Upselling techniques in bars: 13 tips to increase your sales

Upselling in bars

Upselling techniques in bars are not just about selling more, but also about taking the opportunity to wow customers through experiences. Upselling and cross-selling create returning guests, grow business’ reputations and ultimately, increase your revenue while making you stand out from competitors.

The hospitality environment is unique in that customers enter with the strong intention to spend money. Creating a unique, informative and personalisable experience is appreciated, and even if this involves spending more money, customers see it as a good thing, providing they have a good time.

13 top upselling techniques in bars:

1. Understand your customer

Take time to speak to each customer, asking what they like to drink and asking plenty of questions so you understand their preferences. When you know what they like, you can sell more expensive, similar products, or even cocktails that include the same ingredients.

2. Know your menu

Make sure you know your drinks menu so you are able to give informed facts about the flavour, and the experience they will enjoy with each choice of drink.

3. Make recommendations

Based on the customer’s taste, make informed recommendations. To do this, you must listen, know your menu and apply critical thinking to suggest something they will enjoy. Feel free to give personal recommendations and share the drinks you love most. When asking somebody what they would like to drink, if they aren’t sure, offer to recommend some of the most popular drinks you have on offer. If the customer already knows what they want, for example, a rum and coke, you are still able to take the opportunity, asking “do you have a preferred rum, or can I recommend one for you?”

4. Educate customers

Use this opportunity to educate your customers. Tell them the ingredients, flavours and stand-out attributes of each drink, explaining why specific additions work well, and how they can enhance their experience through premium liquors or more expensive drinks.

5. Be passionate

Show passion for each drink on offer. A moody or deflated person behind the bar can ruin an entire experience, so don’t be afraid to show your personality and enjoy your job. Show excitement for what you do, have fun with your customers and create a fantastic overall experience for every customer that comes into your bar.

6. Make drinks appealing

When describing each drink, use language which makes it sound appealing, creating anticipation and desire around the drink and encouraging customers to buy it. A drink that is “delicious” or “gorgeous” is a lot more appealing than one which is “nice”. Get creative when serving cocktails and make drinks presentable… after all, making attractive looking drinks will encourage more sales and create tempting and Instagrammable choices.

7. Build rapport

By creating rapport with your customer, they will trust your recommendations, enjoy your conversation and be more likely to return in the future. This can be done by chatting to them, impressing with bar skills, or even remembering the drink they had last time.

8. Offer premium liquor

When drinks are ordered, offer premium liquors. Don’t always suggest they go for the most expensive option, as this will be obvious upselling. Instead, try giving two top-shelf options at varying price points, explaining the benefits of each. More often than not, the customer will choose one of the two, increasing the price of the drink.

9. Encourage trying something new

If you know they love gin and tonic, why not recommend a premium gin? Explain how it is similar to the ones they are familiar with, but why they will be glad they have tried something a little different. Upselling techniques in bars should be about recommending great flavours and new experiences.

Whether it’s flavoured gin or a cocktail which sells particularly well in your bar, share the most popular drinks and explain what makes them so fantastic. Tempt your customers to try the best-selling and most on-trend options.

11. Upsize to upsell

Ask customers if they would like to make their drink a double, or suggest any promotional deals which are running, encouraging them to purchase multiple drinks, or a more expensive drink at a reduced price.

12. Create a reason

Explain to the customer why a certain drink may suit them well. Perhaps it will compliment what they are eating, or go particularly well after their last drink. Create a reason in the customer’s mind, helping them to justify purchasing another drink, or spending more.

13. Create an experience

When people go for a drink in a bar, they are often looking for an experience. If they are entertained and enjoy the atmosphere and service, they are likely to stay for longer, spending more and giving you even more opportunities to upsell and wow them.

By implementing these upselling techniques in bars, you can increase customers’ spend while creating a memorable experience that boosts customer loyalty.