A skilled server will be able to increase your restaurant’s sales with simple conversation. Effective upselling ultimately leaves the customer in control of their decision and doesn’t make them feel pressured to buy more.

Rather, it will plant the seed that tempts them into ordering more than they may have originally intended. When it comes to teaching your staff these techniques, there are three main upselling tips to keep in mind:

1. Describe a menu item – The first opportunity to upsell comes shortly after guests are seated. Before drink orders are taken, encourage your servers to describe their favorite specialty drinks on the menu. Pointing out creative cocktails may entice a customer enough to try one, even if they had originally thought of having just water.

2. Assume your guests will want an entree – You can use the same technique as you did with the drinks. Servers can simply start describing items on the menu as a way to help customers think about trying one of those options. Another popular opportunity for upselling is to ask customers if they’d like to include an extra side with their meal. But if you charge extra for that side, be sure to mention it, so your guests aren’t confused when they get the bill.

3. Suggest more things to try – When everyone is finished with their entree, suggest that they try a dessert or after-dinner drinks. Again, naming off a few dessert options may tempt your customers to try one. There’s even more opportunity to upsell if your server is speaking with a first-time customer because they will be eager to learn about your menu items. They’re also more likely to be interested in trying the server’s suggestions than a patron who has dined at your establishment many times.

4. Maximize Your Table Turnover Rate – The more food you sell, the more money you make, and the obvious way to sell more food is to serve more people. This is where table turnover comes into play. While you can’t control how long guests take to eat their meal, there are a few tricks that can increase the efficiency of your service. Here are a few things to try:

5. Have an organized seating system – Things like hostess stands and reservations are pretty common seating systems restaurants use to know how many guests to expect and manage the flow of guests coming through the door.

6. Keep your serving staff on schedule –  Make sure that your restaurant has enough employees to cover all the guests in your dining room and train your staff take drink orders in a timely manner and bring out the check promptly at the end of the meal.

7. Use technology to your advantage – Some restaurants will use mobile POS systems to eliminate the need for servers to walk back and forth to the register to process credit cards.

8. Update your dining room –  Some dining rooms are simply set up in such a way to make people want to linger. There are a few tricks your business can use when arranging your furniture that can encourage patrons to move along. Additionally, seating small parties at smaller tables can help ensure that you have ample space when larger parties arrive.

9. Make your menu more compact –  Limiting the amount of items on your menu simplifies everything from the amount of time customers spend deciding on their meal to the amount of time your chef will take to prepare each dish.

If slow turnaround is an issue at your restaurant, try out a few of these different techniques to see if there’s a way you can improve the pace of your dining room.

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