Motivating your Staff to Upsell Menu Items
While many restaurants frequently ask their staff to upsell or suggest-sell a menu item, very often they find that their staff fails pushing these items effectively. This usually can be attributed to a lack of motivation or need of training. Contests are a great way to motivate your staff and at the same time improve revenue without making a big investment.
With MarketingVitals.com restaurant owners can easily identify the best categories or menu items to upsell to customers. Moreover, they can manage and monitor employee contests with just a few clicks. Read more about our Contests feature here.
Choosing the right items to upsell
Usually the best food categories to upsell to your customer include: Drinks, Appetizers, Side dishes, Desserts and Dish Upgrades. However it is always better to rely on your data to determine the item that provides the best opportunity to your restaurant.
First, you should identify the food category that stands out the most; this could be based on current sales compared to previous year or month, quantities sold, or frequency of sales. After determining the category, you should find out what day part (breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night) needs to improve sales for this category and provides a better chance of selling. For example, if you decide to upsell desserts, and you find that lunch and dinner sales have decrease for this category during weekdays, it is probably not a good idea to run a contest for both day parts because it is very possible that your customers don’t frequently eat dessert after lunch during weekdays. Dinner would provide your staff a better chance of selling in this case. Finally, after narrowing it down to a day part, we recommend selecting your best selling items. This will guarantee the satisfaction of the customer if they decide to make the purchase.
These are some of the incentives you can offer to your staff:
– Cash: this includes check bonuses and gift cards.
– Bonus Points: reward the employee that accumulates the most points over a period of time. This gives an advantage to those employees who perform well frequently over those that have a one-time good performance.
– Free meals: Offer your staff a free meal at your restaurant.
– Wall of Fame: Have a wall of fame and display those employees that perform better.
– Sports/Events Tickets: Free tickets to see an important event in your town.
– Trips: Send the winner on a weekend trip
– Creative ideas: This article mentions how a restaurant offered throwing a banana cream pie to the owners face as a prize and got to increase dessert sales by 50%.
Train your Staff
The key component of upselling is asking, however sometimes this is not enough to encourage customers to purchase the item. Your staff should be able to provide customers with information to persuade them to make the purchase. Always encourage your staff to customize their proposal based on the consumer, item category (appetizer, entrée, dessert, drink, etc.) and the orientation of your service (Fast casual, Fine Dining, QSR, CSR) instead of using a generic question such as “would you like anything else?” .Servers should be aware of what items on the menu are the most profitable. When a customer asks for recommendations they can mention that item in addition to their own favorite. Also, it is essential that your staff is knowledgeable about your products. They should be trained on what items complement each other and be able to name ingredients and describe taste to your customers.
How do you motivate your staff to upsell to your customers? Leave us a comment below!