1. It starts with staff enthusiasm
If your staff is going to influence guests with recommendations, they should make them with excitement and belief in your product.
2. Make sure your staff knows the menu intimately.
If servers bumble their way through your menu, your guests’ confidence will waver. That fear and uncertainty will lead to doubt about any add-on recommendations.
3. Have staff review drink specials BEFORE asking for drink orders.
Think about it: If your server asks a guest what they want to drink, they’re stuck with whatever the guest orders! But what if the server makes a strong recommendation? Different story altogether.
4. Offer something a step up from what the guest has in mind.
Whether you’re prodding the guest to upgrade their liquor, appetizer, or entree, the un-offered upgrade is a missed opportunity. Steer the guest to something just a bit “more” than the default.
5. Get your hosts/hostesses involved.
Upselling doesn’t have to begin and end with the server. Jim Sullivan and Phil Roberts give this tip in their Service That Sells book. Train your hosts to make specific recommendations to guests as they’re being seated.
6. Add a new staff position: Guest Experience Captains.
Seriously. Buffalo Wild Wings has done exactly this. While their new staff position is reportedly focused on ensuring guests are getting the most from BWW’s sports experience, you can be sure they’re also tasked with identifying sales opportunities.
7. Recommend splitting appetizers and desserts.
This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but where it looks like an appetizer or dessert may be bypassed altogether, recommend your guests split one. They’ll feel like they saved money, you’ll bump the check size by 20-40%.