Up-sell, Cross-sell, Out-sell

Mastering Complementary Selling in Your QSR

Operating with a sales mindset in your quick service restaurant has never been more critical.

For the QSR, achieving the objectives of accuracy, speed, and quality can be all-consuming. In the midst of rigorous daily demands and competing operational objectives, it can be challenging for the busy QSR to find the time to shift its mindset from running to proactively selling.

The premise of suggestive selling is this: what a guest orders, when a guest orders, and where a guest orders all provide contextual clues into what the guest is most likely to add to his or her order. Suggestive selling makes informed predictions about complementary menu items, then suggests those items during the ordering process.

In addition to point of sale solutions, which still prompt crew to make relevant suggestions, today’s franchisees can also make use of an arsenal of advanced suggestive selling technologies that remove the burden from restaurant crews and provide an automated answer to selling more.

Let’s take a look at the What, When, and Where logic behind suggestive selling QSR technologies.

– What They Order: Suggestive selling technologies use integrated QSR point of sale data to augment a guest’s order with complementary products. This ensures that the items promoted are not repeats, and increases the likelihood that promotions are relevant to the guests who see them. For example, a guest who orders a chicken sandwich meal might also enjoy a dessert for a discounted rate.

– When They Order: Suggestive selling also considers day parts to draw conclusions about guests’ likely orders. It is important to note that day parts vary by day of week, requiring advanced suggestive selling logic. For example, a bacon and egg sandwich may not appeal to guests on a Wednesday afternoon, but it might be a top seller all afternoon on Saturday.

Where They Order: Suggestive selling considers restaurant location, including a geographic region’s preferred menu items, or proximity to a school or office park. Location-based elements have a lot to do with what a guest is likely to order, so it’s important that suggestive selling strategies be derived from each location’s individual buying habits. For example, a QSR near a university campus might have higher demand for soda, whereas a QSR near an office park might have higher demand for coffee.

Now let’s look at some specific technology solutions that can help your franchise become a more proactive marketer to each and every guest:

1. Dual-Facing POS Screen

First up is the future-forward cousin of point of sale prompts. A dual-facing POS screen significantly enhances the power of suggestive selling by involving both guests and crew in the process. Suggestive selling on the crew-facing screen prompts employees to remind guests of items and promotions that might interest them during the ordering process. Meanwhile, the guest-facing screen presents helpful order summary information, along with vibrant promotions that prompt guests to complement their order with additional LTOs.

Imagine this: In the late afternoon, a customer is looking for a caffeine fix and orders a small iced coffee. The customer is about to pay, but looks at the display, which suggests adding a pastry for a small up-charge. The QSR employee converts the guest’s craving into a sale by asking the customer if he would like to add the pastry. The customer adds the pastry, increasing his ticket total by 50 percent.

2. Digital Menu Boards

QSR digital menu boards engage customers from the moment they enter a restaurant or approach the drive-thru with high-definition content and graphics. Through suggestive selling, QSR digital signage evolves features and promotions across locations and day parts to maximize relevance and drive sales.

Consider this scenario: A college student walks into a QSR next to her university. It’s 3 p.m. on a Saturday. While deciding what to order, she sees a mouth-watering breakfast sandwich on the digital menu board. She instantly orders the breakfast sandwich, which becomes a new favorite. Meanwhile, a woman is visiting another location of the same QSR brand, which is situated in a suburban area. She sees a healthy option promoted on the menu board and quickly adds it to her order as an early, on-the-go dinner.

3: Drive-Thru Order Confirmation Systems

Integrated with the point of sale, Order Confirmation Units (OCUs) have long been known for their ability to increase order accuracy. But today’s OCUs are actually capable of much more. The bright screens feature items that are not only visually enticing, but contextually relevant to a guest’s specific order. The OCU is a powerful pillar of suggestive selling in the drive-thru, which accounts for the majority of QSR sales.

Picture this: It’s the dinnertime rush and a customer just finished ordering meals for his family at the drive-thru. The order confirmation screen displays a clear, enticing picture of a gooey chocolate chip cookie. The guest quickly adds cookies to the order for his kids to enjoy.

Start Selling!

Advanced suggestive selling technologies have the power to directly grow your bottom line. Are you interested in learning more about how you can harness suggestive selling to increase sales at your restaurants? 

Start Selling

Learn how you can harness suggestive selling to increase sales.

Contact SICOM Today

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This post was updated on September 4, 2018. 

Chris Mims
October 16, 2017

Harnessing his rich expertise in delivering data-driven digital signage experiences, Chris assists restaurant brands and franchises in serving up content that will maximize impact based on their unique business rules and requirements.

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