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Sep 1, 2009 12:13 AM

Restaurant Upselling..

Servers have become extremely aggresive in their approach to upsell and it doesn't stop at the bottled water, wine or dessert anymore..
Understand the dynamics of the larger the check, the bigger the tip but it seems that the approach and the bombardment of the upsell is beyond overkill.
Any thoughts?

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  1. I think it really depends on the resto and whether or not you're a regular. There's a certain so-so gourmet burger joint in Montreal where everything is an extra and they try to upsell you up the wazoo. Been there twice, never went back. There are also a bunch of downtown restaurants owned by the same group, that are all about the upsell and insane wine mark-ups. Never been based on reputation. Of course these places are aimed at the oblivious and affluent. I'm not one of those people and I don't frequent those joints. If I ever do get a pushy waiter I just graciously turn them down and make a mental note to never return no matter how good the food is. The few more upscale places I do frequent are usually much better about upselling you, and it's part of why I go there. I have very low tolerance for bullshit.

    1. if you call a realtor and tell them your budget is $250000 they will show you houses at $300,000 plus and if you walk into a commission only store they will try to see what else they can sell you.
      Isn't it kind of the same thing?

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie

        Well, I'll look at the 300K house and try to negotiate the price down.

      2. I understand the wine, usually servers get a % of the bottle price, On the food front, the chef most likely wants to move product at it's freshest vs. having any left at the end of the night. I do agree, sometimes you can get pushed into a food item(s) that you may not have been interested in. It's all about sales.

        8 Replies
        1. re: treb

          I've been in the biz fifteen years and have never heard of a server getting a percentage of sold wine.

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            Ditto. Who told you that servers get a percentage of sold wine?

            Sure, occasionally a restaurateur will offer a financial incentive to "push" certain very profitable labels. The only "percentage," however, is the tip they receive on the pre-tax cost of the bottle.

            1. re: shaogo

              "Ditto. Who told you that servers get a percentage of sold wine?"

              It was per treb's post.

            2. re: invinotheresverde

              Maybe it's a policy by each est. I know several servers, at different places, that get a % of the price of the whole bottle sold but, not by the glass.

              1. re: treb

                Can you name the restaurants?

            3. re: treb

              I can honestly say that after 25 years as a server (in all levels of restuarants) I have never recieved a percentage of the bottle price. In fact, as some people don't tip on expensive wine (or often tip a smaller amount), it sometimes works better for me not to upsell.

              1. re: kimmer1850

                i can honestly say i always tip off the full bill, wine included. always. always.

                1. re: thew

                  Me too. DH sometimes differs on really pricy bottles but I feel if we can afford the wine we can afford the 20% to the server. They work really hard!

            4. I've found the upselling to be getting worse everywhere. In the past you could just turn down a store credit card, but now salespeople go on for an additional 5 minutes about it. I haven't noticed it quite as much in restaurants since the bottled water, appetizer, and wine specials have pretty much been the norm for a while.

              1. Upselling is a ubiquitous part of the American landscape (Canada too, it appears), certainly not just with food. In Mexico, waving an outstretched index finger side-to-side means not just no, but hell no. It should be a universal standard, when someone is annoyingly and fecklessly wasting your time, and theirs.