Tags Posts tagged with "Upselling"


food truck upselling

Upselling is an important part of any food truck’s marketing and sales strategy and an obvious way to boost revenue. However, there’s a delicate balance between offering helpful suggestions to your customers and becoming an annoyance.

Food Truck Upselling

Every mobile food business strives to ensure its customers have the most enjoyable dining experience possible, and therefore, the last thing service staff should do is overly push them to order extra things they may not want.

On the other hand, many times customers are very receptive to or even appreciative of a server who goes the extra mile to suggest additional menu items they may not have thought to order on their own.

So how should your food truck strike the right balance between too much food truck upselling and not upselling enough? Easy, follow thes four food truck upselling tips.

4 Food Truck Upselling Tips

Know the customer

Your service window staff should take the time to personally know their customers, especially loyal ones.

To do so, train them to ask certain questions that will allow them to better understand their customers’ personal preferences and then offer particular menu suggestions, accordingly.

Make the upsell enticing

When upselling, customers will only be excited about their server’s suggestions if they are.

To help service staff be more convincing upsellers, during your regular staff meetings try slotting out time for mock scenarios, whereby service staff can test and fine-tune their upselling techniques with each other.

Another great way to do this is by regularly featuring different menu items with visual photos on your food truck’s Facebook page.

Look for queues from customers

Typically customers will let their server know, even if subtly, how they are feeling throughout the dining experience. By asking basic questions, such as: “Do you know about our specials today?” will let the server know whether or not their guests are receptive to additional menu suggestions.

Make sure service staff is knowledgeable about the menu

Every member of your staff must know your menu inside and out to be effective upsellers.

This includes making sure they have an opportunity to try different food/drink items as well as briefing them prior to their shift about any changes or specials that have been added to the menu.

Knowledgeable staff and stellar server interaction is always a must.

With these basic tips and techniques, you can ensure that upselling provides your food truck with a nice additional revenue flow, without compromising the customer experience.

Do you have any additional food truck upselling tips that could help our readers? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us, or share them on our Facebook page.

When you offer your food truck customers the right choices, you create memorable experiences that increase the value of your mobile food business brand.

customer choices

Offering the wrong choices can keep customers away from your service window. So, the challenge is determining which are the right choices for your customers.

It turns out the best choices you can offer your customers are those that allow them to personalize their experience with your business in a small way.

Why Up-selling May Be The Wrong Direction – Customers Want a Choice

Food service providers have historically used choice to bundle their menu products. This is known as up-selling.

The value in this approach is a better price for the consumer, and thus is exactly why up-selling discount packages is a poor choice. Bundling conditions your customers to be price sensitive.

Offering incentives for bundling can actually devalue your food truck menu if there is not a logical reason for it.

Most consumers recognize bundling as an approach that favors the business. The classic example is the super-sized combo meal.

Bundling conditions your customers to focus on the lowest common denominator – price.

Will that get your customers talking up their experience with your food truck? Don’t count on it.

Small Choices Allow Your Customers to Personalize Their Experience

At most food trucks, you choose your meal from selected offerings – what they do well. As an example, let’s look at trucks that sell burgers. For most of them, the choices are usually two:  regular and large – and with or without cheese.

This model provides customers with a simple first choice. Then the fun begins.

You get to personalize your order by choosing from extra toppings that are all FREE. This ranges from lettuce and tomato to fresh jalapenos and various sauces.

Now don’t worry about the customer that piles on all of the items…those costs become minimal. The net result is that the customer appreciates the added value and feels great about getting just what they wanted. The truck is now on its way to building personal relationships with their customers.

When you have your customers make easy choices you engage them in a collaboration – one that is interactive, inherently personal – and therefore, memorable.

Contrast that with the how fast food restaurants operate. If a customer asks nicely, they allow the order to be customized – mostly by deleting ingredients you do not like.

Isn’t it better to offer positive choices to the consumer that add value than permitting choices that devalue your menu items? Should a customer pay the same when it gets less? The key is making it their choice – then its ok.

