One evening at Taco Bell, the shift manager went out on an errand and left Rusty and me alone. We were quite good at entertaining ourselves while executing our duties. This night, we’d gotten bored with our standby excessive formality shtick (“My name is Bo, and I’ll be your host this evening…”), and were craving another little something we could inflict on the unsuspecting public.
Naturally, we were encouraged to upsell, the whole “you want fries with that?” bit and what-not, though of course it was nachos or Cinnamon Crispas at Taco Bell. Well, Rusty and I thought it would be a marvelous idea to start upselling taco salads. So someone at the drive-thru would place an order, and I’d say “would you like a taco salad with that?” Makes it sound like a throw-in side item, rather than a 1000-calorie disaster, doesn’t it?
We were surprised at how many people said yes. We were even more surprised at how many people stayed with it, carrying the transaction through to completion. In most cases folks’ totals doubled, or even a little more, and yet they never made a peep about it as they hoisted the gigantic bag in through the car window.
When our boss got back, we’d used all but one of the crispy taco salad tortilla bowls, and had started the fryer to make some more–an unusual occurrence in the evening. She asked why, so we told her the story, certain she’d be impressed with our initiative and innovation. Au contraire, she made us stop, and told us twice that it would have been pretty bad if Brad (the district manager) had come through the drive-thru that night (as he was wont to do) and we’d pulled that.
Oh, well. Our trick pushed the average cost-per-transaction for that hour of the evening up to just over $5, which was a pretty large ticket for fast food in 1987. Hey, obviously we were just company men.