For those unfamiliar with the term, upselling is when a waitress (or any other type of salesperson) can talk the customer into purchasing something slightly better and more expensive than they initially asked for.

The company encourages us to do this because, in the end, it means more sales for them, a higher check average for us, and a more satisfied customer.

Yesterday, I worked an afternoon shift. People don't tend to order as much at lunch, so I had to make the most of the tables I did have.

Upselling is not just about offering the wonderful options. It needs to be done with a little finesse. Servers need to be able to read their guest to gauge the best way to approach the suggestions.

There is a certain stigmatism associated with words like loaded, smothered, king size, super size, monster, etc. So if a customer orders a baked potato, don't ask if they want it loaded. Explain the choice in descriptive words that make it harder to resist. Would you like cheese, bacon, and chives melted on the top of your potato?
You can always upsell by getting the customer to purchase a larger size of the item they already ordered. Many of our appetizers come in a regular and large size. When they are ordered, I don't ask if customers want small or large. I offer them 8 piece or 12. The same goes for our salads and several of our steaks. I offer by ounces. 16 ounces is a respectable size for a meal. But you have no idea how many people can't resist the thought of a 24 ounce plate of steak.

When you offer an appetizer or a dessert, be sure to have a specific one in mind.

Did anyone save room for some chocolate cheesecake?
Ohhh That does sound good. Hmmmm... All right...

It takes a bit of practice, but for the most part, I can raise my sales by quite a bit, just by knowing the menu, and discovering how the customers need to be approached. It definitely shows in my tips at the end of the night...

Views: 1

Tags: average, check, servers, upselling


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Paul Paz on July 13, 2008 at 9:22am
Good ideas!
Here's another tactic for upsellfing

"What do you recommend"?

So my customer asks, "What do you recommend"? I instinctively describe in delicious detail the open flamed fresh salmon, my favorite. With furrowed brow and pursed lips my customer replies, "I hate fish"!

Mistake: I didn't research my customer's interests before I launched into my sincere recommendations! I've wasted their time, my time, my other guests' time, and possibly annoyed them because I didn't "guess" correctly,

Try this approach instead:

Do you prefer: beef, chicken, or seafood?
Light or dark beer… import or domestic?
Red or white wine… dry or sweet?
Are you big hungry or little hungry?

Once you've narrowed their interests then make two suggestions.

Remember: by asking the right question (s) the waiter empowers the customer to make choices that best fit their preferences. Be the dinner detective: know your products, ask the right questions, be alert to verbal and non-verbal customer clues. Then make the sale!
Comment by Waitress4Life on July 12, 2008 at 5:57pm
Exactly! Suggesting the most expensive item on the menu usually comes across as a blatant attempt to raise the check average.

What if she were to use the menu as a tool, and point to the steak right below the Porterhouse?
"We have a very tender top sirloin that comes served with mushrooms and garlic sauce, or (as her finger slides up the page) the best steak on the menu - The porterhouse. "
See, I just SNUCK it in there, and you didn't think I was trying to be pushy, did you?!?

My personal favorite to suggest is our Lobster Roll. (Which does happen to be one of our most expensive items.) But I always follow it with some reasoning "Oh, I grew up on the cost of Maine, and I have eaten MANY lobster rolls. This is definitely one of the best."

See, it takes some practice, and I've had quite a bit. Like I said - it's an art.
Comment by Adam R. Cox on July 12, 2008 at 6:55am
So true. My family was out the other night and had a simular experince. I asked what was good. The waitress came back with her ideas. A Ribeye or Porterhouse. Both very large and the most expensive on the entire menu. That shut me down. We split a Ribeye & Ceasar.

Then for dessert she did bring the tray over. We ended up with a Lemon Bar/Cheese cake/ Creme Brulee thing. My 4 yo Daughter wanted something else. The same waitress offered a $3 cupcake. We passed.

Two things here: One the waitress needs more training. She was very nice and I did tip well since the service was great. Second: The restaurant needs to adjust prices. (They were always this high)




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service