Scam alert: restaurant upselling. Ever wonder why your restaurant bill is so much more than you expected? It’s probably because restaurant employees are trained to lure you to ordering more, and higher priced menu items, than you planned.
What used to be called “bait-and-switch” is now called upselling, and restaurants are not alone in the practice. Everybody from real estate agents to clothing boutiques do it.
Here are 20 restaurant upselling tactics from an industry publication, educating owners and managers how to upgrade the size of your check. Watch out for these tricks of the trade to save money the next time you eat out:
1. Train the servers.
Make sure all servers know how important upsetting is and how to do it. Go over new information with them regularly, and make sure they know how upselling can help your restaurant’s bottom line.
2. Determine which items to upsell.
Be sure your servers know which items they should focus on. For example, you might have a new dessert menu that you want to push, or focus on selling pricier drinks.
3. Determine what times to upsell.
Certain items should be mentioned at certain times. For example, your servers should mention appetizers before customers order their entrees.
4. Try to help.
Remember, you shouldn’t force customers to order things they don’t want…you should be convincing them that upselling items will make the dining experience even better.
5. Be knowledgeable.
Every server should know exactly what’s on your menu and be able to suggest what drinks, sides, etc. go with each entree.
6. Make it sound irresistible.
Part of upselling is convincing. Make whatever you’re upselling sound attractive and special, and your customers will be far more likely to order it
7. Don’t forget takeout.
Takeout options can be a great way to upsell. Maybe your customers are too full to eat dessert right now, but they can order it and bring it home for later.
8. Play off what customer wants.
Not every tactic will work on every customer. Treat each customer as an individual and focus on his/her specific needs and wants.
9. Don’t make it sound like a sales pitch.
Customers came to your restaurant to have a nice time with their friends and family, not to get a sales pitch. Try to sound natural and conversational.
10. Be specific.
“How about dessert?” probably won’t help. However, saying, “A slice of our delicious cheesecake would be a great end to your meal,” is a lot more enticing, and more likely to be a successful upsell.
11. Focus on hesitant customers.
If customers isn’t sure what to order, you’re more likely to be able to upsell. Are they taking a long time to look at the menu or asking a lot of questions? These are good customers to focus on.
12. Ask about larger size.
Let’s say your customers have the choice between ordering an 8 ounce or a 12 ounce steak. When they’re ordering, you might try asking, “And did you want the 12 ounce?” Of course, any customer who is set on ordering the 8 ounce is welcome to say so, but many times customers will agree with what you asked.
13. Know pairings.
If you want to be able to suggest a certain beer or wine, especially a higher-priced one, your servers need to be well-versed in pairings.
14. Try downselling.
This doesn’t sound like a profitable idea, but it can be. Let’s say your customer doesn’t want to order a more expensive cocktail. You might try offering a less expensive cocktail in its place, and even explaining why the less expensive cocktail might be better. This way, although you couldn’t sell the more expensive drink you initially wanted to sell, you’re still adding a few dollars to the bill.
15. Focus on more profitable items.
Your servers should know which items in your restaurant have a higher profit margin.For example, if a customer asks for a certain dessert, and you know you have another dessert with the same price but a higher profit margin, you might try suggesting it.
16. Keep it subtle.
You don’t want your customer to know you’re upselling, so be subtle. Don’t try to upsell for every course.
17. Focus on your service.
You can increase your likelihood of upselling if you provide great service. If you get orders wrong and barely meet your customers’ needs, are they going to want to order even more? Probably not.
18. Don’t be too pushy.
No customer likes to feel pressured, and if you’re too pushy, you might offend the customer and lose his or her business.
19. Keep it simple.
If a customer asks for recommendations, it’s more helpful to suggest a few things than many. For example, if a customer asks what beers would be good with their meal, they might be overwhelmed if you suggest every beer on your menu. Focus on a few.
20. Be patient.
Sometimes customers might have a lot of questions before they decide to check out dessert or get a more expensive entree. Be patient and answer every question they might have! Your great service will pay off.
These restaurant upselling tips are from Buzztime.