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The Vision of Upselling in F&B

By Bruno Azevedo, RM HUB's Consultant and Trainer


In the previous article I mentioned that “Suggestive Selling” is one of the most important tools available to Revenue Managers in F&B. It allows you to increase your operating and customer satisfaction ratios at the same time. This optimization of efforts is crucial when you want to create high-performance teams. Without a sale there is no service and without service the sale will have more difficulty happening. This expression is referenced in the mission and operational values of most Portuguese hospitality companies, but with some difficulty it seems difficult to happen. Almost all companies have written in their mission that they are “service oriented”, dedicated to achieving total “customer satisfaction” and that they provide “excellent service”. The reality, however, is quite different.

The rule says that “bad service happens by itself, good service has to be managed” which is excellent news for F&B Revenue Managers as management is one of their essential functions. AInternational statistics show that 68% of customers who do not return a second time to a restaurant do so because of the way they were treated and the service (or lack of it) they experienced. If we live in a world where the customer wants to feel an immediate winner and is increasingly sensitive to this situation, we must consider service as the most important factor in the organization. Restaurants live a lot from their reputation and from word-of-mouth advertising and statistics say that a dissatisfied customer tells 10 times more people the bad experience than a satisfied customer.

Service is therefore the most important element we sell. Good service adds value to the purchase and contributes positively for the customer to return to our restaurant. It is also considered our invisible product. Service is also a differentiating factor and when managed masterfully it can help outperform the competition. The big secret of “Suggestive Selling” is to be an integral part of the service process. It means helping the customer to make beneficial decisions for their experience in our restaurant. It's helping to navigate the menu, matching your personal preferences with our offer.

Training should be focused on creating habits of service, which when repeated by everyone, create consistency. These habits should be included first in the company's standards list and then in the restaurant's operating checklist. OThe central body of the service must be described to an acceptable level of detail and all employees, supervisors and directors must be aligned accordingly. In my current company, the focus on “Upselling” is immense. A whole set of training initiatives that accompany the employee at all times of their career in the company.

Throughout my professional career I have seen many situations and techniques of "Upselling" which I quote:
• Greet everyone who enters the restaurant;
• Order takers no longer serve the cause. Restaurant and bar employees must be active sellers. A drink upgrade, a suggestion of starters or desserts, an extra guacamole or a pre-dinner appetizer. You already know the saying, grain by grain…
• Creating competitions and productivity tables increases the willingness and commitment of employees to achieve goals (sales, quality, service);
• In the company's general information board, post the average value per ticket and per person for each waiter or employee;
• Schedule regular meetings with all employees to discuss how the service can be improved. Perform service role-plays so that the more experienced can help the less experienced;
• Give employees a taste of the entire food and drink menu so that knowledge of the product is complete;
• Create small meetings before each shift where, in addition to information relevant for the day, specific sales objectives for the group are informed;
• Have supervisors observe the actions of employees during each shift and at the end, be able to explain in a transparent way what went well and what didn't;
• Guide the customer from reception to departure, following each moment of the experience;
• All questions must be open-ended and do not require yes or no answers. Example, “Have you had the opportunity to see our wine list? We have a great selection and a great value. Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas and CARM Grande Reserva Red are very popular”.
• Teach employees to use the correct keywords for each occasion. There is a non-intrusive salesman's lexicon such as “great for sharing”, “unique”, “extremely popular”, “refreshing”, “save room for dessert”, “fresh and natural”;
• Use the body to make the sale. Nodding positively while speaking more easily generates a “yes” in the customer;
• Demonstrate genuine interest in the client's well-being;
• Suggest a next drink.

In general, restaurant "Upselling" is governed by the following structure:
Ingredients – “our scrambled eggs with asparagus are made from organically grown eggs and wild asparagus”. “Our Margarita Viva la
Vida takes tequila Patron and Grand Marnier”.
Characteristics – “It is one of the most popular starters” or “They are typical of the region”.
Benefits –“Excellent choice while waiting for the main course” or “The local newspaper said they are the best in town”
Price – “It's a good choice and only 8.95€. If you add our bacon, it's only 1.95— more."

Deveremos, no entanto, entender que alguns menus de restaurante e bar não estão desenhados para permitir ao colaborador fazer sugestões de “Upselling” de forma fácil e intuitiva. Nestes casos a cozinha deverá criar esta opção, tonando o menu personalizável. Esta situação por mais condicionalismos que crie na cozinha são geralmente preferíveis.

For training on “Upselling”, RM HUB is your suitable partner.