Upselling occurs when your server or bartender encourages the customer to spend extra money on a more expensive item comparable to one they are already considering. Research suggests that when you factor in the risk and cost considerations related to upselling, restaurant and bar owners can increase their profits by up to 40 percent using such tactics. Four important tips that will help your hospitality staff upsell cocktails include personalizing each upselling suggestion, hosting paid tasting meetings, creating a comfortable environment and investing in each customer.
Four important tips that will help your hospitality staff upsell cocktails include personalizing each upselling suggestion, hosting paid tasting meetings, creating a comfortable environment and investing in each customer.
Personalize Upselling Suggestions
Upselling is no easy task, and a server who un-enthusiastically questions the customer about an additional drink is unlikely to encourage them to buy anything extra. Teach your waitstaff and bartenders to be personable and specific when they are making cocktail suggestions. Understanding each customer’s preferences can make a big difference in how receptive they are to your ideas.
Instead of asking the customer if they would like an alcoholic beverage with their meal, be direct and specific with details that show the customer you are listening. Instead, try suggesting that many customers enjoy pairing icy cocktails with the grilled chicken they’ve already ordered.
Host Paid Training Tasting Meetings
Restaurant and bar owners often invest in paid training meetings for employees when new menu items or drinks are launched. Even when the cocktail you’re trying to upsell isn’t a new item, giving your employees paid time to taste-test and enjoy the drink may be worth the investment. By giving staff members this opportunity, you are likely to foster genuine excitement and positivity about the drink.
Your server’s enthusiasm about the product they are upselling is crucial in the customers decision to purchase it, so it’s likely that your staff’s enthusiasm will translate into sales. You could also utilize the taste-testing training period to have your staff members practice mock upselling scenarios.
Create a Comfortable Environment
Customers that feel comfortable and welcomed are much more likely to take heed of a server or bartender’s personalized recommendation for a specific cocktail. Conversation and getting to know your customer’s tastes is crucial for building rapport. This rapport will help make the customer more receptive to suggestions, and make each diner feel invited and engaged in their experience. A customer who has felt rushed, unheard or in conflict with their server is not likely to be receptive to any type of suggestion.
Invest in Each Customer
When upselling is your server or bartender’s main goal, they can easily lose sight of the importance of the customer’s experience. As restaurant or bar owners, you should always convey the importance of investing in each customer. Ensure your waitstaff is investing time, effort, conversation and genuine empathy for each visitor. If your customer is a tourist, then go the extra mile and offer advice about popular destinations in the area. Ask if they need directions or offer your expertise about things you think would make their dining experience memorable.
As your servers invest more time into each guest, your guests will respond by investing more into your restaurant. When you make the effort to ensure your customer feels welcomed, hey will humanize your experience as a bartender or server rather than see you as an individual simply performing his job. This advice is important for upselling, but it is also valuable for servers and bartenders because it will greatly increase their opportunity of receiving great tips.
Most importantly, your waitstaff needs to remember to be helpful with each upselling suggestion. You never want your servers or bartenders to come off as too pushy, and upselling won’t be effective when the bottom line is becoming more important than the customer. Personalizing each upselling suggestion, hosting paid tasting meetings, creating a comfortable environment and investing in each customer are all effective ways to help your hospitality staff upsell cocktails. Don’t hesitate to start implementing these tips today, and you will start seeing improvements in your upselling statistics and revenue.