So what is the burger and bun on your food truck menu? Once you have that figured out, now just add the right choices for your customers to customize their order –little ones that add big value for your customer.

Have you ever had a catering job client ask about how they can put their stamp on the event.? This question gives you the opportunity use your creative juices and opens the door to additional profits through up selling added features to your culinary presentation.

Chances are you have seen photo images on a cake before. Corporate logos for milestone celebrations. Favorite animated characters for birthday parties. If you have, then you’ve seen edible ink and how it can be used on culinary presentations.

edible paper cupcake
image from sweetsandsoirees.ca

To make edible transfers part of your food truck or catering repertoire you will need a few basic tools.

  • A computer.
  • A dedicated new ink jet printer (standard ink is toxic—you can’t use the printer you use to print out documents every day).
  • Edible rice paper. (made with rice starch, water and salt). The printable paper for cake decorating, known as wafer paper, is made of potato starch, vegetable oil and water.

Prices for these basics will vary but can normally be found at relatively low prices. New ink jet printers can be as inexpensive as $50, edible rice paper or wafer paper costs $19–$25 for a box of 100 8×11 sheets and edible ink cartridges are available for $65–$75.


  1. Bake cookies/crackers for 3/4 of the usual baking time, then pull from oven and brush with an egg wash while still hot.
  2. Apply the rice or wafer paper you’ve printed onto the cookies/crackers immediately after you’ve brushed them with egg wash, then apply another coat of egg wash.
  3. Finish baking the cookies/crackers.
  4. The rice paper will be clear and plastic-like when dry.


  • Rice paper absorbs moisture, so store it in a sealed container or Cryovac after each use to keep dry.
  • Take the cartridges with food color ink out of the printer and seal in plastic bags when not it use. This will help keep the ink from drying out so you can use it longer.
  • You may want to ask the source of your edible paper which printer works best for their paper.
  • Get as many of the images you want to transfer as possible onto each edible sheet to save paper—and money.
  • Edible ink and papers can be purchased online.
  • Kosher edible paper and ink are available.

Edible frosting sheets can be printed with edible ink and then put onto a frosted item. The sheets leave the printed image in the frosting.

Whether social or corporate, your catering clients will love seeing their logo, monogram or photos on food items you prepare for them. To help use this technique for up selling, have a sample ready for your meeting with the client; it might be what it takes to give you a competitive edge.

Weddings, mitzvahs, grand openings, fund-raisers, birthdays; no matter what the catered occasion, this upsell is a perfect fit. And these edible delights can stand alone or complement any sweet or savory culinary creation, so let your imagination fly.

suggestive selling

A common request from food truck owners to their staff is to raise the averages per customer order. The typical response from employees is to roll their eyes and head to their workstation to finish up side work before the truck opens it’s service window.

No one wants to be sold, yet we all want to buy. Selling has negative connotations of pushy salespeople. Now suggestive selling. That’s different. Someone who suggests something is doing us a favor.

I’m guessing that one of the easiest strategies to increase sales, suggestive selling, has been abandoned by most operators. When things are down, it’s easy to pull out the fold up chair, grab a beer and have a pity party.

5 Suggestive Selling Tips For Food Trucks

Well, let’s discuss how to use the power of suggestive selling to build food truck sales. Here are the key points:


Don’t sell, your food truck staff should suggest what would enhance a guest’s experience, not sell them something they’ll regret later. That 100 pound woman does not need, nor will she appreciate a double cut pork chop, since most of it will have to wait to be eaten until she gets home.

Enhance The Experience

The best suggestive selling upsells enhance the customers food experience. Recommend a shot of reduced Bailey’s or Amaretto to pour over their cheesecake. Not only will it turn an ordinary cheesecake into extraordinary cheesecake but it can often doubled the sale. Often your guests will leave thrilled with taking this type of suggestion home with them.

Sell The Benefit

There are certain items that were almost a given a catering client should order like drinks and desserts. If you ever meet with resistance with the drink upsell, use something similar to this script, “Our drink packs give you enough for each guest to have two drinks. You can pick from two flavors in gallon jugs: sweet tea, unsweetened tea, peach tea and lemonade. We give you the cups, ice, lemons, sweeteners and spoons for only $1.25 per guest. It sure beats heading down to [insert local grocery store chain here], loading up your cart with all of that and hauling it back to your office.”

The mental picture of wasting an hour, lifting heavy drinks to save a few bucks could make the sale. The benefit for your customers is time and energy savings!

Give Them A Reason Why

Why should I buy from you? Why should I take your suggestion. Sometimes you may offer a discount if the guest takes an up sell or if they buy two up sells. “We made too many of our fudge-nut iced brownies. If you order the drink pack for only $1.49 a guest, I can throw in the fudge-nut iced brownies. That’s a $1.25 a guest savings.

Sell Specifics

“Would you like dessert?” “Would you like brownies?” “Would you like to add our homemade fudge-nut iced brownies to your catering order? They’re a little thicker and richer than regular brownies, but not quite as thick and rich as a piece of fudge. It’s the perfect bit of sweet after one of our barbecue lunches.”

Now which phrase would get you to buy? Enough said.

Do you have any additional suggestive selling tips? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your thoughts via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Upselling is an easy way to improve your food truck’s profits immediately. It will increase customer satisfaction and check size, so take some time to train your staff in effective upselling techniques.


Follow these seven tips to help start a successful upselling campaign for your food truck:

Do not annoy your customers.

The best time for you to upsell is when the customer asks for your opinion. You can then suggest whatever you want. Otherwise, you or your staff can typically only pitch 1 or 2 upsells without annoying the customer. It is important to be subtle with your upselling techniques. Otherwise, the customer will feel pressured. Getting a few extra dollars from the customer does not do you any good if you permanently lose that customer due to pushy upselling techniques.

Predetermine items and times for upselling.

Train your staff to always upsell certain menu items at certain times. For example, if your Mexican Coke is a profitable item and is usually well-received, you should tell your employees to mention the Mexican Coke when they take customers’ drink orders. Or, if you run a Mexican themed truck, you could always ask customers in line if they would like to order chips and salsa while they are waiting in line.

Provide useful suggestions.

Upselling should seem like good service rather than a sales pitch. For this reason, it is best that each employee to know everything about menu offerings so they can practice good consultative selling and make appropriate suggestions. They should also have significant knowledge of wine and food pairings even if wine isn’t something that is served from food trucks. Customers appreciate these suggestions and won’t be viewed as a sales tactic, but as quality service.

Make the upsell enticing and convincing.

Staff should be knowledgeable and seem excited about the things they are selling. For example, servers should not just ask, “Would you like a dessert?” Instead, they should mention the benefits of getting a dessert and make the dessert sound enticing: “Would you like to end with something sweet?” Remember, a lot of people really do want the item you are upselling, but perhaps they are hesitant to overindulge or spend too much. All they need is to be convinced.

Upsell to uncertain customers.

Customers who look at the menu a long time or seem indecisive about what to order or hesitant in any way are most open to suggestion. Your employees should be trained to read body language and attitude, so they can identify the customers who might respond well to suggestions.

Make assumptions as well as suggestions.

An example is the “nod” technique. If a customer orders fries, the order taker should look them in the eye and say, “A large fry?” while nodding. Most likely, customers will reply in the affirmative, even if they were originally planning on ordering a small fry.

Try downselling.

Although it is usually ignored, downselling can be the perfect alternative to upselling, especially in these times of economic hardship. Downselling involves offering a more expensive option first, and then offering a more economical alternative when the customer refuses. This will make customers perceive the more economical item as a higher value.

If you have other useful upselling tips that have helped your food truck business, share them below in the comment section. We’d love to hear them.


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