Would You Like Fries with that?
This infamous question that you may have easily been asked a hundred times originates from the good people at McDonalds. It’s a very simple and effective “up sell” method that has become famous all over the world.
At Mr C’s Frozen Custard, we adapted this concept to apply to our business model, and we were amazed how one quick question asked at the time of payment can influence your bottom line. More on that later.
Now in the Ice Cream business there are not too many items that you can up sell to.
It’s hardly appropriate to ask a customer would they like more whipped cream on that and then charge them extra. “Would you like another cherry on that?”
There are, however many ways to increase our average sale by “Add On” menu items and customer service techniques.
Add On Items
A great way to compliment the sweetness of your ice cream can be savoury products or food items. Be very careful however, because a thoughtless trip down this road can actually to damage to your business.
I always inform potential and current shop owners to consider having food as part of their menu, even though they may not be initially planning to do so. Most do not consider this option as the cost of installing hoods, grills and fryers can not only be expensive, but insurance costs can also increase dramatically. However there are many options available for food in your shop.
Research possible food items now rather than being forced into a rash decision when you desperately need it. For example, you may not feel you need a food item at the time of opening in the spring, but when the throws of winter kick in and sales are low, you may be forced to make some quick decisions.
The Crappy Hot Dog Company
It is at this vulnerable time in your season when the slick sales representative from the above mentioned company, pays your shop a visit.
“Hi there, I am from the Crappy Hot Dog Company and we are having a special winter deal. If you buy our warmer and buns we will give you free wieners”
“Wow, Free Wieners” you are thinking and you sign up.
Not long after this visit the Crappy Nachos Company knocks on your door and offers you a deal you just can’t refuse.
“Greetings, I am from the Crappy Nachos Company. I see you are selling Crappy Hot Dogs. Well this month at the Crappy Nachos Company we are offering free liquid cheese if you buy our corn chips and dispensers.”
“Wow: Free cheese”
Within a couple of weeks and some hastily written cheques, you are complimenting your hand crafted artisan ice cream with service station food. Now let me clarify 3 things:
1. Not all Service Station food is crappy. It is designed to be eaten on the run and is highly regarded for its convenience rather than its epicurean qualities.
2. Not all Hot Dogs and Nacho’s are crappy. Please don’t infer that. Any food done right can be a real asset to your business and I have eaten fantastic hot dogs and nachos at ice cream shops. I think you know the quality of food I am referring to.
3. Don’t feel bad if you have fallen into this trap as many before you have. I am one of them.
We were experiencing a downtown in sales in our first winter and we instituted a Crappy Hot Dog Program in the vain attempt to bring in additional sales. The fact of the matter is we threw more of these crappy hot dogs away than we sold, and the majority of these sales came from drunks and potheads who were roaming the streets just before closing time. Not the clientele we were trying to build.
The story does have a silver lining though. We had great success with another “snack” line that we introduced. After much research we located what would eventually be a great compliment to out fresh ice cream and it didn’t need to be refrigerated or even kept warm. A friend in the business recommended we try roasting our own nut products and suggested a company called Mandelprofi for the equipment.
We ended up purchasing an electric benchtop nut roaster and commenced roasting our own almonds, Cashews and Macadamias. After a few practice batches which were horribly burnt, we perfected the process to the point where upon commencing a batch, the smell of roasting almonds with cinnamon and sugar wafted through the adjoining stores and car parks. We had numerous people coming in and asking “Is this where that wonderful smell is coming from?”
We laid the fresh roasted almonds out on three large white platters to cool and sampled them almost continuously. In the end we had more wholesale customers for Mr C’s Roasted Cinnamon Almonds than we did for our ice cream. No hoods, No exhaust fans, no grills or fryers. No Worries.
So do the research because there are a plethora of food items, savoury or sweet, that can be hand crafted in your shop that will not only make a great addition to your menu, but will also increase your average sale.
Teaching your staff effective customer service techniques is also an effective and simple way to increase sales. For example, there is a difference between the terms “Suggestions”, “Recommendations” and “Up Selling” but most store owners do not know them or do not use these techniques.
A Suggestion is simply suggesting to a customer in the throws of indecision a particular item on the menu. “Would you like to try our Banana Split?” Plain and simple.
A Recommendation is a personal touch added to a suggestion. “Would you like to try our Banana Split? I have one every week”
It seems like a simple add on, but a staff members recommendation can make a difference in the way customers decide their ice cream choice. Many fast food chains incorporate a suggestion into their initial greetings in the current market.
I mentioned earlier a simple technique that we used that increased our sales almost 25%
We simply instructed our staff members to ask the question,
“Would you like a tub to take home today?” An Up sell.
Up till this point we did a medium amount of take home orders, but after the simple phrase was introduced into our conversation with the customer our sales rose by almost 25%. It seemed that one out of 4 customers who had not given a thought about taking our ice cream home, now actually did. The take home packs were not on display at this point but were on our menu.
Before long we had purchased an upright display freezer for 16 flavors of ready-to-go take home packs that moved so quickly were had to make batches up specifically for the take home business.
So whether you are adding on menu items or simply having your staff highlight ones that you already have, there is a great deal of opportunity out there to satisfy your customers that little but more, and in turn grow your business.
Don’t forget to follow my weekly Ice Cream Video’s on www.theicecreambloke.com
Keep on Scoopin