Cross-Selling vs. Upselling

Tim Ridgely 17 November, 2016

Cross-selling and upselling are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meaning. Understanding the difference can help you plan your restaurant's marketing and sales tactics.


Upselling is taking an item in a customer's order, and replacing it with a larger item.


Cross-selling is adding a related item to a customer's order, based on the current items they've ordered.

Example Time!

At a burger place, you order a Single-Patty Burger:

  • If I say, "You can upgrade to a Double Burger for only $2 more!" — That's an Upsell
  • If I say, "You can add fries for only $1 more!" — That's a Cross-sell

At a movie theater, you order a Small Diet Coke:

  • If I say, "You can get a Large for only $1 more!" — That's an Upsell
  • If I say, "People really like the Popcorn with the Diet Coke" — That's a Cross-sell
  • If I say, "You can get our Deluxe Bundle, which includes a Large Diet Coke, plus a Small Popcorn" for only $5 more — It's both an Upsell and a Cross-sell and is probably a confusing offer for the customer! But hey, if you can sell it, more power to you.

Cheers, and happy selling, up, cross, and sideways.

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