Why Upselling Is Important for the Guest Experience

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

Too many servers and bartenders, quite frankly, are afraid of upselling. They don’t want to come across as pushy or as if they are trying to gouge the guest. It’s easy to understand why they feel this way since nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold to.

When servers think or feel this way it’s because they just don’t get it. Because here’s the thing. When upselling is done right, it doesn’t feel like a sales experience. The best salespeople are satisfying a need the customer has, not jamming something down their throat. So we as owners and managers have to teach them the “art of upselling” and why it’s so important to your restaurant’s success.

Attacking servers’ attitudes toward upselling

The best way to change the mindset that upselling is a negative thing is to address the attitude toward the process and explain the nature of our business. We are in the hospitality business. Our goal is to give each guest the best experience possible. An experience is about the food, the atmosphere and the service. And they are all tied together.

Teach your service staff that by offering the ability for a guest to upgrade their vodka martini from rotgut well vodka to a premium vodka makes the drink better. You’ll actually improve the guest’s experience. By suggesting to a guest that they order your best item on the menu, even though it may be your most expensive entrée, will almost guarantee they’ll love their meal. And when they love their meal, no matter what they paid for it, they are satisfied customers.

Upselling makes you more money

Through the art of upselling you can affect both your top-line sales and bottom-line efficiencies.

The top line is twofold. First it can have a direct impact on increasing your sales. There are only three ways you can increase sales:

1) Bring in new customers (the most expensive form of marketing)

2) Get your customers to spend more when they visit

3) Get your customers to visit more often

When upselling is done correctly you can easily increase what customers spend each visit, all while ensuring they have a great experience and want to come back, again and again. And when done properly, upselling is a win for the service staff too because they ultimately improve their tip income.

The bottom-line effect comes from selling the items that make your restaurant more money and/or reduce your food or beverage costs. To do this you have to have accurate recipe costing cards and do a routine analysis of your menu mix.

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