How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Upselling

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, service, Training

When you focus too much on the process of upselling, you can actually hurt the guest’s dining experience. You’ll want to avoid the following:

  • Don’t bombard your guests with unnecessary information or too many choices early in the selling phase. Build rapport, then engage and inform.
  • Avoid blanket phrases like: “Everything is good here!” or “Take a look at the menu and I’ll be back.” This shows lack of knowledge and preparation.
  • NO DIRTY MENUS! Menus are sales tools and dirty ones are a turnoff.
  • Keep personal preferences to yourself, you might not want dessert after a big meal, but your guests might. 

When upselling spirits

Upselling spirits is a little different than food. For one reason, 65 percent of people who are dining in your restaurant have no idea what to order. Here are some things you want staff to try when upselling spirits:

  • Gauge the mood. If they are looking at a drink list or wine list, it shows they have interest.
  • “Are you in the mood for something fun?” This opens their minds to an upsell.
  • “I’ll have a vodka and tonic.” This begs for an upsell. Ask, “What’s your preference?” Then suggest brands.
  • On reorders say, “If you liked brand X then you may want to try brand Y; it has a smoother finish.”
  • If a guest specifies a $30 bottle of wine, suggest three with one under that price. Explain the qualities and what food they go with.
  • Prevent sticker shock with phrases like, “It costs a little more” or “Our premium scotch.”

It worked! Now what?

Your guest has taken your recommendation. Now what? Make sure they feel good about their order. Use phrases like, “Great choice,” “We get a lot of compliments on that,” “That’s our most popular beer,” or “Oh! That goes great with a XYZ Chardonnay that we are featuring by the glass.”

Upselling your guests the right way ensures they come back again and again because they had the best dining experience at your restaurant. You will increase your sales and profitability easily and quickly. And you will keep better staff for much longer because they are making more money.

To learn how to set the stage for upselling, read this article.

Are your servers scared to upsell?

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