5 Customer-Friendly Upselling Tips for Your Restaurant
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5 Customer-Friendly Upselling Tips for Your Restaurant

December 15th, 2016 Marketing Restaurant Tech

upselling in restaurants

Upselling can sometimes evoke negative feelings in restaurant managers – you’d much rather let your fantastic cuisine speak for itself. While that’s a noble goal, upselling has evolved into a much more ethical and “organic” practice. Gone are the days of aggressive pitches and loud signs. These tips will show you that upselling is mostly about highlighting tasty menu combinations and suggesting over selling.


            [Free Download] The 2017 Ordering Trends Report


1. The Power of Positioning

If you’re not much for verbal sales techniques, you’ll love this tip. The arrangement of the images and text on your menu possesses lots of persuasion power if positioned correctly. Positioning items that you wish to upsell next to or below other items (or even on the same plate) can naturally persuade your customer to order complimentary items. For example, place homemade tomato soup next to a grilled cheese sandwich or a glass of red wine next to a sizzling steak dish. There’s a reason why you never see a picture of a McDonald’s burger without a side of fries. It’s almost as effective as “would you like fries with that?”

2. Read the Customer

Upselling should always be approached with intuition. Train your waitstaff to pay close attention to customer cues. For example, if a table of customers seem to be enjoying leisurely chatter and aren’t in a rush to leave, suggest coffee and a dessert special. Who doesn’t love a slice of pie and a cup of coffee while catching up with old friends? It’s an easy opportunity to promote your dessert menu without being pushy about it.

3. Give Free Samples

upselling in restaurants

While grocery stores seem to have this technique down pat, many restaurants aren’t as savvy about utilizing this method of upselling. While this works better for casual or fast-food dining, it can be utilized at more formal food establishments as well. If you run a juice bar, place a tray of acai bowl samples at the register. Manage a gastro-pub? Encourage barhoppers to come in for tapas by placing a member of your waitstaff outside of the entrance with tasty bites of your best-seller.

4. Utilize Online Ordering & Delivery

upselling in restaurants

A restaurant that isn’t utilizing online ordering is missing out on lots of upsell opportunities. Online food ordering allows you to reach a whole new customer base that you may not encounter organically. There’s many reasons why online ordering can increase sales; mobile menu’s feature conveniently clickable elements that can promote ordering multiple items as well as give the customer the power to craft their order exactly how they want it. Promoting items by mentioning that “customers that ordered this, also ordered…” is an effective upsell technique. Also, it’s likelier that online orders are for larger groups of people, which means higher return per ticket – Super Bowl party, anyone?

Learn how ChowNow‘s online ordering systems allows your customers to order directly from your website or social media channels.

5. Build Rapport First

As mentioned above, upselling should not be pushy. Adopt the role of a connoisseur rather than a salesperson – in other words, know your menu inside and out! When customers ask for recommendations, provide honest and informed answers along with items that pair well with the dish, like a particular wine or side item. This will position your upsell efforts are more helpful than “salesy” while adding to your foodie credibility.

Upselling is a necessary strategy for restaurant success, but as you can see, it doesn’t have to leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouths. Skip the tacky mascot and go with the tips above instead, your customer will love you and you’ll love the additional revenue pouring in!


            [Free Download] The 2017 Ordering Trends Report


Want more ChowNow tips and tricks? If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client, schedule a call with a member of our team — we’re have tons more where this came from. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!

Hayley Thayer

Hayley Thayer

Hayley Thayer is a member of the ChowNow Marketing team. In her free time, you’ll find Hayley eating salmon sashimi, ruminating on culture and politics, and obsessing over the latest men’s haircut and clothing trends.
Hayley Thayer

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