How To Increase Sales In Your Restaurant.

A helpful guide about up-selling, link-selling and negative selling in your restaurant .

Increasing sales in your restaurant is extremely important. Basically, your staff are retail staff and should take every opportunity to increase the value of every customer transaction, or customer spend as it is also referred to. Increasing sales in your restaurant is not difficult, and in today's market, is expected and acceptable. Your customers will not mind if your staff offer them extras with their meals, or introduce them to 'money saving' meal deals and specials. You are running a restaurant and have bills to pay.

In this article we will discuss the main practices you should adopt (and avoid) to ensure that your staff are taking every opportunity available to them to increase your sales.


Up-selling is basically the art of offering your customers a larger, and generally more profitable, portion than they asked for. It is the easiest and most effective way of increasing your sales. Up-selling basically involves a member of your staff asking the customer outright if they would like to upgrade their order after they have asked for it. An example of up-selling is shown below:

Staff Member: "Hello, can I help?"
Customer: "Yes, I would like to order the lasagne please."
Staff Member: "For only £2 extra you can get the large lasagne today."

The customer now has the choice to take advantage of the offer if they wish. The staff member has correctly informed them of the special offer/upgrade. If they customer takes advantage of the offer, you have made an extra £2. But, we are not finished yet. If your lasagne is served with a fresh salad as standard, the staff member has another opportunity to increase the value of the sale with link-selling.


Link-selling involves offering the customer a product which compliments their original order, therefore enhancing their experience, and increasing the value of the sale. Items such as sides are an excellent example of this in your restaurant. Assuming the above customer did not take the large lasagne, our conversation should look something like this with the staff member link-selling:

Customer: "No thank you."
Staff Member: "Would you like to order any chips with your lasagne?"

Let us assume that a portion of chips costs an extra £2 in your restaurant, and the customer does want some...

Customer: "Yes please."
Staff Member: "Would you like anything else today?"
Customer: "No thank you."

Notice that the staff member gave the customer another opportunity to add something to their order without being intrusive. If they were confident enough, the staff member could have perhaps made another suggestion to the customer, such as a large salad.

The trick to good up-selling and link-selling is confidence and a friendly approach. If the customer feels like your staff approach to link-selling and up-selling is forced or rehearsed then they will likely resist. Remember to make it friendly, make it natural and even make it fun.

Encouraging up-selling and link-selling in your restaurant.

There are a few ways you can encourage your staff to up-sell and link-sell. Firstly, you should conduct training. This is very important. Your staff must be shown how to actually sell and not just take orders. Once they are aware of how to up-sell and link-sell then you can encourage them to perform well. This can be done by running competitions or setting daily, weekly or monthly targets for them. An example being offering a prize to the member of staff who sells the most large lasagnes, or the most sides of chips.

What you should not do however is negative sell...

Negative Selling.

Negative selling, even though it is generally still an effort to sell, is not a productive way to sell. Negative selling is more psychological and hinders your efforts to increase sales in your restaurant. Using the above conversation as an example, let us show what negative selling is:

Customer: "Can I order the lasagne please?"
Staff Member: "Just the normal one?"
Customer: "Yes please."
Staff Member: "Is that everything today?"
Customer: "Yes please."
Staff Member: "Are you sure you don't want chips with it?"
Customer: "No thank you."

Do you see that, even though the staff member was still polite and mentioned the extras, they did so in a negative way. They effectively ordered for the customer, and did not give them the opportunity to increase their order. They used negative selling. Instead of saying terms like "Is that a normal/regular one?", you should train your staff to simply say "is that a large one?" You should also train them to never say "you don't want", as it is basically telling the customer that they do not actually want the upgrade. Replace this phrase with the more positive and effective "would you like", this way you are always giving the customer the choice.

For more great articles on running a restaurant, click on the link below:

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