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What techniques do you use to upsell?

Answer examples and advice for how to answer this interview question for a Bartending interview

How to Answer

You may think that bartenders are not in the business of sales, but that is untrue! For the bartender who thinks in dollar signs, this means the more sales, the more tips.

Before you start your shift, you may want to agree upon the specials and be thinking of how you can suggest them to your customers. If your bar serves food, you'll want to be familiar with the menu so that you can recommend dishes that pair well with the drinks your customer's order. Perhaps you suggest top-shelf instead of well.

What techniques do you use to upsell?
Answer example

"I am great with upselling my customers or pushing the latest specials. If a customer asks for an IPA, and we have a similar local craft brew available, I will suggest that they try it. Local craft pints sell at our bar for an additional $1.50 which adds up at the end of the day!"

Entry Level

"I think that the best way to upsell as a bartender would be to recommend a cocktail before the wine and food are delivered to the table. This upsell technique would require a strong knowledge of the menu."


"To upsell, I always recommend top-shelf liquor. We have a lot of gin drinkers in my current establishment. We sell the well gin for $4/shot, and it's Gordon's gin. We also sell Hendricks gin for $8/shot. I have a few of our regulars hooked on Hendricks, soda, and a slice of cucumber. Some people prefer the unique taste and find the small splurge to be quite nice."

View user-submitted Answers

What techniques do you use to upsell?
Talk customer into drinking a mixed drink instead of a beer.
I offer a premium liquor if they order just a call drink.
With tequila its never a good idea to go chep if you want to have an enjoyable night its best to go with the better liquor.
Explain in nice way using some amazing words to create the mouth watery to the guests.
Educating the customer on our product so that I can find the perfect fit of them. This requires knowing the products well, listening to the customer, and applying the critical thinking skills needed to recommend something that they will enjoy.
Primarily recommending things that I think they would like.
Ask if they would like their drink with better product.
Just ask them what liquor brand they would like first.
I tell customer how much I love the new cocktail I try to make sure I upsell to a certain audience.
I recommend drinks that I know the customer will like based on what they originally asked for.
I try to inform customers that the quality of the drink is all about the ingredients.
I usually ask them what they are in the mood to drink. If they want a mixed drink ill offer them a double shot in their drink. If they arent sure about a certain dish ill tell them its a popular food item and one of my personal favourites . Also at my job we have different sections for salads pasta pizza and meats. Ill usually go with something that is a middle to higher price range without reccomending the most expensive thing on the menu to tip them off that im just trying to upsell.
If some one ask for a drink and spent prefer them brand then ask them if they like it with premium liquiors. Also, you ca also tell them it's a spread more but taste a lot better.
I talk to them about great flavors that make the experience better.
Offers specific items, make suggestions, demonstrate enthusiasm.
When someone ask for a drink I always ask if they have a preference in liquor. Or I try to offer them to try a certain type of premium cocktail that they would like according to what they are drinking.
I tend of educate my guest first and recommend that they try it. If they are ordering food, I always suggest a cocktail and followed by a glass of wine with their main course.
I will use the mouth publicity.
I tend to use terms that would peak intersts or explain simple mouth watering flavors to get the anticipation and desire for the drink.
Just tell the them the better the liguior better the drink will taste.
Alwas try to sale more rated items of the menu and sale abroad brand and classic cocktail.
I would ask the customer what brand of liquor they would like used in their drink, and list the call or premium brand to them. I would also let them know what brand I think makes the best cocktail.
When they ask I want a vodka soda I put them on the spot which vodka and if still they choose well I suggest a premium one and tell them the price difference so they can choose the expensive vodka.
Asking if they prefer a more expensive liquore, ask about dining or suggest an appetizer.
I choose a product that I choose to introduce to customers and come up with 2 drinks that I can suggest that they try.
I recommend what my personal favorites are. People love to hear the bartenders favorite items, and I have found that simply by suggesting my favorite beer, liquor, or wine more often than not wins the guest over.
With my knowledge of alcohol I can upsell using flavor profiles that would enhance the favorite flavor/taste in the drink.
I ask what type of spirit they prefer and list the brands and I make a reccomendation.
Asking what type of liquor they like if they tried a better brand, ask if they heard about new liquor or would like to try.
Sell from expensive till cheap.
A lot of people ask for a vodka soda. I suggest Goose.
It depends on the customer and the time and establishment, but suggesting a shot with their beer, suggesting a new premium liquor or offering the food menu are the most common techniques.
Talking to the customers about the benefits.
Example: guest orders vodka martini. my response: excellent choice, it is my drink of choice also, may I recomend belveder as the vodka? vodka is gauged on its purity as I am sure you know, and I can craft you a far superior martini for you to enjoy, the investment is only an additional $$
By making my guest comfortable appreciated and satisfied.
Offer finer liquors in cocktail drinks, after a connection is made with the customer.
Say they won't get a hang over with better tasting, more distilled alcohol.
Ask if they want to make their drink a double, or suggest some of the deals on at that moment.
Talking about the product knowing the different flavour profiles speaking to the customer asking what they want.
Like I said earlier automatically give them a choice between 2 liquors for example would you like captain morgan or bacardi rum they wont notice the fact that you are upselling.
Give animated description to entice customer.
Ask any preference with the spirit and talk through our range of prestigious spirits.
Very simple the specialty of the restaurant or what would he/she like to eat.
Usualy offer two spirits both top shelf customer picks one upsell.
I like to subtly mention how this brand tastes fantastic and they should definitely give it a go.
Have a drink in mind that is a little more priced and offer them, telling them what's in it and that everyone loves it.
Someone is looking at drinks, ask them "Hey, have you tired (pricey drink inserted here)?" "No" "No? It's amazing... (describe drink)" It's not rocket science =P Fake it til you make it. Common sales knowledge.
Suggest top shelf brand liquer.
Adding on extra flavors, suggesting more expensive ales.

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