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Upselling Techniques for Coffee Shop Owners

Upselling Techniques for Coffee Shop Owners

Implementing upselling techniques at a coffee shop is crucial for maximizing revenue and enhancing the overall customer experience. Upselling encourages customers to explore new menu options, try premium offerings, or indulge in complementary items like pastries or specialty drinks.

Additionally, upselling allows coffee shops to showcase their full range of offerings, creating opportunities to upsell not only beverages but also food and merchandise. Let's chat about how upselling can help increase your customer satisfaction, repeat business and long-term loyalty in your shop.

Your friendly experts, here to help!


What are Upselling Techniques?

Upselling happens when a seller suggests an extra purchase or upgrade that increases the cost of the sale, and it’s a quick and easy way to improve your average coffee shop revenue with very little effort. So how do you incorporate upselling into your shop? Equip your employees with some helpful upselling techniques to add to their usual customer interactions.

What to Sell in a Coffee Shop that Complements Your Upselling Opportunities?

What to Sell in a Coffee Shop that Complements Your Upselling Opportunities

Your coffee shop has numerous opportunities for upselling beyond just coffee. Here are some profitable items to provide those opportunities in your shop:

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Implementing Upselling Techniques for Your Team

First things first… you need to get the folks who work in the store to understand the value of upselling. The last thing you want is a team of cafe workers who half-heartedly ask customers, “You don’t want to get that in a large, do you?”

Generally, when team members are reluctant to upsell, it’s because they’re concerned about being viewed as too pushy and potentially sending customers running for the door. It’s up to you to teach them the value of this particular sales technique if there’s any hope of it being successful.

Upselling Can Be a Win/Win

When done right, upselling won’t just improve your coffee shop’s bottom line, it will also improve your customer’s day. Keep in mind that parroting the same upsell offer to every single customer who walks in the door isn’t going to make them feel like valued visitors to your coffee shop.

Instead, suggest that your team members use the knowledge they’ve gained by serving folks day after day to target their upsell. Does a tired new mom make a point of stopping in the coffee shop every few days with her newborn? Suggest an extra shot in her latte. A busy entrepreneur stops by every day to grab an Americano before he heads out to his next meeting? Ask him if he’d like a muffin for the road. This will make these customers feel like they’re truly seen and understood, and they’ll start to view your coffee shop as a place where they’re cared for, not just a place to grab the drink of their choice.

Encouraging your team to pay attention to their customers’ demeanor— do they seem frazzled? Are they curious about the menu? Is their energy level low? — and tailoring subtle upselling suggestions that match their vibe will give them quick wins that will encourage them to continue using their upselling techniques throughout their shift.

Not only do you open the door to selling more, but it feels good to make people feel good which is always a nice bonus. Paying a little extra attention to the people who come into the coffee shop can take an otherwise “meh” day and make it a little brighter.

Tap Into the Team’s Competitive Streak

Upselling Techniquies for Coffee Shop Owners: Tap Into the Team’s Competitive Streak

Listen, you know your team better than we do. Maybe you’ve got a group of folks who thrive when they’re competing against each other—all in good fun, of course.

Figure out what would incentivize your staff. There are a ton of ways you can encourage them to hit upselling goals, such as:

  • Extra breaks
  • Free food and drink
  • Gift cards to other businesses near your shop
  • Charitable donations
  • Good old cash

Not sure what would work for your particular group? Ask them! Whether you float the question during a team meeting or you give them an anonymous survey, giving them the ability to choose their incentive is a great, well, incentive for adopting upselling techniques throughout their shift.

Set Up Your Shop for Success

Ok, your team has bought into the idea of upselling. Now it’s time to teach them the finer points so they can properly hone their upselling techniques.

Upselling Techniques: Set Up Your Shop for Success

Customization is one of the cornerstones of upselling. Like we said above, making the same suggestion to every customer won’t give you the positive results you’re looking for. In fact, it could even alienate regulars who won’t like feeling pressured to buy more or upgrade their usual order.

One of the best ways to teach the ins and outs of upselling is role play. (We know. It’s a little cringy. But it’s effective.) Run your team through some scenarios and see how they respond. Offer gentle, but constructive, feedback and make suggestions for improvement.

You’ve put the team through their paces and you think they’re fully trained and ready to go. Before you set them loose, provide them with some suggestions for easy upselling opportunities.

Upselling Dos and Don’ts

  • DO make sure your team knows your menu inside and out— not just the names of the drinks and snacks that you sell, but a thorough understanding of the ingredients. Better yet, provide an opportunity for your team to taste your shop’s drinks and snacks. There’s no better sales tool than sincere enthusiasm!
  • DO provide periodic samples. Whether you’re pouring small servings of your newest blend or you’ve put out a plate with portions of a cookie or muffin for folks to try, it’s a lot easier to sell something a customer has developed a liking for. Why not tempt them with treats?
  • DO offer seasonal drinks and treats. When an item is only available for a limited time, it creates a sense of urgency— and that urgency makes it easier for your team to sell these specialty menu items that usually cost more.
  • DON’T push too hard. Remind your team that it’s totally okay to back off if they get the impression that the customer isn’t receptive to their upselling techniques. It’s better to leave a customer with a positive impression than end up with an angry customer who feels like you’re trying to take advantage of them.
  • DON’T get lost in the sauce. Upselling techniques don’t have to be complicated— you can just offer an extra shot of espresso. a few pumps of flavoring syrup, or even a size upgrade.
  • DON’T forget to stock non-coffee options. Sure, your veins flow with java, but that’s not the case for everyone who walks in your shop. Offering options like juices, milk, milk alternatives, lemonade, iced tea, or even bottled water can boost your bottom line. Even dedicated coffee lovers need to stay hydrated— offer up a bottle of water to go with their triple shot latte.

Ready to Implement Your Upselling Techniques?

You’ve empowered your team to start upselling, so now it’s time to track the growth in your average coffee shop revenue!

Just remember, you’re not in this alone. Whether you want to stock the latest and greatest coffee blends to pique customer interest, you want to amp up your syrup display to remind customers about the options available, or you’re looking for a fun new drink recipe, Dilworth is here to help! We’ve been supporting entrepreneurs as they turn their coffee shop dreams into reality for over thirty years, and we’d love nothing more than to help you meet your objectives, too. So let’s chat—contact us today!

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