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Drive Thru TechnologyThe Power of Suggestive Selling in the QSR Drive Thru

Posted by Chris Mims | March 9, 2018


The value wars are back in the quick service industry. As leading QSR brands continue a successful return to the value menu and more join the fight, the winners will seek to capitalize on increased visit frequency by building loyalty and driving long-term sales growth.

One key strategy for accomplishing this and winning the value wars is suggestive selling. And nowhere is this more true than in the drive thru.

As the origin of up to 70 percent of a QSR’s business, the drive thru is a suggestive selling treasure chest waiting to be unlocked.

Before jumping into what this looks like in the QSR drive thru, let’s examine some suggestive selling guidelines.

Suggestive Selling Guidelines

First, it’s essential to consider how your suggestive selling strategy fits into your larger business goals and marketing campaigns. This is critical because if these strategies are not aligned, then suggestive selling, even when successful, could highlight menu items infrequently that should be highlighted in a greater capacity with designated menu space.

For example, if increasing milkshake sales is a goal across your whole QSR ecosystem, then giving it the space it needs for a constant presence on the menu and suggestive selling another high-margin, complementary item might be a better strategy.

A successful suggestive selling campaign should also be data-driven. By analyzing product sales, QSRs can suggest items that complement orders and avoid scenarios where consistently added menu items are suggested to guests who, based on purchasing trends, are already likely to order the items. In this case, letting the guests established preferences lead the way and then suggesting other, lesser known menu items can allow suggestive selling to work its magic.

Now let’s look at how this can work in the QSR drive thru.

How Does Suggestive Selling Work in the Drive Thru?

With Order Confirmation Units embedded in Digital Menu Boards, the integration with the Point of Sale allows for much more than prompts for the crew to offer suggestions. By automating the process through business rules and logic, QSRs can remove the burden from the crew and provide guests with a simple and enjoyable ordering process that drives up average ticket sales.

The best place to start is with complementary selling. When QSRs automate the process and build a strategy based on suggestive selling logic, they can highlight relevant items that complement a guest’s order.

This strategy allows for QSRs to highlight the marginalized items that customers might not know about and stand the greatest chance of increasing sales above known purchasing trends.

Selling Success: A Case Study

Here’s an example: one leading QSR brand recently used Outdoor Digital Menu Boards with Integrated Order Confirmation from SICOM to highlight a high-margin complementary item in one of their restaurants when combos or drinks were ordered in the drive thru.

With this one strategic suggestion, the sales of the add-on item increased by 7.8x over a period of three months.

And when this QSR highlighted combos when a la carte sandwiches were ordered in the drive thru, combo sales increased by 3.7 percent in the drive thru.

This success illustrates the power of using strategic logic to highlight items that guests might want with their orders. And when other layers of logic are added and business rules are adjusted for various day parts and individual locations, QSRs can transform their drive thru into a revenue generating machine.

The Power of Seeing

These kinds of results represent the power of strategically selecting items that complement specific orders. Not only that, this example hints at another critical truth behind suggestive selling: showing the item through vibrant, video-based visuals goes far beyond what suggestions from crew members could ever accomplish.

A distant voice asking the guest if they would like to add a cookie to their order can’t compete with an appetizing visual of a delicious cookie right there on the screen alongside the order. In the split-second decision making process of ordering in the drive thru, the right visual can be all that’s needed for guests to add additional items to their order.

When contextually relevant menu items are combined with enticing visuals, the drive thru can become a powerhouse of suggestive selling that drives up average ticket sales and gives each guest a seamless and enjoyable experience.

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Unlock the power of suggestive selling in your QSR drive thru. 

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