Upsell Beer with Waitstaff Sales Training


There’s nothing like a cold beer to beat the heat of the summer season. In fact, beer is so popular this time of year, it almost sells itself! But despite the easy sale, the beer trade comes with a few costly negatives: kegs take up space, bottles must be stocked, all of it must be kept cold — make that ice cold — to exceed guest expectations. To maximize profits, train your servers on opportunities to upsell beer. Here are a few techniques and dialogue examples to get you started:

Strategies to Upsell Beer

  • Have servers and bartenders suggest beer as part of their opening dialogue: “How about a frosty mug of our new Hefeweizen to get you started?”
  • Creating pairings to upsell beer with appetizers. “We have a great selection of icy cold beer on tap. Tonight we’re featuring two draft beers and an order of nachos or hot wings for a special price!”
  • Use key words like “icy” and “cold” and pair beer, especially on hot days out on the patio.
  • Train on the the 4 Ps of Product Knowledge. To upsell beer effectively, servers and bartenders must know the different types of beer you offer as well as the best food pairings.
  • If you offer pitchers, servers should always suggest a trade-up when two or more customers at the same table ask for a draft: “We’re featuring a great deal on pitchers of our light draft today. A pitcher will save you $1.50.”
  • If you sell two sizes, train servers to automatically nod their head up and down while saying “Large?”
  • For large parties, upsell beer by offering bottles “by the bucket” at a special price, paired with your most popular appetizer.
  • List beers brewed in the United States as “American” not “domestic.” If you sell beer made by local craft brewers, practice sales dialogue that helps servers promote the idea of supporting local business.
  • Always compliment your guest’s order: “A large Belgian White? Great choice!”
  • Keep bottles of beer selections prominently displayed (and dust free) on the back bar, but be sure servers can recite them by name, instead of just pointing above the bar when a guest inquires about the selection.

Balance Upselling Beer with Responsible Service

While increased beer sales will lead to more profits for restaurants and more tips for servers, your restaurant must sell and serve beer responsibly. Train your staff on responsible alcohol sales to ensure they never sell to an underage or intoxicated guest.

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