Upselling Tequila to Make a More Memorable Experience for Guests

It feels like nearly every street in every town has an unending number of options for places to eat and drink. People living in large cities could eat at a different establishment every day for a year and still not come close to experiencing all the new restaurants just waiting to be explored. Considering the sheer number of choices, it’s unsurprising that 60% of bars and restaurants close within the first year, and 80% close within their first five years.

For bars and restaurants to succeed, they must do more than serve quality food and drinks. They need to offer guests an experience they won’t find anywhere else. This can come from a quirky atmosphere, a one-of-a-kind menu, or a knowledgeable staff that introduces and educates customers on new things they haven’t tried before.

For an establishment to stand out, training bar and waitstaff on how to recommend a new twist on a guest favorite can be the spark that turns first-time guests into repeat customers.

Don’t Just Take Orders, Create Experiences

Let’s imagine two guests walking into a restaurant for the first time and having a seat at the bar. The bartender asks what they’d like to drink, and the guests order two house margaritas. The bartender nods, makes the drinks, and the guests go about the rest of their meal. This is a perfectly fine interaction and an example of good service. The guests got what they ordered and enjoyed it.

Now, let’s imagine this scenario a little differently. The same guests take a seat at the bar, the bartender asks what they’d like to drink, and the guests both order a house margarita. Except this time, rather than nodding and making the drinks, the bartender offers a suggestion.

The bartender tells the guests about a new favorite tequila they have behind the bar. They explain that unlike the well tequila the restaurant uses in its house margaritas, this tequila is made from 100% mountain-grown Blue Weber agave. It’s artisanally crafted in small batches using traditional techniques and sustainable growing practices, and, oh, by the way, it’s the smoothest-tasting tequila they have ever tried.

Just like that, the interaction between the guests and the bartender has completely changed. Rather than only having their order taken, the guests are being engaged and made a part of an experience. They’re being told a story with them at the center of the narrative. The guests already wanted to order a margarita, but now they’ve had their eyes opened to something new and potentially exciting. They’re intrigued by what the bartender is saying and agree to have their margaritas made with Suavecito Tequila.

The good house margarita, which the guests enjoyed in our first scenario, is now a great margarita. The guests are beyond pleased because of the additional attention they received from the bartender, who went out of their way to let these guests in on a little secret. Instead of having a good meal with a good drink, the guests had a memorable experience, one they are likely to share with friends and want to repeat.

Impressed with the bartender’s recommendation, the guests tip a little more than usual. Because of the upcharge from a house margarita to a Suavecito Tequila margarita, the restaurant makes a little more money. Since they were blown away by the attentiveness of the service and the quality of the cocktail, the guests returned in a week and then again three weeks later, and suddenly, the restaurant had two new regulars.

Give Your Staff the Tools They Need to Succeed

Every bar and restaurant would love to have their staff upsell, whether that means convincing a guest to order the filet instead of a salad or having their drinks made with a premium spirit rather than the well. Unfortunately, not every establishment gives their employees the tools and knowledge needed to upsell, which can make staff feel uncomfortable in the moments where they can influence a guest’s decision on what to order.

Too frequently, the most common way a staff member is taught to upsell is also the least effective. How often have you heard a guest order a drink, and the server or bartender responds, “Do you have a preference?”

“Can I get a margarita?”

“Do you have a preference on tequila?”

“I would like a gin & tonic.”

“What gin would you like?”

“Give me a rum & coke.”

“Any preference on rum?”

The problem with this technique is that it puts all the pressure on the guest to provide an answer, making it too easy for them to order the well spirit rather than a premium one.

A guest who orders a house margarita may not know any particular tequila by name. They can’t give a preference because they don’t have an answer. At best, a guest in this position waves off the question and says it doesn’t matter. At worst, they feel embarrassed at not knowing what to say and dislike being put on the spot.

It’s unreasonable to expect every staff member to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the spirits behind your bar, but you can train them for specific moments.

For example, when a guest orders a house margarita, move your staff away from asking for a preference and toward offering a suggestion.

“Can I get a house margarita?”

“Sure, may I recommend you try that made with Suavecito Tequila? It takes our house margarita to another level, and I think you’ll love it.”

With this subtle shift, the server has given the guest a choice: Do you want the ordinary margarita or the extraordinary margarita? Rather than being put on the spot to come up with an answer, the guest is presented with an intriguing new option to which they are far more likely to say yes.

You Can Afford to Have Nice Things

Too often, bars and restaurants focus on cost at the expense of quality. In an industry with such razor-thin margins, paring down costs wherever possible makes sense. However, there are certain ways restaurants can actually make money by strategically spending a little more.

Take, for example, the classic house margarita. It’s tempting for an establishment to try and make these as profitable as possible by using low-quality tequila and ingredients. However, at Suavecito Tequila, we’ve heard first-hand from bar owners how spending a little more on their house margaritas can make a big difference to their bottom line.

Recently, an owner of a Mexican restaurant told our founder, Bill Foss, a story the last time he visited his establishment. The owner told Bill he’d decided to start making his house margarita with Suavecito Tequila rather than the less expensive tequila he’d used previously.

The house margarita was the most popular item on his cocktail menu, and it would have been easy to continue making the same amount on every cocktail sold, especially when compared to lowering his profit margin by switching to Suavecito Tequila. Yet, every time he’d make a margarita for a guest with Suavecito Tequila, they would rave about how much they loved it. So, he took a risk and was rewarded.

Now, his restaurant is known for having the best house margarita in town. Guests have repeatedly told him that when deciding where to get Mexican food, they pick his place over others because of how much they love the house margarita. Word of mouth has spread, and his business has picked up, all because he decided to give guests an experience they couldn’t find anywhere else.

Give Your Guests the Gift of Extraordinary

Standing out in the crowded restaurant and bar space requires providing guests with memorable moments. Whether telling them a story, making a recommendation, or offering a one-of-a-kind cocktail, every establishment has an opportunity to connect with customers during each visit in ways that will leave them coming back for more.

Want to embrace the extraordinary? Connect with a distributor in your area to make Suavecito Tequila the star of your bar or restaurant’s cocktail program.

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