Increase Your Earnings with Suggestive Selling and Upselling

Many individuals in the hospitality industry depend on their tip money for the majority of their income. There are several ways to net bigger tips, increase customer satisfaction and impress your manager by netting bigger sales. It’s not rocket science, a higher tab very often equates to a higher tip, and what service professional doesn’t want to increase bar sales, and in turn, their own tips? Providing excellent customer service in addition to responsible beverage service is one of the most important duties of a bartender or server. In addition, try these tips to raise the bar even higher and increase your earnings:

  1. Upselling is one of the most popular and effective ways to increase your earnings potential, as long as it is done the right way. One example is if your patron orders a drink that can be made more than one way. If a mixed drink comes in a standard size or large size, it would be acceptable to ask if they’d like to order the larger size. Similarly, you can promote your top shelf liquors. If a patron asks for a mixed drink, ask them if they’d like to select the premium option. A simple, “Would you like your Cosmopolitan made with Grey Goose?” is an easy way to upsell your offerings without being pushy.
  2. Suggesting premium beverages or signature drinks over well drinks is another easy way to increase sales. A patron can get a well drink anywhere in town, suggesting one of your establishment’s signature cocktails or a drink that is very popular with other patrons can instantly boost the bar tab, and your customer gets to try something new and exciting.
  3. If patrons ask for beverage suggestions, provide information on what you like, ask them about their drink preferences and make suggestions based on their individual tastes, and also be knowledgeable about wine selections and pairings. A service professional can help make a guest’s night-out extra special with some extra attention and a few simple suggestions. For more information on food and wine pairings, check out our blog post, “Bon Appetit! Food and Wine Pairings 101.”
  4. Drink sales aren’t the only item to focus on; menu upselling is also a great way to increase your sales. Try offering your bar patrons an appetizer or entrée to go with their drinks. A simple, “Would you like to try some buffalo wings to go with your beer?” is always a good tactic.

TAM® of Nevada loves to hear suggestions from students and other industry professionals. What suggestions would you give servers on ways to net bigger tips?

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada