The Know-How To Upsell New Menu Items

Upsell new menu items

When you open a restaurant, you want your food to speak for itself rather than have to upsell it to your customers. Upselling, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. It has much better potential to drive average order value as opposed to pushy sales pitches to customers. When one upsells, one recommends menu combinations to customers based on their specific tastes. It’s a win-win situation for both the establishment and the customer. In addition, it can be beneficial for your sales. Especially when it comes to new additions to the menu, it sometimes becomes a necessity to upsell new menu items. 

Your menu may reflect the atmosphere of your restaurant quite well and be consistent with your brand. However, you need to go even further by doing a menu engineering analysis to drive sales and increase profits. Your guests come for the food first and foremost, and your menu is where it gets to make its first impression. The difference between successful and unsuccessful menu engineering attempts is not the type or size of the establishment. Instead, the restaurant owner’s understanding of the menu dynamics and desire to implement process improvements are the deciding criteria.

4 Ways To Upsell New Menu Items 

Menu engineering will be more crucial than ever in the post- COVID era. Restaurants have already been compelled to pare down their menus to the most popular and profitable items due to the problems of the past year and a half. In this article, you will discover how to strategically upsell menu items and drive revenue growth. 

1. Know Your Menu And What Drives Profits 

When it comes to upselling, you want to identify menu items with the highest profit margins so that you may maximize your profits. This entails determining which goods have the highest profit margins and educating your wait staff accordingly. When taking a customer’s order, servers can recommend items with the largest profit margins over items with lower profit margins.

For example, if a customer is considering which wine to buy, the server can recommend the wine with the highest profit margin and give a brief explanation as to why it is a good wine to buy. This is the best way to conversationally upsell new menu items as customers generally perceive servers to be knowledgeable about food.

When you introduce a new dish to your existing menu, train your waiters to recommend it as an extra which can match nicely with what the customer originally ordered. If a diner requests French Fries, for example, a waiter can recommend chicken-loaded cheesy fries. The same goes with drinks, if you have introduced a new cocktail recommend it as a complement to an existing order. 

2. Train Your Staff To Upsell New Items

Your staff is your most valuable asset when it comes to upselling, and they should be aware of the latest menu additions at all times. Without your frontline, customer-facing wait staff, personal upselling is almost impossible. After all, servers will be the ones talking with clients and attempting to upsell them. You want your waiters to evolve from salespeople to menu experts. Almost every interaction they have with a consumer is an opportunity to sway the customer’s decision. 

Continuous training, especially when new menu items are introduced, is an excellent approach to ensure that your waitstaff is confident in upselling. Allow each employee to sample the new item, ensuring that they are familiar with the ingredients and culinary processes used to prepare it. 

It’s a fine line between upselling and annoyance for the customer. Your employees must understand the difference between being intrusive and being honest. Customers will become irritated and cease visiting your restaurant if you go overboard with your upselling efforts which can result in a significant loss. When wait staff are truly delighted with their recommendations and have natural flowing discussions with customers, the finest upselling occurs.

Upsell new menu items
Source: The Balance Small Business

3. Menu Engineering 

Menu engineering is a framework for evaluating and optimizing the pricing and design of your restaurant’s menu to boost sales and overall revenues. It entails sorting all menu items into one of four groups, according to their profitability and attractiveness. 

Engineering your menu necessitates a thorough understanding of customer preferences as well as a thorough examination of your restaurant’s food costs, menu item prices, and contribution margins. It enables you to objectively discern which menu items are holding back your restaurant’s success and which menu items contribute to it and upsell the latter items.  

There’s a science to how restaurant menus should be constructed, how prices should be shown, what phrases to use, and other factors that influence consumers’ decisions. As a restaurant owner, you should know when to show currency symbols, use various colours, and refresh the menu design which can all contribute to greater profits. 

4. Social Media 

There is no better way to upsell your new items than social media. Social media has been the most powerful tool to upsell a menu as everyone is on it. Flaunt your new dishes on your Instagram and Facebook pages. Keep updated with the food trends, make memes featuring your new item on Twitter. Instagram also has a number of filters and features to help you improve your visual content. It is thus the ideal medium for promoting restaurants by showcasing images of delectable cuisine. 

A system of paid adverts has recently been added to Instagram. With the help of paid advertising, you can reach food lovers that spend several hours each day scrolling through food blogs and websites. It’s ideal for a restaurant’s social media pages. Social platforms are thus key channels for online restaurant promotion.

Up-selling should be a basic skill for all servers, from presenting premium liquor to understanding how to give a tantalizing description of menu items. Upselling not only boosts restaurant revenue but also enhances server tips and helps the overall customer experience. Upselling is a great way to increase sales and revenue at your restaurant, but make sure your technique isn’t too aggressive or persistent. Keep in mind that your customer’s experience will help you stay on top of the competition.

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Nikunj is the Communications Lead at Restroworks, a global leader in cloud-based technology platforms. In his role, he oversees global marketing and branding initiatives for Restroworks across APAC, the Middle East, and the US.


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