We have talked about ways to boost profits, but If you want to try a more direct approach, let’s talk about upselling. Upselling is having your waitstaff inform the customer of more expensive menu items or getting them to add additional items to their current order. You have probably experienced a server asking you as soon as you sit down if they can get you a margarita or some other specialty drink. These are obviously more expensive than water or tea, so they want to get you thinking about these drinks in hopes that you order one. So how do you get your staff on board with upselling more than just drinks? We will cover a few tactics that will help your staff become better upsellers and in turn begin boosting profits.
What can your servers upsell?
- Soups and salads
- Higher priced menu items
- New promotional items
You want your employees to feel comfortable and confident in upselling. A great way to do this is through training. This can be part of the onboarding process, where you explain in detail the importance of upselling and give them examples of how it can be done. Encourage your employees to try different meals so they can give honest feedback when a customer asks about a dish. Allow them to try some of the pricier items and let them pick a favorite, so when customers ask they will have an answer. Train your staff to be knowledgeable of the menu, so when they are talking to customers, they will be more natural and informative instead of sounding like a rehearsed sales pitch.
Fast food restaurants are not exempt from upselling. Many fast food restaurants will ask if customers want to upsize their meal or add-on one of their new promotional items to their order.
Another way to help employees remember to upsell, in addition to training, is utilizing technology. POS Systems can prompt servers to ask questions about adding certain sides or drinks as they take orders. This can be especially helpful for new employees who are already trying to juggle so many new procedures.
If you are confident that you can train your staff, but are needing to motivate them, try creating a competition each week or month between employees. You can see who sells the most of whatever promotional item you are running, or see who was able to sell the most add-ons! The competition will motivate your staff, give them practice with upselling and build more confidence.
Even though some add-ons may seem small and unimportant, the truth is that every small amount adds up and can significantly boost sales. Ensure your staff understands how these seemingly small numbers add up over time and when most restaurant margins are already really tight, any add-on, big or small will help. Train, educate, incentivize, and watch those numbers soar!