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What are Add-Ons, and How Do They Help Boost Online Sales?

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February 23, 2023

Menu items on their own represent a composed dish. Add-ons, however, are a list of items that guests can add to their order in addition to offered dishes. What makes add-ons customer-pleasing and potentially profitable is that they are stand-alone and not necessarily created for a specific menu item.  For example, a Southern-inspired establishment might offer a macaroni and cheese side add-on that customers can select as part of their sandwich order, brisket plate, or just on its own.

Types of Menu Add-Ons

The way restaurants choose to handle menu add-ons can vary. In the above example, owners might include the price of the add-on in the menu price. They can also charge for the side. Thinking about add-on items in three main categories can help you decide how to structure your menu options:

  • Toppings: optional add-ons that do not have an assigned price value.
  • Extras: optional choices that have an additional cost associated.
  • Options/choices: mandatory selections that may or may not have upcharges.

How you treat your add-ons depends on what makes the most sense for your menu pricing structure.

How Add-Ons Improve Menu Profitability

Add-ons are an excellent way to provide more ordering options, allow customers to create more customized meals, and can promote higher ticket sales.

Customization: 80 percent of restaurant customers want personalization in their dining experience. Offering add-ons can give consumers the kind of customization they are looking for. This, in turn, can encourage repeat business.

Maximizing Food Costs: With food costs rising, restaurants are streamlining their online menus to reduce food waste and maximize profits. One of the beauties of add-ons is they allow operations to create smaller menus while still making the most of limited ingredients. For example, your grilled chicken breast entree can be offered as an add-on for other menu items such as salads and wraps. 

Promotes Higher Ticket Sales: A study from HubSpot revealed that 72 percent of sales personnel who upsell and 74 percent that cross-sell report a 30 percent increase in overall revenue. Restaurants are no strangers to up-selling and cross-selling. Dine-in establishments are always utilizing these techniques to boost ticket sales. A server might offer coffee and dessert after clearing dinner plates, or a bartender may ask if a guest would like a premium spirit instead of a well.

With online ordering, restaurant operators have to let the interface do the work of a server since the order takes place in one transaction. That’s why it’s essential to structure your online menu to maximize add-on accessibility and visibility.

How to Incorporate Add-Ons on Your Online Restaurant Menu

There are a few key steps you can take to enhance your online menu and set it up for add-on success:

  • Create an easy-to-use website and online ordering platform. 
  • Show all the items you offer on your online menu.
  • Strategically place add-ons throughout the ordering process—for example, fries for sandwiches, bacon for burgers, and salmon for salads. 
  • Break items into three categories—toppings, extras, and choices—and include add-ons menu items where it makes the most sense.

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Enhance your restaurant menu with these choices and add-ons

Enhance your menu with add-ons.

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