Tuesday, October 27, 2015


No matter how great business is at your bar or restaurant, chances are you’d like to make more money.  One of the easiest ways to do this is upselling, or convincing customers to upgrade their current purchase or buy more items.  How can you use upselling tactics in your bar or restaurant?  Read on for 20 upselling tactics that work.

  1. Train your servers – Make sure all your servers know how important upselling is and how to do it.  Routinely go over new information with them and make sure they know how upselling can help your restaurant.
  2. Determine which items to upsell – Be sure your servers know which items they should focus on.  For example, you might have a new dessert menu that you want to push, or you might want to focus on selling pricier drinks.
  3. Determine what times to upsell – Certain items should be mentioned at certain times.  For example, your servers want to mention your appetizers before customers order their entrees.
  4. Try to help – Remember, you shouldn’t be forcing customers to order things they don’t want…you should be helping them make their dining experience even better.
  5. Be knowledgeable – If you want to be able to upsell, you have to know the menu.  Every server should know exactly what’s on your menu and be able to suggest what drinks, sides, etc. go with each entrée.
  6. Make it sound irresistible – Part of upselling is convincing.  Make whatever you’re upselling sound attractive and your customers will be far more likely to order it!
  7. Don’t forget takeout – Takeout options can be a great way to upsell.  Maybe your customers are too full to eat dessert right now, but they can order it and bring it home for later.
  8. Play off what customer wants – Not every tactic will work on every customer.  Treat each customer like an individual and focus on his/her specific needs and wants.
  9. Don’t make it sound like a sales pitch – Customers came to your restaurant to have a nice time with their friends and family, not to get a sales pitch!  Try to sound natural and conversational.
  10. Be specific – ‘How about dessert?’ probably won’t help.  However, saying “A slice of our delicious cheesecake would be a great end to your meal.” Is a lot more enticing.
  11. Focus on hesitant customers – If customers don’t seem sure about what they’re going to order, you’re more likely to be able to upsell.  Are they taking a long time to look at the menu or asking a lot of questions?  These are good customers to focus on.
  12. Ask about larger size – Let’s say your customers have the choice between ordering an 8 ounce or a 12 ounce steak.  When they’re ordering, you might try asking “And did you want the 12  ounce?” Of course, any customer who is set on ordering the 8 ounce is welcome to say so, but many times customers will agree with what you asked.
  13. Know parings – If you want to be able to suggest a certain beer or wine, you’ll need to know which beers or wines go with which entrees.  Make sure all your servers are well-versed in pairings.
  14. Try downselling – This doesn’t sound like a profitable idea, but it can be!  Let’s say your customer doesn’t want to order a more expensive cocktail.  You might try offering a less expensive cocktail in it’s place, and even explaining why the less expensive cocktail might be better.  This way, although you couldn’t sell the more expensive drink you initially wanted to sell, you’re still adding a few dollars to the bill.
  15. Focus on more profitable items – Your servers should know which items in your restaurant have a higher profit margin.  For example, if a customer asks for a certain dessert, and you know you have another dessert with the same price but a higher profit margin, you might try suggesting it.
  16. Keep it subtle – You don’t want your customer to know you’re upselling, so be subtle.  Don’t try to upsell for every course.
  17. Focus on your service – You can increase your likelihood of upselling if you provide great service.  If you get orders wrong and barely meet your customers’ needs, are they going to want to order even more?  Probably not.
  18. Don’t be too pushy – No customer likes to feel pressured, and if you’re too pushy, you might offend the customer and lose his or her business.
  19. Keep it simple – If a customer asks for recommendations, it’s more helpful to suggest a few things than to suggest a ton.  For example, if a customer asks what beers would be good with their meal, they might be overwhelmed if you suggest every beer on your menu.  Focus on a few.
  20. Be patient – Sometimes customers might have a lot of questions before they decide to check out dessert or get a more expensive entrée.  Be patient and answer every question they might have!  Your great service will pay off.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can use upselling to increase sales and profits at your bar or restaurant

