4 Creative Wine Upselling Techniques

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Ryan Schulte

Upselling, when done correctly, both enhances a customer's experience and increases revenue for a restaurant. Before approaching this sales tactic, there are a couple training considerations:

  • Your servers/bartenders must have extensive knowledge of the menu. This builds credibility with the customer, and allows your servers to feel comfortable making recommendations. Menu training can be included in pre-shift meetings, as well as delivered by a training program daily (like Waitrainer+).
  • The upsell should feel like service—not sales. Body language, tone, eye contact, all play a part in how your server makes the customer feel!

Now that the training pieces are out of the way it’s time to get creative! Encourage your staff to upsell in any creative way they can think of (keeping in mind the basics)! This will make upselling fun for the server, and they are much more likely to connect with the customer! There are tons of creative ways to upsell, but here are a few that we’ve thought up!
  1. Connect with the customer. This might mean asking them what their favorite dish is or their favorite liquor, then basing a recommendation on their response.
  2. Offer a sample. Read your customer, if they seem hesitant to commit to a more expensive option, let them try a bite or a sip.
  3. Paint a picture. This goes back to knowing the menu. Let's say a dish pairs well with a wine from the same region. Try to tell the story of that region, maybe touch on the significance of that particular wine and how it corresponds with the culture of the area.
  4. Downsell. Once again, read your customer. If they are hesitant to order an expensive option, offer a slightly less expensive one. This may seem counterintuitive to the upselling idea, but can allow you to direct the customers attention to menu items that have a greater margin than others.

At the end of the day it’s all about having fun, connecting with people, and helping them enjoy your great food and drinks!