Mastering Upselling: Lessons from McDonald’s

written by Tom Chedham

In the world of fast-food and customer service, one phrase stands out in the art of upselling: “Would you like fries with that?”

This blog explores how McDonald’s perfected the upselling game with this iconic question and offers insights on how businesses can employ similar tactics to boost their sales.

Understanding Upselling:

Upselling involves encouraging customers to add more items or upgrades to their initial purchase. McDonald’s excelled at this with their strategic use of the “Would you like fries with that?” question, resulting in a significant impact on overall sales.

The Psychology Behind “Would You Like Fries with That?”:

1. Impulse Buying

McDonald’s taps into the impulse buying behavior by suggesting a complementary item like fries, satisfying the immediate desire for a complete meal.

2. Incremental Spending

By offering a low-cost add-on, such as fries, the total transaction value increases. Customers find the additional cost minimal, making them more likely to agree to the upsell.

3. Seamless Experience

The question is timed strategically, seamlessly integrated into the ordering process to prevent it from feeling intrusive or pushy, contributing to a positive overall interaction.

Applying the Technique to Your Business:

1. Know Your Products

Understand your product range to identify items that naturally complement each other, enhancing the customer’s experience.

2. Strategic Timing

Introduce upselling at a point in the customer journey where it feels natural, avoiding obtrusiveness. This could be during the initial purchase decision or as an upgrade suggestion post-selection.

3. Highlight Value, Not Price

Emphasise the value of the additional item rather than focusing solely on the price, showcasing how it enhances the customer’s experience or provides additional benefits.

4. Personalise Recommendations

Tailor your upselling approach based on customer preferences, leveraging data to make personalized recommendations that align with individual tastes and needs.

5. Train Your Staff

Ensure employees are trained to employ upselling techniques effectively, promoting a genuine and customer-focused approach while avoiding pushy tactics.


McDonald’s iconic “Would you like fries with that?” technique showcases the power of effective upselling. By understanding the psychology behind it and applying similar strategies, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and boost sales. The key is to make upselling a positive and seamless part of the customer experience, adding significant value to their purchase decisions across various industries.

Get in touch with the Candio team to find out how our products can fit into your ‘Would You Like Fries with That Sales Technique’

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