It’s upsell season. That’s right, sell time. If you walk into any Starbucks’ in the country currently, Howard and his marketing geniuses have little trays of their latest concoction on the counter, sampling the favorite Frappuccino of the Future, teasing our taste-buds with drinks that mixologists invent in sterilized rooms. And, it works. How about the Banana Coconut Frappuccino that has been out for the past three weeks or so? It makes you want to run home, put on a flowered shirt and head for the surf. If Howard knows one thing, it is marketing and up-selling. We should all take a lesson from the genius of coffee lingo. Who else in the world can change a language and a tast bud with something as simple as coffee? I knew when my step father reached into his right-side chino pocket and pulled out $3.00 plus for a Starbucks’ coffee that the man at the top had done his job. It is a mitacle. And, now the guy is hooked. Before hhe drank Howard’s formula for success he hung at Great Harvest Bread Company, drinking brown brewed swill from a styrofoam cup and sampling complimentary slices of Cranberry Bread.
The lesson that Howard is teaching all who want to ocapture the lesson is something we should instill in our employees daily. Upsell. As I walked down Stockton Street yesterday a Starbucker was out on the sidewalk, tray in hand, barking the name of his samples as though I were on the boardwalk at Coney Island. And, I took one. And, for the first time in my life I am hooked on a concoction that resembles a Malt without the ice cream. A Frappe as they were referred to on the East Coast decades ago.
Sampling works. Let your staff try it with wine, and appetizers, and desserts. On occassion, divide up a new entree item between a table of four and send it out as a complimentary sample. Or, take a tray of miniature appetizers and walk through the dining room just before the dinner rush with a tasing of things to come.
Everywhere we turn people are sampling their products. Safeway, Costco, Lunds, Byerly’s, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Oakville Grocery, Sonoma Market and the recently opened Fig Pantry in Sonoma entice palates daily with pieces of product that turn the bottom line into enjoyable viewing. And, in most instances, your vendors may compensate for sampling product.
But yet, the one industry based on the consumption of delicate flavors or hearty portions never samples anything. Owner’s often think that sampling will fill up the customer so they won’t eat as much. This is America. Does anyone you know stop eating because they feel full? If the flavor is there, people consume. And spend. And eat and drink more than they ever need.
One of your goals should be to make your servers march to the tune of the upsell band of marketing geniuses that tease our taste buds and sensuate our emotions. People eat with their eyes and purchase with their palates.
Sample a little food tonight at the bar.Y0u’ll be surprised at the outcome.