Why Is Upselling a Dirty Word?

Most of us have a poor perception of anyone involved in sales. However, we forget that without selling, we have no business.

Our teams have the same mindset, and when you talk to them about upselling at the till, they often have a mental barrier to trying to get guests to spend more than they intended to when they walk through the door.

Upselling is vital to the health of your business and can add a significant amount of turnover. A muffin upsell to a customer buying a coffee can be 100%.


So if you can upsell to 1 in 4 customers you could increase your sales by 25%.

We were lucky enough to meet Steve Clarke of UK Sales Mentor recently, he talked about his time mystery shopping opticians and the lack of up selling done by the optometrists because their professional reluctance to sales. This lack of up-selling almost cost him his sight as only 1 out of the 6 opticians he visited offered him the most thorough eye test because it was more expensive. (You need to get his book by the way from www.eurekasales.co.uk).

So an extra muffin or danish as an upsell is not quite in the same league as saving someone’s sight but it can make someone’s day enjoying that little treat they had been craving for, or they could discover a whole new flavour that they had never experienced before.

We can use mystery shoppers, training, and supervision  and still not get past the idea in our teams minds that it is rude to sell and they don’t like to be pushy, so are naturally reluctant to upsell for us.


If we can change the mindset of our teams so that they see an up-selling opportunity as an opportunity to make someone’s day, then we will see a significant improvement in our bottom line and well as the number of happy customers.

What upselling techniques do you use in your coffee shop?  What do you do in your business that ensures everyone upsells automatically for you? Please let us know if you have cracked it or if it still frustrates you.

Please add your comments below.


About the authors

Andrew and Claire Bowen have run their own coffee shops for the last decade starting as franchisees and moving to develop their own independent business. The knowledge and experience gained from this have been used in the development of Café Success – the UK’s best resource for a coffee shop, café and tearoom owners. Free to Join at cafesuccesshub.com it is growing to cover all aspects of setting up and running a coffee business. Please link in with them and join the Coffee Shop Owners of the UK discussion group on linked in.

Are you thinking of opening a coffee shop, cafe or tea room?  Do you want to be able to assess any site for suitability simply and easily?