As restaurant owners and operators, you are masters of the culinary arts; experts in providing the perfect dining experience. However, especially in recent years, you must also be masters of sales.

The atmosphere, the service, the food – these are all at the center of attention in a restaurant, and rightfully so. Subtly beneath the surface is the process of upselling. Upselling, or using sales techniques, marketing, and technology to increase average check, is something that every restaurant has done over time. But the pandemic has ushered in change more rapidly than we could have imagined, and the importance of using sound upselling techniques has increased along with technological advancements. In this guide, we’ll explore 4 timely upselling strategies that can help pump up the jam on your sales numbers.

Tap into Training

Any upselling tactics should be specific to your market and your brand, but regardless, your staff is going to be the tip of the spear. They need comprehensive, yet easily digestible training to be armed with menu, dish, and ingredient knowledge, appropriate point-of-sale (POS) tech support, and service skills to guide guests in the right direction.

Sales is not easy for everyone, so the best way to create buy-in from your staff is through incentives. First off – let them try all your food and drinks! Not only is it a fun bonding experience, having an intimate knowledge of the menu will make it easier to influence customers. Hype up your teams’ sales successes with public praise, celebratory huddles, and award recognition. Offer them prizes for hitting sales goals, such as bonuses or special days off. With a happy and passionate team, much of the upselling work has already been accomplished.

Make a Connection

Your guests can smell a sales pitch a mile away, so it’s important for staff to be genuine, offering value to the customer in a way that feels collaborative. Recommendations should flow from house specialties (something they can’t get anywhere else) and personal experiences. The fact that your team loves what you’re selling goes a long way!

Help staff understand that they are sharing in the experience with the guest, and gently connecting and reading guest cues is crucial. This includes sensing when customers are seeking more interaction and guidance, or less. The makeup of the party can guide servers toward the best sales options as well; for example, larger groups, families, and couples are often inclined to order apps, but the drink orders might run the gamut.

A Little D&D Goes a Long Way

Drinks and desserts are more popular and versatile than ever, so the upsell opportunities are especially high. Tap into both the local trend and adventurous global flavors for inspiration. And don’t skimp on samples! Free wine and beverage samples, even a sneak-peek of a shareable or app, can provide a touch of exemplary service that, more often than not, leads to orders and add-ons. Plus, it helps foster that important connection with guests, turning them into regulars and advocates for your restaurant.

Continue to take advantage of relaxed carryout rules, depending on your location. After a filling meal, guests may not be in the mood for dessert, but the concept of a sweet treat later that night at home is appealing. Or maybe they love the idea of sipping a boozy to-go house cocktail on their couch while they stream Hulu. To-go services are only ramping up, so remember that upselling applies whether customers are in your dining room or not.

Let’s Get Tactical

Technology has cleared the way to reach guests on any platform. Servers no longer have to rely simply on their wits and charm to understand what customers might be craving. Customer data is readily available and absolutely essential moving forward. If a regular frequently orders a seafood dish, the server can use the data to gently persuade them to consider a new seafood special or a different top performer. If a couple regularly orders wine, the analytics can help spur the server to mention new wine specials. This is a game-changer, even if you don’t feel like you have a firm grasp on how to compile the numbers.

For that, Performance has teamed up with the industry’s brightest tech stars. Our One Source partners are innovative experts in ordering optimization, customer engagement, and online marketing. Menuetta, for example, is a fully integrated platform that manages menu construction and design, SEO, and online ordering. FanCONNECT makes it easy to build a customer database, boosting return business and cash flow with unique loyalty platforms. OpenMenu is a cost-free service that can power your entire online presence, from website to social media, while helping you get a better handle on your guests. And the Touch Bistro all-in-one POS and restaurant management system can provide table-side technology that directly helps staff deploy upsell strategies. If you are behind the sticks with tech support, One Source can help you get up to speed.

As you pour your heart into your business, it’s important to utilize all the tools at your disposal. These strategies can generate much-needed sales success. When it comes to upselling – it’s all upside.

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