In today’s hypercompetitive markets, restaurant owners need to find new ways to up their marketing game to increase their average ticket size and margins. One low-hanging fruit to achieve these two objectives is through upselling.Traditionally, for take-out, delivery and even curbside pickup, restaurants relied on their employees to take telephone orders. This conventional method unfortunately presented several challenges.For one, getting the basic order and customer information right was dependent on the attention to detail and efficiency of the person taking the order.

Secondly, staff need to be trained on upselling—whether overt or suggestive. The problem here resides in the fact that successful restaurant upselling is determined by employees’ experience, personalities and communications skills.

And these challenges are only exacerbated by labor shortages, lack of time for continuous training, and, inevitably, the global pandemic, during which the vast majority of restaurants have experienced a spike in take-out, delivery and even curbside pickup due to dining rooms being reduced in capacity or closed altogether.

Many businesses have turned to third-party marketplaces and native online ordering systems for restaurants in order to capitalize off growing off-premise demand and streamline operations. However, issues still reside.

With online marketplaces, restaurants are forced to fork over hefty commission fees, which are sometimes as high as 30%, on each order. That takes a huge chunk out of a business’ overall profitability.

Another problem? Restaurants that are turning to online ordering platforms to diversify their revenue streams and safeguard their margins are met with a wide range of solutions that may—or may not—generate a positive impact on their bottom lines.

For example, many online ordering systems have not been built with the customer journey in mind.

  • They require that patrons create accounts before they even get to place their orders.
  • Others force users to enter a postal/zip code to view the menus.
  • The ordering process is often complicated due to the website interface and/or intrusive pop-ups to upsell items prior to a menu item even being selected.
  • Several platforms allow no means for customers to add extras.
  • Even worse: customers complete their orders and once the system captures their delivery addresses, they have to start all over again because certain menu items or promotions are not available in their locations!

It’s no wonder that order abandonment rates are so high; the global average is 75.52%!

Many restaurateurs consider using a free online ordering platform in order to eliminate any upfront costs. That’s fine if a restaurant just wants to offer online ordering without any upselling or integration with its POS system or loyalty card/gift card software.

In a nutshell, in order to maximize the ROI of online ordering, restaurants need a robust online ordering platform that had at least these key features:

  • An easy and frictionless customer journey from start to finish. If the user experience of a platform is counterintuitive or ridden with time-sucking friction points for customers…disengage from using that platform. Ideally, an online ordering platform should have no more than a three-step ordering process.
  • Non-intrusive upselling features based on customer preferencesUEAT, an innovative online ordering system, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically suggest add-ons and extras based on what customers select. What’s more, the system remembers what returning customers have chosen in the past in order to recommend the same menu items. Because artificial intelligence is built into the customer journey and embedded in a non-intrusive way, customers tend to be more comfortable ordering more menu items without what we like to call the super-size shame.
  • Smart marketing functionalities to create customized experiences. Artificial intelligence can also allow restaurateurs to display highly personalized promotions based on past customer behaviour/preferences, time of day, the season, and a myriad of other parameters.

Buyer beware. Not every online ordering platform that touts its upselling features is created equally. Some systems say they offer upselling, but it is really just a string of extras that let customers tick boxes to add rice or fries, for example.

That is not really upselling. True upselling is all about systematically offering the right upselling item at the right time—all without being intrusive and making it easy for customers to select the relevant add-ons to their orders.

Here are some compelling upselling stats from restaurant owners who use UEAT and its AI upselling platform.


The average basket size went up by 19% and the number of online ordering went up by 44%. 



The average bill from online orders is 65% higher than those placed on location. Even better, when a customer is using the built-in loyalty program, the increase is 88% higher.

-Yuzu Sushi


One year after going live, Kûto saw a 29% increase in sales. After 2 years, its success continued and the chain experienced a record increase of 35% in sales.


It’s important to keep in mind that an online ordering platform with AI, such as UEAT, is not something out of a sci-fi movie. Restaurateurs must view AI like a super-employee that knows every customer and can effortlessly upsell high-margin menu items and products. A restaurant owner simply has to configure the platform in a few simple steps and the system takes care of the rest! How’s that for operational efficiency?

An online ordering platform with artificial intelligence is the smart way to boost the value of each order, increase conversion rates, and drastically reduce cart abandonment rates. What are you waiting for?

UEAT is the only food tech company that sits in Espace CDPQ | Axe IA at Mila, one of the premier centers for Artificial Intelligence in the world. MILA has been founded by Yoshua Bengio, a Turing award winner for his work in deep learning.

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