premier-mcdougal 5/2/20
The Lowdown on Upselling

The Lowdown on Upselling

Research by wine service educators Veraison, undertaken during 2016 demonstrated that while 42% of diners would be inclined to buy a bottle of wine based upon a staff recommendation, over half of the same audience felt that staff in restaurants and bars didn’t know enough about the wines on their listings. Small wonder then that for many, a glass of the house wine is the safe option!

Getting customers to opt for a more expensive, better quality wine should therefore be everyone’s objective, as not only will the customer be getting a superior product, your margins will be dramatically improved too. Here’s how to make a difference:

House wine
• The cheapest wine shouldn’t be your house offering
• Choose house wines that reflect the character of your establishment – and explain why on your listings
• Remember that with lower priced wines, paying 10% more gets you much more than that % in quality
• Ask your supplier about bespoke labels to enhance your house wines
• Offer house wine by the glass, half bottle and bottle

Upselling Charts

Wine lists
• Categorise wines by country
• Include a brief, clear description e.g. Gavi – a crisp, dry and nutty white wine from the Piedmont area of Northern Italy – a perfect accompaniment to rich seafood
• Have upsell options e.g. good, better and best options
• Don’t forget to include sherries, dessert wines and port on your listings
• Offer good alternatives to the readily available labels

On your menuwine and beer
• Include a wine or sherry pairing with every dish
• Clearly indicate which wines are available by the glass
• Match your cheese board and desserts to ports and dessert wines

Staff training
Staff should be comfortable about discussing your wines with customers. This is critical to your success.
• Hold regular tastings alongside the dishes each wine best complements
• Provide staff with a one sentence description of each wine – ask staff to learn them
• Hold regular prize quizzes for food and wine pairings, upsell options and wine descriptions
• Run an incentive for non-house wine sales
• Make sure there is always a ‘wine champion’ on-hand to answer any detailed wine questions
• Put notes on order pads to prompt staff to ask ‘which port?’ when customers are ordering a dessert
• Encourage staff to offer their own experience e.g saying “I love this wine with that dish” has real power when talking to a customer who has asked for advice


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