How a Single Word Increased a Bar’s Sales
by +50%

The story of a smart barkeeper who used an easy psychological trick for up-selling.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with an old friend from university. We decided to head to some new bar that had just opened up in Vienna, grabbed a seat and looked through the menu. I decided for a bottled beer while my friend went for a Gin & Tonic.

The bar offered their regular Gin & Tonic for 5,90€, but they also had various, more expensive brands of gin to offer. So, instead of preparing a regular Gin & Tonic, the barkeeper did something so simple yet clever, that I couldn’t help but gaze in awe when I realised the genius of it. He said:

“Great choice! What kind of gin do you prefer?”

There it was, the one word that changed everything. Would he have asked which gin to “use” or even which gin he “liked”, the choice would have been a regular gin a hundred times over.

Yet, by asking for a general and personal preference, he isolated the question from the specific situation. You could literally see my friend thinking: “Well, if you ask me what I prefer, I’d definitely go with a different kind of gin”. That kind, turned out to be a Hendricks Gin which also had a slightly upper price point: 9,90€.

Now, how rude would a barkeeper be, not to bring a customer the gin he just said he preferred? Slightly amused about the puzzled look on our faces, he thanked us for the order and set out to prepare, well, a bottled beer (no up-sell here) and a Hendricks Gin & Tonic.

A single word. 50% increase in sales.
Now, that’s efficiency.

On the author:

Andreas is the Founder & CEO of Record Bird. We notify music fans about new and upcoming records by their favourite bands and musicians.
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Published in Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking