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The Upsell: What Every Business Needs To Know 

“Want to make that a double for our Twosday deal?”
“Just for a dollar, would you like to upgrade your order to a large?

These are some classic examples of upselling –most popularly used by restaurants which proactively identify opportunities for sales. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the statement—it sure packs a punch. A testament to this are the big bucks that has been generated since its very inception, especially in the food service industry. It’s suave delivery, serving (pun intended) to naturally include upselling tactics that are perfect for slipping under the radar.

“What’s upselling?” you may ask. Simply put, upselling is a strategy to sell an additional product or service to increase a customer’s spending. If you’re wondering why restaurant servers should be well-trained in upselling, here’s why. Firstly, research shows that verbal suggestions work to drive sales which is beneficial for your restaurant’s bottom line. But like with any Oscar-winning performance, timing and delivery are key!

Suggesting for ad-ons is a well-used technique for informing customers on the option of additional ingredients to their sandwich before they check out while introducing a combo deal. Keep in mind to stick to best-selling deals for the safest best.

Get where we’re going with this? It is important to be able to identify the opportunities that gives rise to an upsell. So, instead of just making small talk while clearing customers’ plates after their meal, you could casually suggest a house speciality dessert with just three pieces left.

But, don’t ask outright if they want the dessert. Instead, it’ll be more inviting to say, “Would you like to try our signature parfait, I could place in an order now before we run out?” It’s a no brainer that the suggestion allows for a simpler decision-making process with an effortless “yes” or “no” from them. This would then create an air of urgency without struggling for a verdict from the menu. That is the key to effective upselling – to simplify the decision-making process for your customers.

Secondly, when upselling is done correctly, it can serve to enhance your customer’s dining experience as upselling usually prompts a smaller purchase to make the original purchase even better. This can make your customer’s dining experience a more personalised and an enjoyable one.

For instance, if a customer orders a low-carb burger, your server could be prompted to recommend, “Would you like to try that with our salad of the day or a cleansing juice?”

Upselling is not about being pushy but understanding what customers value. Always encourage your servers to view upselling as an enhancement to your customer’s dining experience.

Thirdly, if you hear a customer ask, “What would you recommend?” or “What’s your most popular dish?”, this is the perfect opportunity to drive orders to the star dishes that give your income and profit margin a significant boost!

Just like any dish, the little ingredients are what makes for a scrumptious meal. You would be surprised at what a few changes could do for the growth of your business. But remember, no recipe is complete without care and a smile.

Whatever option you choose, upselling is a dish best served hot. So chop-chop!


We absolutely love sharing these tips to help you earn more and take your business to the next level. Stay tuned for more tips!