Upselling and cross-selling are both business savvy concepts. They help your restaurant make more money. Some of your employees may initially have an issue with this sales technique, because they feel it's dishonest or preying upon consumers; however, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Although upselling and cross-selling ultimately do reap monetary rewards for your restaurant, they also help your customer walk away more satisfied. The products you're upselling should be worth the additional money and any menu items you're cross-selling should enhance their dining experience. An upgrade is an upgrade even if it costs more. Having these sorts of offers could be the difference between a good review on Yelp, and an outstanding review. Here are four upselling techniques in restaurants that should have you raking in money on your POS system.
Have a "sister" entree to suggest an upgrade.
No doubt everything on your menu tastes delicious, but some items are more costly due to the quality of the ingredients and/or the time and care your chef puts into creating the dish. Those are usually your most delicious offerings, so it makes sense to try to promote them. In order to steer your customer's attention to the more impressive and expensive item, decide which dishes on your menu are similar. If someone orders that dish and seems like they might be receptive to a new item recommendation, have your waitstaff promote the "sister" entrée.
You want every guest experience to be flawless, so make sure your restaurant server is properly trained to handle making this suggestion. The suggestion should never sound like a sales pitch, although that's technically what it is. Have your server practice asking about the upgrade as a simple question. "I see you're interested in the fettucini alfredo. The fettucini with steak is very similar and one of my favorites. Would you be interested in trying that instead?"
If it feels like a suggestion or recommendation that's in the guest's best interest that's a great way to not seem pushy. A personal recommendation from someone on the house staff will seem genuine and maybe even be appreciated if they really love their meal.
As the restaurant owner, it's your job to make sure your waitstaff is paying close attention to the temperature of the party they're waiting on. If something feels tense or a customer is coming off as closed-minded, this upselling strategy isn't going to work and could rub them the wrong way if it comes off as too “salesy.” Also, if the ticket size of the bill is already going to be large, make sure your waiter strategizes about who they're going to try this upselling tip on in the party. Perhaps it's best to upsell the one paying for everything, so no one gets their nose out of joint about the overall cost.
Offer a way to take a memory home.
It doesn't really matter where your restaurant business is located. People go out to eat to celebrate momentous occasions. Whether it's a birthday, a new job, or an anniversary; customers want to capture and cherish the moment. An effective way to capitalize on this use of the restaurant industry is to offer them a way to bring their experience of excellent customer service and celebration home with them. Their food won't last forever, memories will fade, but the additional sale of a souvenir will last forever.
The sale of an additional item will give your customers a way to remember the night and your restaurant. When this souvenir mug becomes their favorite beer glass, it'll act as a calling card. They're sure to return or suggest your establishment when friends or family are in the area. You can be an upscale sushi restaurant or a diner and use this upselling technique in your restaurant. You can even offer a regular or larger size that they can sip their cocktail or milkshake from, allowing them to choose how much they want to pay for this extra item. Places like Disney World utilize this technique and are powerhouses. The bottom line is that thinking more like a salesperson can get you the extra revenue you want and need.
Include add-ons where you can.
Find the places where your menu items could benefit from add ons. A safe bet is including add ons, like protein, with pasta and salads. You could even count special seasoning or dips as add ons with fries. Many people will want a protein with their meal, especially if they're being health conscious and ordering a salad. By separating proteins from dishes on your menu, you'll be utilizing an effecting upselling tip and making vegetarians everywhere a little happier.
Think of proteins as a complimentary item to meals that aren't necessary for the main experience. If you implement this idea, don't forget to change the menu on your online ordering system as well. Make sure it's clearly written out that these aren't included anymore, so you don't have any disgruntled long-time customers.
Cross-sell with an additional drink order.
Who doesn't want the best possible restaurant experience? When people come to eat in your dining room, they expect that you and your team are the experts. You can curate a whole meal suggestion by including wine pairings, appetizer suggestions, and dessert pairings to go with your customer's entree of choosing. By turning it into an experience, your guests will be more likely to spend extra money on items, like a bottle of wine, that are going to enhance their choices.
Most people don't know what kind of wine to pair with the sauce or garnish that they'll be consuming, but they do know that it will make a difference if they want a cohesive meal. That's why people order specials — they trust your taste better than their own. On your dessert menu, suggest a port wine to bring out the flavor of the chocolate mousse or a glass of wine to go with their appetizer. If they're pleased enough, you might even see an increase in their tip.