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A Simple Upselling Technique for Cafes

  • 5 min read

Do You Ask Customers The Magic Question?

Guest post by Rita Zhang

Did you know?

There is a simple magic question you could be asking your customers that may bring you $100,000 in extra income this year…

A Story About an Almost Missing Magic Question

I just had a nice relaxing weekend with my family. I took my two daughters to a newly opened local café.

The decoration was very tasteful, staff were friendly, and the café was jam packed with a lot of families.

A waitress got us a table, sat us down, gave us the menu, and asked if we’d like a drink to start with, excellent customer service.

My café latte arrived minutes later at the right temperature with lovely latte art on top. It had a creamy and sweet taste … made by a professional barista. 

No wonder the café is doing extremely well, it had all the right ingredients, I thought to myself, even though it had only opened a few weeks ago.

As soon as we finished our yummy breakfast, the waitress cleared our dishes and left without saying anything. If only she offered another coffee, I would have said ‘yes’. Another couple of minutes passed as I waited for one of my daughters to finish her eggs on toast.

Now, I was really in need of another coffee. As I was looking for the waitress (to order another coffee), my eyes stopped on these beautiful slices of mud cake in the display fridge.

Upselling technique that asks the magic question

Now, I desperately wanted another coffee – and that piece of mud cake seemed more tempting … I was slightly agitated now that several waitresses had gone past me, and yet none of them seemed inclined to stop and ask if I wanted anything else (mud cake!!!).

Finally, as the waitress came to collect my daughter’s plate, I jumped at the opportunity. “May I have another café latte and a piece of that chocolate mud cake please..”. The waitress said “sure” and turned to my daughter and asked “Would you like another drink?”, to which she replied “Yes please, another hot chocolate.”, which she didn’t need. Being a mum who didn’t want to disappoint her, I reluctantly said “yes”.

I sat there thinking. What an easy upselling technique it is!  

How easy it was for this score an extra sale of 2 drinks and a cake, which added an extra $11 to our bill in the process. Yet most staff don’t ask the magic question “Would you like another drink | coffee?”

Even at this busy cafe, they almost missed out on the extra purchases, because the waitresses hadn’t yet been trained to recognising an upselling situation … me sitting there waiting for my daughters, without a drink.

Training Staff to Upsell in Your Cafe

How often have you experienced this as a customer? Annoyed about not being asked and just walking away with the money you desperately wanted to part with? See, how important it is to ask “Would you like another coffee?”

Imagine, all your staff are trained to ask this every time they clear a table. To simply ask the customer “Would you like another coffee?”, or “Would you like a cake or something sweet as a dessert?” or “Would you like anything to share?” 

Even if they get a ‘no thank you’ most of the time, those times when customers say ‘yes’, can improve the takings of your café, drastically.

Let’s do the maths … if 1 in 3 customers says ‘yes’, and each customer spends on the average of $6 extra, this means an extra sale of $300-$500 per day. Which easily gives you an extra $75k-$125k in revenue per year

That’s how much are you may be missing out by not asking the magic question.

Make sure you train each of your staff. It doesn’t cost you extra to get them to ask a couple of simple questions, but it could give you a massive $100k extra income per annum.

And we know that this upselling technique works, because one of the biggest franchises on the planet uses it all the time!

Research Proves This Cafe Upselling Technique Works

The giant franchise ‘McDonald’ understands the power of this upselling technique. They add it in to their systems and processes that every staff must follow.

Even if you’ve only ever been to a McDonald’s once in your life you would be familiar with the “Would you like fries with that?’ or ‘Would you like to upsize your drink?’. McDonalds has done their research and know exactly how much these simple questions add to store revenue. 

In fact, they found that 1 in 3 people will take up the offer when asked .

So, make sure that you build the magic questions into your staff training. Get your staff to upsell as often as possible (without it getting pushy) and at every opportunity when they have contact with your customers.

This cafe upselling technique is just one the secrets described in the ‘129 Secrets for Doubling Your Cafe Profits’ ebook, available here on Cafe Coach.

I know it is simple, however it’s something that many cafes don’t do! That means they’re missing out on thousands of dollars. Don’t let that be you.

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