Restaurant Up-selling Techniques

The objective of this procedure is to ensure that all staff understands the importance of having good sales or up-selling techniques, and how they increase the revenue of the outlet. Also to make staff understand the different ways one can suggest the special items, and to take the orders correctly.

Procedure of up-selling F&B

  • When guest is deciding what to actually order; all staff must help, and suggest various options.
  • Anticipate the guests’ wants and needs. Know their likes and dislikes, guests might be vegetarian or sensitive to spicy food.
  • Know your menu well enough, the cooking methods and ingredients of each dish, recommend options to your guest.
  • Describe and recommend food with good descriptive and attractive ways, so that you can make the guest really want the dish you are describing.
  • Before the menus are handed out, recommend the daily specials or menus, promotions, wines, etc.

What is suggestive selling?

All techniques and procedures designed to influence the purchase decision of the guest.

  • To make more profit
  • To increase the check average of the guests.
  • To increase the sales of profitable menu items.
  • To offer better service
  • To assist the guests to make their choice

Passive behavior & up-selling:

The service person hands the menus and wine lists to the guests and then takes the order: Only the guests are actively involved in selecting the meal.

Active behavior & up-selling:

The service person does not simply hand out the menus but engages in conversation with the guests. How? By making suggestions or recommendations

  • to mention F&B items so the guests will think of them; propose items; to give the guests additional choices
  • to advise the guest with F&B items are very good, special or suitable for a particular or guest.

When to use up-selling Techniques:

When you present the menu:

Draw the attention of the guest to specials and items which may not be listed on the menu (house-, chefs-, daily-).

When you take the order:

  • Assist the guest with their selection (advise, recommend) to suggest additional items; appetizers, side dishes, aperitifs, wine, desserts, etc.
  • Always offer alternatives
  • If you add to your recommendation a second choice, the chances for a successful sale are much better.

Rules of offering alternatives:

  • never offer more than two, or at the most three alternative suggestions
  • always stay in the same group, always separately offer different appetizers, different main courses, different wines, etc.
  • the alternative should always differ in taste, and if it is a main course also in method or preparation
  • always offer a popular item as an alternative to a specialty item. Some types of food are commonly enjoyed by many people, whereas others are considered less appealing specialties.


Taking an order is one of the most important aspects of the job of service staff!

Restaurant Up-selling Techniques by BNG Hotel Management Kolkata
Restaurant Up-selling Techniques by BNG Hotel Management Kolkata

What service associate must know for up-selling?

Know your product for better up selling

  1. what is on the menu
  2. what is available at the moment
  3. what are the daily specials
  4. what are the house or chef’s specialties
  5. how is each item prepared
  6. what are the ingredients
  7. how large are the portions
  8. what garnishes are used
  9. what side dishes are included
  10. what is the taste
  11. are substitutions allowed
  12. what is the preparation time

Know how to describe your products

correctly, honestly
in a positive way (lively, with enthusiasm)
To describe food appetizing is extremely important. Guests cannot taste what they order in advance; therefore, they order by imagining the food. The stronger and more positive their imaginations, the better is the appetite.
To describe food appetizingly is extremely important. Guests cannot taste what they order in advance; therefore, they order by imagining the food. The stronger and more positive their imaginations, the better is the appetite.

Ask yourself; how would you react to the following recommendations:
1.We have beef with potatoes
2.Today I can recommend our tender; juicy roast prime rib of beef and our oven-baked potatoes.

Know your guests

Read your guests; try to identify them, what kind of persons are they; type of guests
Anticipate (foresee) and be alert (pay full attention) to the wants and needs of your guests

Use social skills

  • SMILE!!!
  • Use the guest’s name if possible
  • Know how to communicate with people
  • Be tactful, be considerate with the feelings of your guests
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Have a sense of timing

Other methods ways of suggestive selling:

  • The menu list itself
  • the design, layout
  • the location of items on the menu list: focal point
  • items which head a list or section of menu items
  • items which are highlighted
  • items which have lively written descriptions
  • items which have more information
  • pictures, photographs and drawings
  • Place mats with menu items
  • Menu boards
  • Outside the outlet: near the entrance
  • Inside: on the wall or above the counter

The way in which items are presented to the guests
Guests are influenced by what they see being served at other tables:
Very nice looking dishes and cocktails
Table side food preparation (flambé dishes)

Display:  With complete meals and beverages in the window, counter or a special box. For ex. Japanese restaurants and coffee shops and family restaurants in department stores and shopping malls

Display trolleys: Mobile Guèridon with a display of various food and beverage items.

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