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5 Reasons Why Your Servers Don’t Upsell Consistently

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Upselling can make a big impact on your sales when done consistently.

Just imagine how a hundred dollar additional average ticket every day can turn to $52,000 yearly profit when you make sure that each of your servers does upsell.

And that you may be losing that big amount of money every time your employees missed out on the opportunity to do so.

That's why you should be obsessed with reminding and ensuring every server you have in your restaurant to do upselling vigorously.

You as a restaurant owner or manager need to identify what are the common problems your people are facing why upselling consistently seems to be hard for them.

Here are 5 things we found out why servers don't upsell:

1. It’s not a daily priority - it's not a priority for the owner or the managers.

You are bombarded with a lot of more important things, like an AC not working properly, staff not showing up, someone sends a wrong order, etc.

If you don't make upselling a priority, you're stuck.

If you don't manage the servers and model it like you go out and do it yourself for some time, it conveys the team, regardless, that it is not a priority. The team gets to absorb this, and they get distracted.

2. It’s not a habit - you as the manager have so much on your plate.

You have to figure out and give time to make upselling a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes so much easier, it's like a part of your routine.

Money generating activities are very important, and this simple one of following a script, that is going to upsell, is definitely one of them.

The customer may say yes or no, it does not matter. It's about following the system consistently to get consistent results.

So if you're going to make money out of doing it, then it is just so wrong not to do it. You just have to be focused and dedicated to practicing it persistently.

If you are overwhelmed, you might have someone on your team who is pretty good at this. The one who may get better results than the others, and you should know who that person is.

Hold that person accountable and manage the rest of the team. Let that person share what he or she usually says to the customers and put him or her in-charge in keeping her colleagues consistent in doing the upsell.

For example in our restaurant, one of our servers was using the phrase, "Your dessert stomach is not yet full because it's a separate stomach for dessert for upselling."



We found out that this has been very effective in making the customers say "yes", so this was shared among us and indeed, it works.

For something to become a habit, statistics say that you have to do it in 21 to 218 days, depending on what kind of practice it is.

For upselling to become a habit, it takes an ugly amount of reminders. You have to do it over and over. You need to follow-up with your people from time to time.

Sometimes you give up and become tired. You tend to forget. This should not be the case. Always remember that it really takes a long time for something to become a habit.

It requires loads of follow-up, accountability, tracking, encouragement, and recognition, weeks after weeks. But again, it's all worth it.

It can be exhausting but it is money generating activity. No profit, no business. You need to turn it into a habit, reminding your people over and over again.

3. The wrong mindset - your staff may think that all the managers are just saying to do it, or it's just something they ought to say. They sound like a robot.

For some, it's something that they don't understand or never thought about.

Some may think that they are just trying to charge customers more or the owner just wants to make more money.

Most of them, if they don't understand, they don't understand.

Our job as the owner or manager is to teach them. Turn those thinking into a Win-Win-Win concept:

👉A win for the servers - Let your servers do the Math of upselling to show them that's it's a win for them.

When we talk about how a staff wins with upselling, it's when the average ticket goes up, tip percentage by default goes up.

👉A win for the customers - It's a win for the customers.

For exam