restaurant business plan

Ways to Up Sell in Your Restaurant

Getting a customer to buy more than they were originally planning to buy is the key element of up selling and it is a huge profit builder in the restaurant industry.

If you can teach your staff how to do it effectively, which means in a way that will leave the customer feeling more satisfied, as opposed to pressured or even ripped off, then you have added a great boost to your bottom line.

There are several key areas to work on in up selling:


If your servers aren’t suggesting appetizers, then you aren’t maximizing your up selling potential. Every single customer should be offered the choice, and not just in a bland, are you having any, the server should make a specific recommendation, along with a comment like “these are really popular” or “everyone really loves these” to make a bigger impact.


Servers should have specific recommendations, and ask customers if they would like to have something from the bar if they just order soda or ice tea, and ask if they want a premium upgrade if they just order the house brand.

Main Courses

Again, servers should have specific recommendations, since as many as 20% of restaurant guests specifically ask for recommendations. It goes without saying these recommendations should be of higher margin items and ones known to do well with the majority of customers.

Side Items

Always suggest a side salad, soup or other item in addition to the main course. Each incremental sale is more profit from a set number of diners, and asking costs nothing.


Few people save room for dessert, so give them customers the option of dessert right after the meal before the food has too much of a chance to settle. Have a suggestion ready at hand if they don’t want to bother looking at the dessert menu.

Catering/To Go

Have your servers remind each guest that if they enjoy the food but don’t have time to come in, they can always call ahead and pick it up. Why more restaurants don’t do this isn’t clear, but ti can add as much as 20% to sales and doesn’t require a single dollar in extra overhead.

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