Upselling can be an art. But is doesn’t have to be. It can simply be part of your standard operating procedure. Recently, I visited a restaurant that made me want to save room for dessert. After our pager finally rang, a hostess began to lead us to our table. As we transitioned from the waiting area to the dining room, she stopped and gestured to a decorative half-table with six mouth-watering, house-made desserts plated beautifully. The hostess highlighted the unique aspects of each decadent dessert, adding a simple suggestion, “Save room for dessert.”
It took only 30 seconds, but it increased our ticket total by $15 for a couple. The power of suggestion is one of the best upselling tools in your arsenal. Had that hostess not planted those scrumptious thoughts of dessert, I might have missed out on the divine New York-style cheesecake with a Raspberry reduction because I finished all of my large portion entrée.
Promoting your dessert offerings is a great way to boost your bottom line with a low-cost, high margin menu items. Often times, I find that servers let me know about desserts too late— after I have filled myself up on pizza, wings and breadsticks. Pique my interest early into my visit. Showcase featured desserts in a display case at the front counter to entice customers or feature gorgeous photos of your desserts on table tents and on your menu.
Take a typical dessert to the next level. For example, turn that brownie or chocolate chip cookie into a sundae with a scoop of vanilla and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Cost it out and offer it as a weekly dessert special. Don’t forget to blast an up-close photo of the delicious dessert on your social media channels. Train your servers to make that dessert part of their introductions. A quick tip: Tell your servers to carry desserts at waist level and take their time walking through the dining room to the table. Other diners will take notice. I’ve almost fallen out of a chair trying to take a sneak peek at a plate traveling by me.