Boost your Restaurant Sales by Up-sell to Existing Customers

Your servers should be suggesting appetizers, desserts, and gift cards. Are they?  A lot of servers simply ask ”Can I start you out with an appetizer?”  This puts the server in a bad position if the customer says no as they can’t really ask again without running the risk of sounding pushy or becoming annoying. When it comes to suggestive selling you want to follow these 3 steps.

3 Simple Steps to Market your Appetizers

  1.  Inform – Tell the customer that you have appetizers when handing out the menu by saying something like “Be sure to check out our appetizer section, they are amazing!”
  2. Testify –  Before taking the order preferably before the customer makes up their mind, you want to testify by saying something like “you should try the Crab stuffed mushrooms with the lobster sauce they are my favorite!” Be descriptive when testifying but keep it short
  3.  The Close – Now is the time to ask for the sale “so can I start you out with an appetizer?”

The idea here is to get the customer to think about the appetizer without forcing them to make a quick decision.

Now that you sold an appetizer to your table, it’s time to think about dessert. Before the meal is brought to the table you want to put the idea of dessert in their minds while they are still hungry. We are going to use the three steps again but with a little twist.

3 Simple Steps to Market your Desserts

  1. Inform – Go back to the table to let them know their food will be ready soon or to see how the Appetizer is say something like “I was in the kitchen and they just pulled the apple pie out of the oven it smells so good”
  2. Testify/Close – When you return to check the table say something like “we have some of the best pastry chefs here, our desserts are delicious. “Can I bring you a piece of pie?” Now if the customer says yes, great!  If they say, no it’s ok, because we will take one last shot before they pay the bill.
  3. 2nd offer – When the customer asks for the check casually ask “So are you sure you don’t want that piece of that pie?  I can put it in a small box so you can take it with you for later.”

Up-selling in a restaurant is like any other type of sales.  If you train your servers properly to use suggestive selling they will market more appetizers, desserts, and gift cards. This leads to larger checks, higher tips for servers, and retention of those servers along with more revenue for your restaurant.  You don’t have to follow this pitch word for word, make it your own and work it into the conversation naturally. Also, people are more inclined to buy from people they like so remind your servers to be polite, friendly, and smile, smile, smile!