6 Upselling Tips That Won’t Turn off Guests
Upselling is an important part of any bar or restaurant’s marketing and sales strategy and an obvious way to boost revenue. However, there’s a delicate balance between offering helpful suggestions to your customers and becoming an annoyance.
Every bar and restaurant strives to ensure its guests have the most enjoyable and comfortable dining experience possible, and therefore, the last thing service staff should do is overly push them to order extra things they may not want. But, on the other hand, many times customers are very receptive to or even appreciative of a server, bartender, etc. who goes the extra mile to suggest additional menu items they may not have thought to order on their own.
So how should your bar or restaurant strike the right balance between too much upselling and not upselling enough?
Know the customer:
Your service staff should take the time to personally know their customers, especially loyal ones. To do so, train them to ask certain questions that will allow them to better understand their customers’ personal preferences and then offer particular menu suggestions, accordingly.
Make the upsell enticing:
When upselling, customers will only be excited about their server’s suggestions if they are. To help service staff be more convincing upsellers, during your regular staff meetings try slotting out time for mock scenarios, whereby service staff can test and fine-tune their upselling techniques with each other. Another great way to do this is by regularly featuring different menu items with visual photos on your bar or restaurant’s Facebook page.
Implement useful technology tools:
More and more bars and restaurants are now offering their guests technology tools to enhance their dining experience. For example, Stéphane’s, an upscale restaurant in Boca Raton recently launched iPad menus with a wine pairing app, featuring a virtual Sommelier who educates them tableside about its extensive wine list.
Look for cues from customers:
Typically customers will let their server know, even if subtly, how they are feeling throughout the dining experience. By asking basic questions, such as: “Do you know about our specials this evening?” or “Can I suggest a wonderful wine choice for your entrée?” will let the server know whether or not their guests are receptive to additional menu suggestions.
Don’t close out the check too early:
A common mistake servers make is that they close out the guest check too early. Doing this not only hinders their ability to upsell but even may be deemed offensive to some guests. Servers should never assume that their guests aren’t interested in dessert or another round of drinks until they have asked.
Make sure service staff is intimately knowledgeable about the menu at all times:
Every member of your staff must know your menu inside and out to be effective upsellers. This includes making sure they have an opportunity to try different food/drink items as well as briefing them prior to their service about any changes or specials that have been added to the menu. Knowledgeable staff and stellar server interaction is always a must.
With these basic tips and techniques, you can ensure that upselling provides your bar or restaurant with a nice additional revenue flow, without compromising the customer experience.