on seasonal ingredients and create a seasonal menu that offers specialized items throughout the year. By capitalizing on the seasonality of food, restaurants have a greater opportunity to enhance their offerings and encourage customers to take advantage of the best flavors available during each season. This upselling technique allows restaurants to genuinely offer more for their guests while ensuring they stay savvy with food trends and current restaurant industry norms.

  1. Employ Marketing to Upsell

Restaurants can employ various marketing strategies to promote their upselling services. For example, offering discounts on certain items or running promotional campaigns via social media and other advertising platforms can effectively drive upsell sales.

Special events such as tasting sessions, cooking classes, or wine-pairing dinners are also great ways to get customers interested in trying new menu items they may not have otherwise considered ordering.

  1. Display Menu Specials

Menu specials are an effective way to upsell in restaurants. Displaying the specials prominently on every table gives customers more reason to spend without feeling like they are overspending.

Place colorful signs near each table that list your most expensive dishes so guests can browse through them and decide what they want to order. This is especially useful during busy hours as it helps speed up the ordering process.

Additionally, include pictures or descriptions of the dish to represent what customers can expect when they order it visually.

  1. Give Free Samples to Upsell

Offering free dish samples can be an effective upselling technique in restaurants. By providing customers with a preview of the dish, you can entice them to purchase the full-sized version. Additionally, this method is relatively low cost, as it only requires giving away small portions of food. Customers are more likely to buy something they’ve already tasted and enjoyed.

  1. Use Descriptive Language

Use descriptive and alluring words to describe the dish’s ingredients, flavors, and presentation. For example, instead of just saying “steak” on the menu, describe it as a “tender, and juicy grass-fed steak served with roasted potatoes.” Describing dishes in detail helps customers visualize the meal, making them more likely to order it.

  1. Use the 25% Rule

To make sure your upselling techniques don’t turn off customers, it’s important to adhere to the 25% rule. This means that you should avoid pushing an item that is 25% more expensive than the one being originally considered.

For example, if a customer is looking at a burger for $10, you wouldn’t want to suggest one that’s $15 or higher. Instead, suggest a side dish or additional topping for a few extra dollars. This way, your customers won’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of and will be more likely to accept your suggestion.

  1. Utilize Technology for Restaurant Upselling

Upselling techniques in restaurants can be incredibly effective when restaurant owners take advantage of the latest restaurant technology. For example, restaurants should consider investing in a mobile POS system with menu apps and ordering capabilities. This allows servers to make upsell suggestions on menu items as they enter orders into the POS system, so that customers can see these suggestions immediately.

This type of restaurant POS system also allows targeted upsells tailored to individual customers based on data collected from previous visits.

Restaurants may also consider using customer loyalty programs that offer discounts or rewards for returning customers who purchase the featured item or the chain restaurant’s signature dish. This helps encourage repeat business and encourages customers to upgrade their order if they know they will receive something in return.

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  1. Upsell Online Orders

Restaurants can also upsell their customers when taking online orders. For example, a restaurant could suggest adding a side dish to an order or offering a discount if the customer chooses to add another entree.

An upselling strategy tailored explicitly for online ordering platforms would give restaurants the opportunity to increase their average ticket size and revenue. Additionally, this upselling strategy would be less intrusive for customers than in-person techniques since it does not involve any direct interaction between the customer and the server.

Overall, upselling in restaurants is an important way to increase sales and profits. By using the techniques above, managers and staff can help to create a more enjoyable experience for their guests while maximizing the value of each sale. With practice, these techniques will become second nature and lead to even greater success in the future.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Upselling Techniques In Restaurants

In order to increase profits, many restaurants use upselling techniques on their customers. Upselling is when a customer is offered a more expensive item than the one they initially asked for. While this can be an effective way to make more money, it can also lead to customer dissatisfaction if done wrong.

In this section, we will explore some of the most commonly asked questions about upselling techniques in restaurants. Read on!

What Is Successful Upselling?

Successful upselling is when a salesperson can convince customers to purchase additional items or services beyond what they initially intended. This technique leverages the customer’s existing interest in the product and capitalizes on the opportunity to increase the total value of their order.

Successful upselling requires understanding customer needs and an effective sales strategy. Customers appreciate being presented with meaningful product choices that meet their needs at a reasonable price. It’s important to focus on the value of your offering rather than on price discounts.

To be successful with upselling, it’s essential to know how to identify opportunities for upsells, when and how to suggest them, and how many suggestions should be made during any given transaction. Additionally, it’s important to understand the customer purchasing process and the products and services that are most likely to be successful upsells.

What Are the 4 P’s of Sales?

The 4 P’s of Sales, also known as the marketing mix, are the four key components used to market products and services effectively.

  1. Product refers to the physical item or service offered by a company.
  2. Price focuses on setting the right price for these items or services based on customer demand and market dynamics.
  3. Place is about making sure that products and services are available in the right locations at the right times.
  4. Promotion involves finding creative ways to get customers aware of what you offer and creating a positive brand image through marketing campaigns and advertising efforts.

By taking advantage of all four elements of the marketing mix, businesses can increase their chances of success in gaining new customers and building strong relationships with existing ones.

What Is the Most Important Part of Upselling?

The most important part of upselling in restaurants is building customer relationships and trust. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to be receptive to suggestions from their server or bartender on higher-priced items.

Customers should always feel that the restaurant staff respects their preferences and understands what they want. Restaurant employees should strive to create a positive atmosphere by providing excellent service and attentiveness so that customers can develop a positive relationship with them and trust their recommendations.

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