Wendy's(l), Person talking(c), Upsell sticker(r)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @joevasquez81_/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘If we upsold 10+ ppl in a day they’d let us get a free large meal’: Drive-thru customer catches Wendy’s trying to upsell customers

‘Someone put the sticker the wrong way.’


Amara Thomas


A Wendy’s drive-thru customer called out the retailer for trying to upsell customers. TikToker Joe Vasquez (@JoeVasquez81_) posted a photo to TikTok of what appears to be a misplaced sign on his local Wendy’s drive-thru window. The sign reads: “Remember to upsell combos and Biggie bags.” 

“My local Wendys has this outside their window,” he shared.

The sign was presumably supposed to be flipped the other way, toward the workers. Vasquez continued in the caption, “Thanks man, I hate having money anyway!” 

Upselling is a common tactic

Shopify defines upselling “as a sales technique where a seller encourages a customer to purchase a more expensive item, upgrade a product, or add on extra features to make a more profitable sale. The goal is to increase the value of the sale, and consequently, increase the business’s revenue.” 

This is not the first time Wendy’s has been caught trying to persuade customers to upgrade items. Earlier in the year, a Wendy’s customer alleged that a manager exposed the company’s upselling tactics after trying to get him to upgrade his small drink to a large, the Sun reported. 

Wendy’s may have caught heat for its upselling practices, but it is not uncommon for most fast-food retailers and restaurants to utilize similar tactics. A 2017 report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Slimming World, spoke to restaurant and fast-food workers about how they use upselling. Restaurant staff explained they are trained and incentivized to upsell. 

In a profile from the Guardian about the report, “One cafe worker said that if they are asked for a latte, “I will reply with ‘large?’ The confidence of insinuating that a large is in fact what a typical customer order often nudges the customer into [ordering] the bigger and slightly more expensive drink.” If somebody asks for a cake, the response is: “Is that with cream or ice cream today?” The report also said that fast-food workers are always instructed to ask if the customer would like a meal. 

Fast-food industry workers chime in

The viral video has 475,000 views and hundreds of comments. Many viewers shared similar experiences with upselling from both the perspective of the customer and seller. 

“When I worked at Wendy’s if we upsold 10+ people in a day they’d let us get a free large meal,” one viewer commented. Vasquez replied, “LMAO and they still raise the prices constantly.”

“When I worked at Bojangles if someone ordered a combo we had to ring it up as a large unless they explicitly said they wanted a medium,” another viewer shared. 

Another added, “When I worked at Braums, they did a study that found 7/10 people will buy the upsell if you ask. No idea where they got those numbers, but they expected a 70% upsell rate and yelled at us if we didn’t.” 

The Daily Dot reached out to Joe Vasquez via TikTok and to Wendy’s via email for comment. 

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