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Upselling is an effective and relatively easy way to increase the profits of your restaurant. Unfortunately, upselling can be very difficult because people often walk into a restaurant knowing what they want. You can’t always barter when it comes to this industry, so you have to really get creative when it comes to your upselling options. This then begs the question: How do you upsell in this industry and be successful?

6 Ways to Upsell In Your Restaurant

By having a few of the following ideas in your pocket, you can effectively upsell profitable items to your customers making both them and you happy.

  • Making Suggestions – Training your servers to upsell profitable items is key to being successful. People are hungry when they come into your restaurant, so why not have the server suggest a nice beverage or appetizer to begin with while they are looking at the menu. There are a high percentage of people that will order an appetizer if the server is prompt with his suggested appetizer and drink options.
  • Specials – Try offering nightly or weekly specials that will entice the customer.  These items have very little overhead, but can be sold at a fairly large profit.  For instance, any kind of chips and a fancy dip are going to give you a nice profit. The key is to price it fairly. You will still make a profit, but also make the customer happy by not charging too much.  Nobody minds spending an extra $5 for an appetizer.  What they don’t know, is it only cost you $1 to make it.
  • Knowledge – Make sure your wait staff is knowledgeable about every item on the menu. Customers love to ask for suggestions from their server. Have them know the preparations of foods, what’s in them, and a good wine that would pair well with their customers’ choice. By knowing all these things, the waiter can easily upsell a salad or side dish that will enhance the customers meal.
  • End of the Meal – This is a great time for a waiter or waitress to upsell.  Don’t ask the customer if they would like dessert, instead have a few delicious ideas to entice them with. Most people love ending their meal with a little something sweet, and by offering them a few specific items, you are sure to make them order dessert.
  • Liquor – Upselling with alcohol can be very profitable for your business. When a customer orders, for example, a martini, have the server give them an expensive choice as their gin or vodka. For example, “would you like Kettle One as your vodka?” Also, by suggesting your delicious imported beer as opposed to domestic beer is a great way to upsell because there is such a high mark up on alcohol, upselling can be great for business.
  • Pairings – Did you know that offering food and alcohol pairings is very good for your business? For example, by suggesting a particular bottle of red wine when your customer orders a steak will make your customer feel as if you are trying to make his dining experience pleasurable. Also, coffee and dessert go hand in hand.  Try making it a specialty coffee, and your really doing a great job!

No matter how you approach it, upselling is good for business. From appetizers and drinks to desserts and coffees, your customers will feel well taken care if they are offered upselling in a friendly, non-threatening manner. Your goal is to make the customer happy while at the same time making your bottom line happy!

Jackie White is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including restaurant coupons. She writes for, a leading restaurant directory of top dining locations.