Full Service Restaurant | Limited Service Restaurant | Marketing

Why Your Restaurant Should Have Special Limited Time Offers and How to Advertise Them the Right Way

May 13, 2019

Why Your Restaurant Should Have Special Limited Time Offers and How to Advertise Them the Right Way

Are you hoping to attract new, or more, clients to your restaurant? Fresh ideas could be just what you need to drive more people through your doors. Use these simple tips to help you promote LTOs that will not only bring in new customers but will get your regulars to expand their dining horizons.

LTOs Create Urgency

Think about Cadbury Crème Eggs or the Shamrock Shake. Because they aren't available year-round, they have become a special treat. Having a limited time offer can generate buzz around your product.  It also creates a sense of urgency the customer might not have it they could get it any old time.

Getting the Word Out (Six Easy Ideas)

It's great to have a good strategy, but it won't do anything if no one knows about it. How can you get that extra special limited time offer in front of the people you want to fill your seats?

Here are six easy ways to make sure your customers (current and prospective) know what you're up to:

1. Send Out an Email Blast

If you have an email contact list, let those loyal customers know all about your special, limited-time-only offers. You want to stay in touch with your customers without becoming a nuisance. Monthly deals are great for this. They give you a chance to regularly contact your customers and remain fresh in their minds without cluttering up their inboxes.

If you don't have an email contact list, start one. Email marketing can be extremely valuable. Make sure that everyone knows they will get access to exclusive offers if they sign up. Include signage in your stores, have your servers mention the email list, and make sure to include it on your website.

2. Share on Social Media

If you have a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account, you can get your offer out there. First, focus on keeping your feeds fresh. Unlike with your email blasts, the most successful social media accounts are updated frequently. You can also buy targeted advertising to promote directly to those in your area. Here, you can include beautiful shots of your unique dishes and highlight any discounts you are offering.

You can also encourage those in your network to share the tasty deals within their own social media circles. It's amazing how far a gentle reminder to "share" a post can go!

If you don't have a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account, get one now! They are all free and are a great way to engage with your customers.

Download our eBook for more specific information about digital marketing and social media.

3. Run a Contest

Social media can be a fantastic platform for running contests. You can ask your customers to share pics of their favorite dishes from your restaurant, write a haiku about how much they love your restaurant, or even get them to help name a new dish. You can give out promotional merchandise or a gift certificate as a prize to get people interested and really stir up that buzz.

4. Keep Your Website Up to Date

Your email blasts and social accounts should all point back to your website, and if you're successful in creating buzz, that's exactly where your customers are going to go if they want to know more. Your site can give in-depth information on your special offer along with current menus, prices, locations, events. It should also provide a way to sign up for your email list and follow you on social media.

It's also important to keep your website current to show your clients that you are paying attention and not letting things fall through the cracks.

5. Use the Calendar and Design Offers Around Special Days

Plan a special Valentine dinner for two. Or a family Easter brunch. Or a Father's Day BBQ. Holidays are a great way to start out with LTOs. You could even do personalized anniversary or birthday deals.

Beyond the traditional calendar, look to your customer base for good-fit unique offers that will appeal to your usual clientele and may be just the ticket to entice new customers to check you out – March Madness or National Donut Day or National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Who knows, these silly "days" may give you a chance to test out a different menu or even a prix fixe meal deal.

LTOs can also just be a fun way to change things up for a day and give you a good excuse to decorate.

The best part is, it's low stakes. If it isn't a huge hit, well, it's only one day, and you can try again with a different kind of promotion.

6. Partner with Another Business

Cross-promoting with another business can give you a chance to advertise to customers you may have never had contact with before.

Could you get together with the movie theater across the street to do a deal? If someone shows a ticket stub to the movie theater across the street, they get a discount, or they could get a discount at the movie theater if they show a receipt to your place?

Is there a local brewery who would like to do a demonstration in your restaurant? You could sell tickets for a beer tasting dinner.

It never hurts to be connected to other businesses in your area, and you never know who else might be looking to boost name recognition and sales.

7. Link Your Offer to a QR Code

You want to make things as simple as possible for your customers. If you add a QR code to your advertising, then your clients ? or new customers ? can scan the code they see on a poster or advertisement and connect back to your website instantly.

Ultimately, you are the one who knows your business best. Try what you think will work, and if it doesn't, then try something else. Don't be afraid to experiment with your offers. If you're just starting out, keep it small at first as a trial run. Pay attention to how your customers react, and you can even ask for feedback from trusted friends and regular customers.