Get Ready to Hear Lots of ‘Do You Want Munchkins With That?’

A new policy will have your Dunkin' Donuts cashier tempting you during your afternoon coffee run.

Associated press photo

Associated press photo

“Upselling,” or the practice of asking customers to upgrade or add to their initial purchase, is a classic technique in the fast food industry, so it is no wonder that Canton-based Dunkin’ Donuts plans to adopt the strategy. The Associated Press reports:

Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis said in a phone interview Thursday that the company is pushing to get its cashiers to “upsell” to afternoon customers. It’s part of an effort to increase sales after stores have emptied out after the morning rush. In the afternoon, customers who do come in are mostly just searching for a drink.

This makes sense for a few reasons. Dunkin’ has tried to expand beyond its core breakfast business in recent years with menu offerings that might appeal all day long. Of course they would borrow business strategies from other fast food restaurants whose business is more spread throughout the day.

But what does all this mean for you, the caffeine addicted customer? In short, prepare to eat more doughnuts.

For Dunkin’, that means cashiers can take the extra few seconds to ask customers if they want a doughnut, cookie or even a sandwich along with that coffee. Travis said the need to upsell would be emphasized in an upcoming talk with U.S. franchisees.

Lord have mercy on your temptation-riddled soul. After all, upselling can be really irking when you’ve placed your order and you have to reject six requests to jumbobump your soda or add a cookie for negative six cents or whatever the push is at that particular establishment. But it can also be incredibly effective. You weren’t planning get that delicious looking chocolate cake doughnut in the case behind your cashier, but since she asked… it’d be rude to say no! No need to twist your arm about it!

Upselling is also especially effective when the suggested add-on fits thematically with your initial purchase. You’re getting a burger, so a side of fries seems natural. And what goes better than coffee and pastries? It also works well when you perceive the add-on as an extra little snack. Dunkin’ has a lot of snack-sized offerings. Sure, they’re mostly deep fried, frosting-slathered sugar bombs, but they’re still snack sized. Oh yes, all things considered, this feels like it might be all too effective a strategy. The only thing to do (other than give in, because doughnuts are delicious and why not treat yourself?) is to go in with proper forewarning so that you remove the element of surprise. Consider yourself forewarned.