More than half of fast food staff failing to up-sell: Report

Food retailers are being encouraged to improve the selling skills of their staff, after a report revealed more than half of quick service restaurant brands fail to up-sell to customers.


The study, conducted by mystery shopping company Mystery Customer as part of its industry benchmarking program, included mystery shopping audits of 12 quick service restaurant (QSR) brands.


They are Burger Edge, Crust Gourmet Pizzas, Grill’d, Healthy Habits, Jesters, Noodle Box, Pie Face, Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Sumo Salad, Sushi Train, Wok in a Box and Zambrero.


Each brand was mystery shopped twice, each at a different location. According to the study, more than half (54%) of the QSRs did not attempt to up-sell to the mystery shopper.


Robert Jarmyn, sales and marketing director of Mystery Customer, says the result was a bit surprising because QSRs “live and breathe” by increasing the sales per transaction.


According to Mystery Customer, the average transaction of a sale can be increased by up to 40% if the service staff member attempts to up-sell.


“I think one of the purposes [of the study] is to monitor whether or not staff at the frontline are following the policies that have been developed,” Jarmyn says.


“The vast majority [of QSRs] have an up-sell policy so it’s more than likely a result of the staff at the frontline just not really following the procedures that the company would like them to follow.”


Jarmyn says the age of QSR customer service staff could come into play, as many brands employ young people with little experience.


“There’s a lot of QSRs that are staffed by very young people,” he admits.


“But a typical McDonald’s [outlet] devotes a lot of time to the training and development of their staff, so even at a young age they are put through a training process to understand what the customer needs.”


If operators are concerned their staff are failing to up-sell, Jarymn says the worst thing they can do is “run out and say, ‘Not everyone’s up-selling’.”


“Have a little bit of a check and see if it’s an isolated case. Have a few of your own staff audit [other] staff or use a mystery shopping company to go and do an audit.”


“If you do identify a problem across the board, ask yourself, does it come down to whether that’s a key requirement of the business? In a QSR format, it usually is.”


“The next step is to start identifying why people aren’t up-selling.”


Rather than instructing staff to up-sell, Jarmyn says operators should explain why it’s important because “often people don’t understand the value of something”.


“If they get a bit empowered by understanding what they’re doing to help the business, then they’ll put a lot more enthusiasm into the quality of their work.”


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