March 22nd 2015

Today I had a shift at work, and I had a conversation with my boss about up selling premium products. 

There’s this little trick I’ve done for a while at work to make people buy premium products. And by premium I obviously mean products that make us more money comparatively. IE selling a customer a beer over a soft drink, a sharing starter over a smaller one, stuffed crust instead of normal crust, etc. 

And how I do this is by using the powe of suggestion. And that sounds really, really daft because we’re talking about selling pizza here, but stick with me. 

When a customer says “I’d like a glass of white wine please.” I’m supposed to ask them what size glass they want, small, medium or large. So I could just say “what size?” But what I do is I say “Large one?” And 9 times out of 10 they’ll say yes to a large one, whereas if I just ask them what size they want they’ll go small or medium. I’ve asked them the question without giving them a choice, an option, or an alternative. 

Then when they order a starter. “Can I get some Garlic Bread?” I’ll say “with cheese?” Because if they weren’t thinking about getting cheese on it (which is extra) they are now. And they’ll say yes to cheese more often than if I worded it “just plain garlic bread, or with cheese?” 

Mains. “Large one?” Works occasionally but not often because of 1) the massive price difference and 2) if you don’t want a large pizza you don’t want one. So here we have to up sell the stuffed crusts. It’s as simple as choosing the order in which you tell them what crusts they have. 

“Thick, thin, cheesy bites, or stuffed crust” saying the premium ones last means those are the last ones they heard, so are the ones they are thinking about before they answer your question. Sometimes I’ll sweeten it by tapping the picture of each crust on the menu with my pen, but leave my pen lingering on the premium ones for longer than necessary. 

Deserts are trickier because if you’ve already sold enough extras they’re not going to want deserts, but if you’ve managed to sell a large pizza, when you take it over to the table you could say something like “if you don’t finish it I can box it up so you’ve got room for desert” then they’re thinking about deserts if they weren’t before. 

Kids are ridiculously easy to sell ice cream too. Kids want ice cream. Shock horror. But you’ve gotta read the parents to see if they’re gonna get mad if you offer the kids ice cream without their agreement. 

I’ve been doing the job long enough to be able to read people like that. For example, when someone’s ordering I can tell if there’s going to be a but. 

“I’d like a large Hawaiian BUT instead oh pineapple can I have onions….” 

“I’d like a supreme but….”

“No olives?” I’ll say. Because it’s obvious. No one ever wants the olives. And they’ll act as if I’ve read their mind. You can tell who is a “But” person when they’re ordering. It’s hard to explain but from something about the tone and temple of voice I can tell when they’re going to ask for something to be changed. 

I’ve been doing this job for far too long.

Until tomorrow, no olives? 


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