How to Upsell to Increase Your Check Averages

As a restaurant owner or manager you are in a constant state of strategizing, trying to move the numbers — like getting costs down and revenue up. One of the first places you can look for improvement is in your average check amount. Small bumps in this area can add up quickly in a week. Learning how to upsell to your patrons is a low-cost endeavor that highly profitable restaurants, regardless of size, have learned to do effectively to increase average checks.

Turn Servers into Salespeople
Your staff, the waiters, bar keeps, hostesses, and cashiers all need to be salespeople. As the manager you set the tone and your goal should be to make the sales-mindset an automatic response. We’re not talking the pushy, in your face salesperson. No one wants that during a dining experience, but you do want upselling to be an integral part of customer interactions.

When teaching your staff how to upsell, give them specific items to focus on for the shift, make sure they are ready to recommend favorite dishes and drinks, and have them plant seeds from the start like mentioning dessert selections while taking drink orders.

Use the Menu for Pairing Ideas
Adding pairing suggestions to your menu is a subtle but effective tactic. Think beyond the wine list. You can suggest a specific side salad or appetizer that pairs well with each entree. By adding callouts and creative messages on your menu, you can steer your customers towards additional purchases while they’re still deciding what to order.  

Quick Service and Fast Casual operations can also upsell to their guests. While employee based upsells have been the mainstay of the QS & FC space for years, technology such as guest facing digital signage and POS-integrated interactive displays provides visual suggestions to guests.

Don’t Forget Online Orders
When brainstorming ideas on how to upsell to your customers make sure you consider online orders. Use technology to your advantage and list complementary food items and add-ons throughout the order process, especially right before check out. You are just a click away from nudging that average check up a few clicks.

Highlight Promotions
Daily specials and promotions are great motivators for customers to justify a more expensive meal or an excuse to have a beverage from the bar that they would have normally passed on. Not to mention, specials and promotions give your staff a great way to open up conversation, either at the table or when taking a take out order.

Make Upselling a Part of Your Culture
How to upsell is not a big mystery, but it does take effort and a little forethought to make it part of your restaurant culture, whether fine dining or quick service. Training your employees to upsell, updating your menus to include suggestions, and offering specials are all cost effective ways to get your check averages up and ultimately increase your profits.

Innovations on Mobile POS

It’s interesting to be in the point of sale industry. It’s especially interesting being in the POS industry for 10+ years. Technology has changed quite a bit in 15 years. Now we’ll take a look at how Mobile POS is impacting the restaurant industry.

When POS systems were first introduced, they were clunky machines that took up a ton of counter space. As technology in the PC and gadget industry progressed, POS didn’t change all that much. We still saw large “computers” sitting on restaurant countertops and in server stations, taking up space and robbing restaurants of critical real estate.

Focus POS Mobile Tablet iPad

Fast forward to today, mobile POS is now a mainstream option. Many restaurants are recognizing the benefits of using POS systems driven in part by tablets. Restaurant operators are finding that blending POS solutions (a tablet coupled with traditional workstations for example) is also a recipe for success.

In many instances, operators want a rock-solid and reliable workstation in the heavy use areas and an aesthetically pleasing tablet in guest facing areas such as hostess stands, patios and dining rooms. Some POS suites even offer tableside ordering solutions driven by mobile devices such as Apple iPod Touch or Apple iPad Mini. These gadgets are quickly becoming tools in the hands servers throughout the restaurant industry.

There are many in the industry that feel that equipping servers with a tableside ordering unit gives off the wrong vibe. While there may be some truth to that, the proper use of these tools can streamline a restaurant’s operation.

Let’s look for a moment at a restaurant with a large dining room. When “Sally” goes to service her tables, she is often going out loaded with drinks, food or checks to drop off. Obviously we want to maximize Sally’s time. We all know the adage full hands in, full hands out. What happens after Sally services her tables? What is she bringing back with her? Possibly some dirty plates or empty glasses, but often times she is heading directly for a POS station to input the next round of drinks or the next course for her guests.

Now what if we equipped Sally with a device that could allow her to get that next round ordered while she is still crossing the dining room? That would improve Sally’s and the restaurant’s overall efficiency.

Investing in mobile POS technology can bring impressive benefits to your restaurant. There are a few items to consider when reviewing options for mobile POS.

  1. Can my current POS support mobile technology?

  2. Do I have the infrastructure in place to allow for mobile POS?

  3. If I add streamlined mobile POS to my current environment, what unintended consequences will I run in to?

  • Can my kitchen/bar handle the increased ticket traffic?
  • Can my staff properly utilize the tools while still maintaining the same level of service?
  • Can management enforce the necessary policies for staff to use these handheld devices?
  1. How will my guests react to tableside ordering?

  2. What is the cost versus return?

Mobile POS technology can be an awesome advantage to restaurants, so review your options and see if your operation would benefit.

If you’d like further information on the mobile POS solutions available from Focus POS California, feel free to contact us at or call us at 877-362-8440.

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