why up-selling is good
69 tips for better food and beverage profit
101 more tips for better food and beverage profit


    What’s a good way to increase profit on every cover in your restaurant? Careful and sensitive up-selling.

    Many in the hospitality industry rave about up-selling, but few put a dollar figure to it. Let me see if I can give you an example to help to maximize your profit. Done well, up-selling has a positive impact on your bottom line.

    To highlight what I am talking about, look at this example. Let’s imagine that on average, your restaurant serves 75 dinners every night of the week. That makes 525 covers per week. Let’s also imagine that your well-trained employees, your top performers, start up-selling 75% of the time each week. That would translate to about 394 covers each week. Let’s further estimate that these servers are really good and manage to increase the sales on each of these covers by $2.50. That would mean an additional $985.00 in revenue per week, or $51,220.00 in a year! Even if your staff were able to up-sell $1.25 per cover, it would still mean an extra $493.00 a week or $25,610.00 a year for your establishment.

    The power of up-selling is so huge, yet few include it in their orientation and employee training sessions. It’s almost as if they don’t need the extra sales!

    Benchmark it today, get an average for each guest check or cover, create a simple strategy to start up-selling and measure your average cover again in 4 to 6 weeks: how much has it increased?

    It’s a winning strategy all around. Your sales increase for little expense, the customers have an opportunity to have a more complete experience and maybe try something new (I’m thinking of perceived value here!) and servers’ tips increase.

    Some tips for up-selling and suggestive selling:

    • Servers need to be authentic and enthusiastic when dealing with restaurant guests. If they say a dish or beverage is their favorite, it really should be and they should know exactly why it’s their favorite! Remember … answer the question; why?
    • Suggest something a little unusual: people like to try new things from a menu, something they wouldn’t normally have at home or in another restaurant.
    • Learn to ask questions; get to know the guests’ dinning patterns. Are guests in a hurry and only have time for a quick bite and a drink before a movie, or are they looking for a longer, more relaxed experience? This information will help guide the pattern of service and where up-selling may be possible and appropriate.
    • Offer alternatives: ‘Would you like one of our premium brand vodkas in your vodka and tonic?’ or ‘Our home-made chocolate cheesecake is delicious with a dollop of fresh whip cream …’ Using describing words where possible helps to paint mental pictures of your menu items for your guests and stir their interest.
    • As with any marketing efforts, always ask for the sale. After a server makes a suggestion from the menu, they should ask the guest if they would like to try it. Develop a selling attitude without coming across as such means that you have your guests’ best interests at heart by offering alternatives or the chance to try something new and exciting from your menu.

    Finally, don’t forget to have some fun with up-selling and track the results!