by Otilia Dobos

Are you looking for new ways to increase your profit? On top of delivering quality food and promoting your food business, you must learn how to persuade people to order more items and more expensive dishes.

For this purpose, you can use suggestive selling techniques in restaurants. In this article, we’ll show you what it is and how to do it in a way that benefits you and your clients.

What is Suggestive Selling in a Restaurant?

Suggestive selling in a restaurant is a sales technique where you encourage customers to order something different than they initially wanted intending to increase the order’s value.

The key is to not force or pressure clients to order, but to offer them options that will elevate their dining experience.

Here are some examples of suggestive selling in restaurants:

  • Similar dishes with premium ingredients
  • Limited-time menu items or offers
  • Side dishes that will pair well with the desired main
  • Food and drink pairing recommendations
  • Desserts and coffee at the end of the meal

suggestive selling in restaurants

What Are the Benefits of Suggestive Selling in Restaurants?

The main goal of using suggestive selling techniques in restaurants is to increase the order value by convincing customers to spend more. On top of this key benefit, you will also enjoy:

  • Better experience for your clients: great recommendations show clients you listen to their wants and needs and are willing to go above and beyond to offer them a remarkable experience. If customers enjoy themselves, they are likely to write positive reviews and suggest your restaurant to friends and family;
  • Incentivized staff: happy clients leave bigger tips which will motivate employees to be on top of their suggestive selling game. By empowering staff to increase their earnings, you motivate them to be more productive and look forward to a new workday;
  • Increased customer loyalty: when using suggestive selling, employees will have to ask questions and find out exactly what clients like. This way, they add a personal touch to the restaurant experience, convincing clients to become regulars;
  • Bigger profit: every penny counts when you run a food business. Each successful suggestive selling will slowly increase your profit, ensuring your restaurant remains competitive for years to come.

7 Suggestive Selling Techniques in Restaurants to Try

If you want to enjoy the benefits listed above and not upset clients with forceful recommendations, check out our tips on how to implement efficient suggestive selling techniques in restaurants, the easy way:

1. Ensure your servers know the menu

How can a server make a great suggestion if they have never tried the dishes on your menu? Clients may even ask their opinion of certain items. If the employees can’t confirm they have tried that specific dish, customers won’t trust their recommendations.

Take these steps to help your team get acquainted with the menu so they can make personal suggestions:

  • Organize tastings for the employees: where you have your chef explaining the whole menu, the ingredients, and the flavor profile so staff can make knowledgeable recommendations;
  • Repeat tastings for each new menu: especially for seasonal items that you want to increase sales for;
  • Teach staff about food and drink pairing: so they can always suggest the perfect beverage for each main.

Read more: 7 Food and Beverage Pairing Techniques That Will Help You Sell More Food

2. Teach employees how to make recommendations

The most important factor for suggestive selling techniques in restaurants is the way your employees make recommendations. If a server is being too pushy and suggesting things that are way too different from what the client wants, it may have the opposite effect and deter customers from ordering.

Check out these tips for a pleasant interaction that persuades people to order more:

  • Do: Have employees ask questions: such as “Have you been here before?”, “What kind of flavors do you like?”, “Would you like some recommendations for sides” will make customers feel more comfortable and more open to future suggestions;
  • Do: Encourage staff to make personal recommendations: it will feel more truthful when a server hypes up a dish they have tried, describing the texture and flavor that they like;
  • Don’t: Make generic suggestions: if servers suggest dishes that are too far off, such as a beef steak when customers choose a vegan option, it will make clients feel like you are not paying attention;
  • Don’t: Pressure customers: when a client refuses a suggestion, the suggestive selling should stop. Don’t ask again and again, making customers uncomfortable. They won’t come back.

Read more: Restaurant Staff Training 101: How to Improve Efficiency with Practical Training Methods

3. Motivate staff with bonuses

Getting good at implementing suggestive selling techniques in restaurants will take some time and effort. Therefore, employees will need some encouragement to persuade customers to order more.

You can organize contests such as:

  • Who gets the biggest tips in a week, gets their tips sum matched;
  • Who can convince the biggest amount of customers to order more expensive items, wins a large bonus.

suggestive selling script examples restaurant

Read more: How to Motivate Restaurant Employees and Increase Retention

4. Implement a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are one of the most efficient suggestive selling techniques in restaurants because they motivate people to spend more to earn rewards.

People will be tempted to order more if they know they can take advantage of an offer, such as a free dessert, a discount on the whole cart, or a certain category.

You can implement a loyalty program in no time using the Promotions module from GloriaFood. We’ll show you how in this video:

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Persuade customers to order more by rewarding their spending Create an efficient loyalty program in minutes

Read more: [Infographic] Restaurant Loyalty Marketing: How to Ace Customer Success

5. Allow customers to personalize their dishes

Another way to get people to order and spend more is to allow people to customize their dishes with:

  • Choices: you can allow customers to choose different sizes for their dishes, such as S, M, and L for pizza;
  • Add-ons: toppings are a high-profit margin item. The more you can convince people to add to their dishes, the bigger the profit. You can offer a variety of options, so customers have the pleasure of creating the perfect dish for them.

Watch this video to learn how to embed customization into your restaurant’s menu for free:

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Read more: How to Improve Your Restaurant Menu with Choices and Add-ons

6. Create food combos

Creating combos makes suggestive selling easier for your employees because they don’t have to come up with a variety of different recommendations, they can just suggest a combo that includes the dishes the client desires.

Food combos help increase the average check because they get customers to spend more than they planned. At the same time, clients perceive them as good value so they will be inclined to order them.

Use our Promotions module to create food combos in a few minutes:

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Read more: How to use food combo offers in restaurants to encourage clients to order more

7. Extend suggestive selling online

You can only serve a limited number of clients in a restaurant, so your suggestive selling results will also be limited if you only focus on your location.

If you want to experience a considerable increase in your sales, expand your suggestive selling techniques online. All you will need is the online ordering system from GloriaFood that has the following features integrated:

  • Offer add-ons and choices;
  • Easily create food combos;
  • Add promotions to tempt people to spend more;
  • Create a loyalty program to increase the average check value.

Get started now and you will be able to start suggestive selling online by tonight:

Consent needed
Increase your profit by using suggestive selling techniques online Install an online ordering system to your website for free

Final Words

In the food industry, every detail matters and can help you up your sales. Get familiar with suggestive selling techniques in restaurants and teach your employees about them so that you can notice a profit increase at the end of each month.

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photo of GloriaFood blog writer Otilia Dobos
Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos prides herself on well-documented, easy to understand and SEO-optimized content, both short and long form.