By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic management agency that focuses on business and brand development within the bakery foodservice and convenience sectors.
During my time with McDonald’s, the staff were famous for asking that iconic question: "Do you want fries with that?" So very simple and yet so totally profitable. With the introduction of that phrase sales increased dramatically, as on average between 40-60% of customers said ’yes’. While this was in the early days before combo deals, it clearly demonstrates two key sales strategies suggestive selling and combining associated items.
With their Food-to-Go Report 2009, our colleagues at him! confirm that 49% almost half of customers do not remember the exact price they have paid for their sausage roll, sandwich or burger as soon as they leave a food outlet. Furthermore, a staggering 80% don’t even have a specific budget in mind when they come in. So, every other customer could end up spending more in your bakery or café if you encourage them to do so with suggestive selling.
Independent businesses need to translate the opportunities demonstrated by the high street chains into their operations. Three elements are key: your products, your promotion and, most importantly, how you train your staff.
Bakeries and cafés can easily combine sweet pastries and hot beverages. The killer question for customers purchasing a coffee is: "Would you like something to dunk with that?" and point at a selection of doughnuts, muffins and cookies which are strategically merchandised near the counter. Up-selling is great, but making it specific and giving the customer the perfect solution is the easiest way to increase your sales.
Regular staff training is a critical success factor to support them in breaking out of their regular sales routine. For starters, set aside regular times during the week or month where you focus on building your business. Incentivise them on top of their salary. Agree shift targets, measurements and even a little competition: the person who increases their sales for the day, week or month wins a shopping voucher. Remember, make it specific, realistic and measurable and, most importantly, fun.
We recently launched a sales incentive campaign with a national convenience store, focusing on coffee. It’s early days, but since the launch three weeks ago, we’ve seen sales increases of 150% year-on-year.
Why not try this out as an experiment and let us know how it worked for you we really want to know. You can contact us on: