Food business tips to get your staff to upsell effectively

Here’s some more of our top tips to get your staff to upsell the best they can.

Upselling is crucial to the success of your outlet. It not only adds a significant amount of turnover to your business, but can also improve your customer base.

However, perfecting the art of the upsell so it is done effectively can be tricky. Those operating in cafes and coffee shops, within the leisure industry and even within travel catering, need to be on top of their game if they are going to achieve the best results. Here are some key pointers to get you thinking.


QSR, takeaway/delivery, travel

Quick service restaurants and travel catering all have something in common, and that’s speed. Customers who order from any of these outlets need to be in and out, which is why your menu, particularly your takeaway offering, needs to be impressive.

The good news is, when a customer wants to order from you, whether that be in store or online, you are already halfway there. You have their attention and they want your food or/and drink. You need to capitalise on this. Make the upsell a deal, something to make the customer feel they have won. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a well designed and laid out menu. They can offer plentiful upselling and cross-selling opportunities. The same goes for those offering a delivery service. Why not sneak in a special or a promotional menu along with the customer’s meal to help encourage them to order something new next time?

Cafés and coffee shops

Sometimes it’s as simple as asking the question, would you like another coffee, or can I get you anything else? It’s pretty basic but at the same time, an extremely successful upselling technique. Whether you operate grab & go or an all-day dining offering or even both, cafés and coffee shops are well placed to be able to enhance a customer’s order through upselling.

No doubt you have regulars popping in for their morning coffee. If so, get to know them and what they value. If you establish a relationship with them, you are in a stronger position to entice them to try something new tomorrow. In order for this to be effective, make sure you know which menu items have high profit margins. This could present opportunities for upselling straight away. But remember, every single item on your menu has the potential to upsell. An impactful menu will always serve you well.

Leisure & recreation

It is important that you are appealing to every kind of consumer and their different tastes, especially as the pandemic has encouraged people to be more conscious of their health and what they are putting into their body. Firstly, make sure your offering is what the consumer is looking for, which in this sector, is high quality, healthy food and drink.

Particularly within the soft drinks market, more people are opting for healthier choices such as low and no-sugar options. Ensure these offerings are in your range and also think about how and where you are selling your drinks. Is the range displayed in the best place possible for customers to see it? Are you showing off your wide variety of healthy alternatives the best you can?

Upselling is also an essential part of your customer service, so make sure your staff are communicating properly with your customers, without coming across too pushy. Get your staff to really engage with the consumer. Maybe even encourage the consumer to choose one of your healthier flavoured drinks. If done correctly, integrating upselling into your business philosophy could potentially maximise your profits. So, make sure it’s absolutely right. Here’s some more of our top tips to get your staff to upsell the best they can.

Training and having the right staff

Hiring the right employees can really generate value for your customers. This is fundamental to the success of your business. Within your team you will no doubt have varying experience levels and therefore different levels of ability when it comes to upselling. Those with more knowledge on the subject can help you and your team in sharing previous experiences.

Make sure your staff are well versed on any specials or promotions like ‘deal of the day’ for example, so they can effectively make your customers aware of them. But when doing this, ensure your staff are enthusiastic about the items they are suggesting. To help target different areas of your business why not try a different upsell focus for staff each month.

Try holding engaging and hands-on training sessions to assist staff in developing the art of upselling. Role play is one option. It could be a fun and interactive way to practice scenarios together. Encourage your staff to take turns to test each other on what’s on offer for that month.

Alongside practical training why not try using online learning tools? There’s lots out there in terms of industry expertise to help you and your team make the venue the best it possibly can be

Promote healthy competition

Staff incentives are a great motivator. Why not try rewarding your team each month with a cash bonus, free meal and drinks or experience days to recognise having done a great job? If your team are seeing rewards in return for excellent performance, they know it is appreciated and that won’t go unmissed. They will in turn make that extra effort to go above and beyond.

The customer is always right

A satisfaction survey is a great way of getting feedback on all aspects of your business, including service. Perhaps even offer automatic entry into a prize draw as part of the process which gives customers the chance to win a free dinner and drinks package and in turn encourages them to provide you with their honest feedback. If your staff know that customers will be regularly feeding back, they will go the extra mile

Premiumisation is key

There are many ways in which to enhance the experience of a soft drink serve. Be innovative with your menu and make sure it sounds and looks as impressive as the alcoholic versions on offer.

Why not have a play around with your soft drinks offering to encourage customers to trade up from tap water? Even something simple like a soda water and lime can be enhanced to provide a better experience. For coffee shops or cafés offering an all-day dining experience, why not train your team to use unique glassware for example, or varying shapes and sizes of ice and garnishes which could pair well with the drink to improve any soft drink experience. You’d be surprised, these little additions could allow a more premium price tag because of the improved experience.

Tips & advice

For more tips and advice on menu offerings, check out our easy to follow checklist, sample menu and more.