Upselling – making the most of a menu

12 August 2011 by
Upselling – making the most of a menu

Alain Mara, group general manager at Compass Group's Roux at Parliament Square restaurant in Westminster, explains the points at which it's possible to extend the customer spend at every step of the meal



â- If a customer is at the bar waiting for a table

â- While a customer is waiting for other guests to arrive


â- Create a mental picture of a drink to make it more appealing

â- Suggest one of your own favourite drinks

â- Suggest the aperitif of the week or a similar in-house promotion - for example, cocktail of the month

â- Read the moment - for birthdays suggest Champagne, for warm weather suggest Pimm's cocktails

Key points

â- If a customer hesitates be sure to offer a suggestion

â- If guests arrive at different stages make sure you return to the table to ensure everyone has a drink

â- Always offer a second aperitif before the food and wine order

â- Always offer the drink before the glass is empty

â- Nod when giving an option as this is a suggestive selling technique. It encourages the customer to say "yes"!

Mineral water


â- As soon as an aperitif is ordered

â- If a customer chooses not to have an aperitif


â- If a customer is waiting for other guests

â- If the customer has only ordered wine/aperitif

â- Lead the suggestion of water by offering sparkling or still

Key points

â- Always pour water immediately and keep glasses topped up

â- Always offer a second bottle

Specials and promotions


â- Once the aperitif drinks have been served

â- Before the customer has chosen their meal


â- Let the table know that you would like to go through the specials with them

â- Open with an interesting introduction - for example, "the sea bass is a favourite today…"

â- Keep eye contact with the customer

â- If a customer is unsure, show them the menu and explain all the different dishes

Key points

â- Don't rush - this is an important time to build your relationship with the customer

â- Ask if they have any questions about the specials or anything else on the menu

â- Make sure the customer is clear on the price of the dishes so it does not come as a surprise when they get the bill



â- Once the customer has chosen their choice of meal

â- If a customer doesn't want an aperitif and prefers to go straight to the wine list


â- Ask the customer what type of wine they enjoy drinking

â- Recommend a wine that would complement the food they have ordered

â- Offer regular customers something different

â- If a customer is unsure, offer them a taste by selling a glass first. This can be done to upsell a specific wine

â- If a bottle is too much, recommend a half bottle or glass instead

Key points

â- If a customer only wishes for a glass of wine, always offer a glass

â- If you're unsure about a particular wine, always ask a senior waiter, etc - don't bluff!



â- When a customer has finished their main meal and the table has been cleaned down

â- If a customer has mentioned they are saving room for the dessert


â- As dessert menus are placed in front of the customer, describe some of your favourites

â- If a customer would prefer something simple, speak to the pastry chef to see what he can do

â- Once a customer has ordered their dessert, offer a dessert wine or port to complement it

Key points

â- Desserts are the last thing a customer eats, so treat this part of the dining experience with detail

â- It is very easy to convince a customer to order a dessert, everybody enjoys them!

â- Sharing is often a good suggestion, particularity if the table is mixed

Coffee and after-dinner drinks


â- Once the customer has finished their desserts

â- If customers are in a hurry and wish to order coffee with their desserts


â- Describe different coffees on the menu and how they are made

â- Upsell liqueur coffee, people often forget they can order these

â- Invite them to take a look at the bar if they are unsure of a liqueur to choose

â- Offer a choice of liqueurs and a brief description of a less familiar one

â- Inform the customer of any in-house promotions

Key points

â- Liqueurs can increase your spend per head and leave customers satisfied

â- Always offer a second cup of coffee or liqueur

â- If a customers orders an espresso, always offer a double

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