(Article provided by Buzztime)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The importance of water as a natural resource can’t be understated. Wars and lesser skirmishes have been fought over water, and it’s been at the heart of numerous public utility projects and significant legislation at all levels of government.
In addition to being the world’s most popular beverage, clean water is crucial to restaurants, whether it’s used in the front or back of the house or even outside the facility.
The importance of H2O became particularly clear this year due to several major developments in different parts of the United States. As the ongoing drought in the West and Southwest takes its toll, land and crops—which are also impacted by the quality of water—are starving to death, leading to higher food prices and, ultimately, less food. Between the lack of rain and other disasters, such as the chemical spill that shut down the capital of West Virginia in January 2013, restaurants and municipalities are looking to conserve, filter, and even reuse water.
“All utilities are very important for us, but none is as essential as good water,” says Christian Fischer, executive chef and vice president of culinary innovations for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, based in Rye, New York. He says water is equitable to treasure at many of the 260 academic institutions for which the company manages foodservice operations. “Some of them refer to water as liquid gold.”
Extreme drought conditions hit central and northern California and western Nevada, and continue to impact many regions already suffering, like northern Texas and Oklahoma.
This has impacted crop production and cattle ranching, pushing food prices higher. The West has been in drought conditions for the past several years, but “the intensity is particularly great this year in California and the Southwest into Texas and Oklahoma,” says Liz Purchia, spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Restaurants should consider water conservation all the time, not just when there are crises, says Michael Oshman, founder and chief executive of the Green Restaurant Association, adding that the practice also saves money.
Energy Star dishwashers and ice machines conserve water in the back of the house, as do low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves and automatic on-and-off faucets. In the bathrooms, aerators on faucets, low-water toilets, and no-water urinals can save water.
At Atlanta’s Lure seafood restaurant, owner Fifth Group Restaurants constructed a system that not only harvests rainwater from the eatery’s roof and patio, but also melts water from icemakers and water condensation from air conditioning. The system stores up to 3,000 gallons of filtered water that is used for the bathrooms and to irrigate plants around the building.
“We’ve captured about 100,000 gallons each of the past two years, and haven’t had to use municipal water for flushing toilets or for irrigation,” says Steve Simon, one of Fifth Group’s partners. The main reason for making the expensive investment in the water recapturing system was environmental, but it has saved the restaurant thousands of dollars by not purchasing Atlanta municipal water, which Simon calls one of the most expensive water options in the nation.
When it comes to cooking, water’s properties also influence the taste of the food, and that is why a number of chefs work only with filtered water.
“It isn’t crucial when you’re braising a piece of meat, but it’s very important in baking and in delicate soups and sauces,” says Fischer, Chartwells’ executive chef. “If you have water with a strong chlorine taste, for instance, it will affect the final product. Other chemicals and metals can influence the flavor, too.”
A study in 2013 by The NPD Group found that 37 percent of restaurant customers choose water or no beverage with their meals. And bottled water is the choice of many guests, with 38 percent of restaurants offering it, according to Datassential MenuTrends.
But aqua is often taken for granted by customers, and the cost of water is rising. According to a study by Circle of Blue, a group of scientists and journalists concerned with natural resources, the average price of municipal water is up 6.2 percent in big American cities this year, and has jumped 33 percent since 2010.
Water grows the country’s crops, keeps the farms in the farm-to-table movement solvent, filters America’s beloved soft drinks, is critical for food prep, and cleans restaurants, keeping them functional. How restaurants and society treat water now will impact the world’s most precious resource for generations to come.

(Taken from RSR Ideas and Insights for Full-Service Restaurants  |  March 30, 2015)

What's Hot in 2015? Discover new menu trends

What's Hot in 2015? Discover new menu trends

December 3, 2014

Local sourcing, environmental sustainability and healthful kids' meals keep gaining steam as the top trends on restaurant menus in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association's annual What’s Hot culinary forecast

The NRA surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to find which foods, cuisines, beverages and culinary themes will be hot trends on restaurant menus in 2015.

“As consumers today increasingly incorporate restaurants into their daily lives, they want to be able to follow their personal preferences and philosophies no matter where or how they choose to dine,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “So, it’s only natural that culinary themes like local sourcing, sustainability and nutrition top our list of menu trends for 2015. Those concepts are wider lifestyle choices for many Americans in other aspects of their lives that also translate into the food space.”   

“Chefs are committed to supporting their communities and helping make responsible food choices,” said Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC, national president of the American Culinary Federation. “I am pleased that members of the American Culinary Federation continue to support local sourcing and sustainable food practices as an annual trend and are paving the way for these values to become part of everyday American cooking.”

In addition, the What’s Hot in 2015 survey found that the top five alcohol and cocktail trends will be micro-distilled/artisan spirits, locally produced beer/wine/spirits, onsite barrel-aged drinks, regional signature cocktails, and culinary cocktails.

Items that gained most in trendiness since last year in the annual survey included underutilized fish, doughnuts, ethnic condiments, grass-fed beef, brown/wild rice, and grilled vegetables. Items with the largest drop in “hot trend” rating included bruschetta, kale salads, nose-to-tail cooking, hybrid desserts, and house-made soft drinks. 

When asked which current food trend will be the hottest menu trends 10 years from now, environmental sustainability topped the list, followed by local sourcing, nutrition and ethnic cuisines and flavors.

The chefs were also asked how they feel about customers taking photos of their food and posting on social media during their meals. Nearly three in five chefs said it's free advertising and should be encouraged, and about a third said it's fine as long as they're discrete. Only one in 10 chefs said it's disruptive and should be discouraged.