How to Train Restaurant Staff to Upsell - 5 Must-Do's

How to Train Restaurant Staff to Upsell - 5 Must-Do's

July 26, 2023

Upselling is an art in restaurants, enhancing the dining experience. Explore key do's and don'ts, plus a concise, five-step staff training process.

The Do's of Restaurant Upselling

1. Understand Your Menu

Before diving into upselling, ensure that you and your staff have an in-depth knowledge of your restaurant's menu. Familiarize yourselves with the ingredients, preparation methods, and flavor profiles of each dish, as well as the available add-ons or upgrades. This knowledge will empower you to confidently recommend complementary items to your customers.

2. Personalization is Key

Effective upselling is all about personalization. Take the time to engage with your guests, ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to their responses. Based on their preferences and dining choices, suggest relevant additions that enhance their overall experience.

3. Highlight the Benefits

When upselling, focus on the benefits and value that the additional item brings to the customer. Whether it's a perfect wine pairing, a delectable side dish, or a tempting dessert, explain how it complements their chosen meal and elevates their dining pleasure.

4. Timing Matters

The timing of upselling can significantly impact its success. Avoid approaching customers with upsell suggestions immediately after they've placed their orders, as this may feel pushy and overwhelming. Instead, wait for an appropriate moment during their meal when they seem relaxed and open to recommendations.

5. Train Your Staff

Upselling is a team effort, so ensure that all your staff members are well-trained in this art. Provide them with comprehensive product knowledge, communication skills, and encourage a customer-focused approach. When your entire team is on board, the upselling process will feel seamless and genuine.

The Don'ts of Upselling

1. Don't Be Pushy

A crucial aspect of successful upselling is to avoid being pushy. Upselling should never feel like a hard sell or a pressure tactic. Respect your customers' choices and be willing to step back if they decline the offer.

2. Avoid Upselling High-Cost Items Unnecessarily

While it's acceptable to suggest high-cost items occasionally, avoid pushing them solely for the sake of increasing the bill. Upselling should be about enhancing the dining experience, not solely about maximizing profits.

3. Don't Oversell or Overwhelm

Presenting too many upsell options at once can be overwhelming for the customer and may lead them to make impulsive or regretful choices. Offer a well-curated selection of add-ons that genuinely complement their meal.

4. Never Compromise on Quality

The upsell items you recommend should always meet the same high standards as the rest of your menu. Never push low-quality or unpopular items to unsuspecting customers.

5. Don't Forget Regulars

While upselling is essential to increase revenue, never overlook your regular customers in the pursuit of new sales. Building strong relationships and ensuring consistent service is equally crucial to retain loyal patrons.

Training Your Staff toUpsell: 5-Step Process

1. Product Knowledge Immersion

Begin by immersing your staff in a thorough product knowledge session. Familiarize them with the menu, its offerings, and the potential add-ons or upgrades available for various dishes. This foundational knowledge will give them the confidence to upsell effectively.

2. Effective Communication Techniques

Train your staff in active listening and customer engagement. Emphasize the importance of asking open-ended questions to understand customers' preferences and tailor their upsell recommendations accordingly.

3. Upselling Role-Play

Conduct role-playing exercises where your staff can practice upselling techniques in a simulated restaurant environment. Provide feedback and guidance to refine their approach, ensuring they are adept at addressing objections gracefully.

4. Benefits-Oriented Upselling

Teach your staff to highlight the benefits and value of the upsell items. Encourage them to share stories or details that showcase how the suggested additions enhance the dining experience.

5. Continuous Support and Recognition

Offer ongoing support and feedback to your staff as they refine their upselling skills. Recognize and reward team members who excel in upselling, motivating others to actively engage in the process.

Ready to Boost Sales?

Upselling in a restaurant is an art that requires finesse, product knowledge, and a customer-focused approach. By following the do's and don'ts of upselling and implementing a streamlined, five-step training process for your staff, you can master this skill and create a delightful dining experience for your guests. Remember that upselling should always be about enhancing the customer's journey and providing them with value, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty for your restaurant.

Recommended Reads