How to Improve Up-Selling Revenue in Your Restaurant

We don’t always think of them as sales people, but in a restaurant, the wait-staff and bartenders are the sales team. And this sales team needs to be friendly and knowledgeable about the entire menu so they can sell diners the dishes they will enjoy the most. As rudimentary as this may sound, it’s true. It’s no longer about taking an order. You have to know how to sell the menu before you can up-sell. Most servers will agree that patrons are often unsure which dishes they prefer. In fact, their menu decision often depends on how well the server describes the dishes and their ability to answer questions and successfully overcome objections about the menu items.


Deploy Suggestive Selling

Suggestive selling techniques work. While dining at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco with some friends, the server suggested trying their signature dessert, a decadent chocolate soufflé cake. I rarely order dessert, but the server’s description was so enticing that my mouth was watering and I just couldn’t resist. Noticing a slight hesitation, the server quickly mentioned that it paired perfectly with the beer I was drinking. That clinched the sale and the dessert was the highlight of my meal. I order it every time I visit. That’s up-selling at its finest.


Monitor Sales Performance

Your restaurant POS can provide you with a treasure trove of sales data for every menu item in your restaurant by server. You can use this data to identify the team members who are up-selling successfully and those who need extra training. To help under-performing staff boost their average check size, try a train-the-trainer approach by pairing your star performers with those who need a little extra help. This interactive and visual approach is one of the most effective training methods for pivoting employees in a positive direction.


Up-Selling with Technology

Many restaurants across the country have replaced paper guest checks with Wi-Fi tablets connected to their POS system. These devices can be a powerful tool in helping wait-staff up-sell. Through customized pop-up windows and other subtle hints, tablet technology can help servers suggest wine or beer pairings with entrée selections, appetizers and dessert items and offer other helpful hints for improving the dining experience and bottom-line.

The ability for a server to pick up on subtle queues, make intelligent menu suggestions and up-sell comes with experience. But when they get it right it’s a triple win. It provides patrons with an exceptional dining experience, a bigger tip for the server and more profits for the restaurant.



  • Subscribe to our latest insights


Are you capital raise ready?