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10 Cross and Upselling Tactics That Work

Author profile: Frank Fileccia
For over 32 years Frank Fileccia has been helping luxury inn, boutique hotel, resort and restaurant clients achieve their potential.

Cross selling and upselling are two of the easiest ways to make more money at your bar or restaurant. But first, you have to understand what these terms mean. Cross selling happens when you recommend a related or complementary item to your customers. For example, if you call your local pizza place to order a pepperoni pizza, the employee on the phone might suggest you purchase some garlic bread to go with it. Upselling, on the other hand, occurs when you offer customers a “premium” version of the product. This happens when bartenders suggest a nicer (and more expensive!) alcohol to customers who order drinks.

It’s easy to see that cross and upselling can really help you increase sales, but how can you use these techniques in your bar or restaurant? Read on to learn cross and up selling tactics that work.

1. Train your servers. Make sure your servers and bartenders know how important upselling and cross selling are. Brief them on common menu items that might be paired together for cross selling, and give them examples for when upselling might be appropriate.

2. Be specific. Just saying, “Would you like a salad with that?” isn’t going to work. Instead, servers could say something like, “Our cranberry and pecan salad would go great with your entrée.”

3. Be enthusiastic. Customers can’t help but respond to excitement. If your servers seem like they genuinely enjoy your food and drinks, patrons will be more likely to take their suggestions.

4. Don’t be pushy. Your customers are trying to enjoy themselves at your bar or restaurant…they don’t want to feel like they’re at a car dealership. Although suggestions are welcome, make sure your servers know when to back off.

5. Focus on uncertain customers. If customers look especially unsure about the menu, the server can target them as someone who will be particularly susceptible to cross and upselling.

6. Make recommendations. The best opportunities occur when customers ask for suggestions. If they don’t know what to order, your servers can upsell by suggesting your more expensive menu items.

7. Try nodding. It may seem silly, but customers are more likely to agree to an upsell if their server nods while saying it. For example, if a server says, “Would you like the 12 oz. steak?” while nodding, that may convince customers who were planning to order the 8 oz. steak.

8. Focus on the most profitable items. If a customer asks how the tilapia is, a server might suggest a more expensive fish by saying, “It’s very good, but my personal favorite is the salmon.”

9. Don’t forget about takeout. Customers might be too busy to order dessert, but you can still convince them that it’s a good idea if you box it up for them to take home.

10. Be helpful. Cross and upselling won’t be effective if you’re only thinking about your bottom line…you also have to keep the customer in mind! Servers should only recommend things that they think the customers will truly enjoy.

By keeping these tactics in mind, you can use cross selling and up selling to make your bar or restaurant more profitable!
Copyright?© Frank Fileccia

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