How to Upsell at Your Bar

How to Upsell at Your Bar

How to Upsell at Your Bar

We have to hand it to bartenders: not only are they de-facto psychiatrists, extraordinary multi-taskers, and the person responsible for ensuring your patrons aren’t too intoxicated to drive home, they are also expected to be salespeople. It can’t be held against your bartenders if they aren’t the best up-sellers. After all, they’re busy just trying to keep your restaurant from dissolving into chaos. Here, we present four tips to help your bar staff upsell like a pro.

Keep it Stocked

Obviously, right? The coolest things bartenders can do are either suggest an off-the-wall drink or be able to accommodate and off-the-wall request. Neither of these things can happen if you bar lacks some of the more interesting liquors, trendy beers, and cool wines. Be sure you stay on top of the latest alcohol trends and keep those bottles on hand. You have nothing to lose except the excitement of a customer who has chosen your restaurant to satisfy their daring side.

Sample, Sample, Sample

We all love free stuff. And free drinks? Even better. A high-margin drink, which delivers great profits when compared to its cost, will benefit greatly if your bar tenders and servers offer a sampling. No one goes to a restaurant and expects to get a drink on-the-house. Presenting patrons with a no-cost taste is a surefire way to increase customer loyalty, increase the likelihood they’ll order a second drink, and drive revenue. And all your staff had to do was ask if their party wanted a free drink (and of course they did). Got a customer who doesn’t know what drink to order, or is scared to try one of the drink specials from your menu? Deliver a sample. That kind of customer service goes a long way in building relationships with new and returning guests.

Proper Training

This one might come off as slightly sneaky, but hear us out. Consider this scenario: A customer orders a gin and tonic but doesn’t specify their gin preference. Your staff is then gifted the prime opportunity to suggest a gin, at which point they can seamlessly suggest one of your more top-shelf/higher-margin offerings. Unless the guest is a diehard fan of one particular gin brand, they’ll likely take your recommendation—regardless of the cost to them.

Smart House Brands

Cost-conscious customers are conditioned, when asked which type of alcohol we’d like in our drinks, to immediately request the “house” brand. Typically, the “house” vodka or Pinot Grigio is the lower-cost option. If you select your house offerings wisely, they don’t need to compromise your bottom line. Research your options and choose liquors and wines that offer mid- to high-profit margins.

There you have it. Four of our best tips to get your bartenders and servers to upsell like a champion. Got more tips? Let us know! The loan experts at ARF Financial have been working with restaurant owners for decades, and they’re always looking to learn new techniques and trends from the entrepreneurs they work with every day. Cheers!