Have you seen restaurants running promotional offers and wondered how they are able to do that without hurting their bottom line? When done correctly, you will see how restaurants can not only profit from these promotions, but also build their clientele and gain loyal, repeat customers. Marketing your restaurant and offering special promotions should be done strategically, on a restaurant to restaurant basis, so this information is just a starting point. Tailor these ideas and tweak them to what best suits your business and watch your profits soar.
Daily / Weekly Specials
Daily or Weekly specials are a great way to bring in customers during slower times. You can have a banner outside letting people know what specials you are running and make social media posts each week to remind your followers. Some restaurants use alliteration to make it easy to remember, like Thirsty Thursday or Fajita Friday which is a fun way for them to recall your specials and spread the word to their friends. You can run a daily happy hour and/or you can choose a day that your restaurant is not as busy and use the promotion as a way to up your sales during that specific time. Some businesses are very successful for dinner, but struggle to get a lunch crowd so they might offer a daily lunch special. Again, you want to see what works best for your restaurant.
Loyalty programs are a fun way to keep customers coming back and give employees a chance to build relationships with them. For example, a coffee shop might have a punch card the customer can present to them each visit and on their 10th purchase they receive a free coffee of their choosing. Many quick service restaurants are using their mobile app to reward customers for their loyalty. At Dairy Queen, you can earn 10 points for every dollar you spend and can redeem your points for food or treats after you reach a certain amount. Mobile apps are an easy way for your customers to keep track of their points and be reminded to visit when they pull out their phone. Some restaurants send push notifications to remind customers that they are only 10 points away from their next free milkshake!
Who doesn’t love a good holiday promotion? Many restaurants use holidays as a way to promote a limited time offer drink or plate. Customers look forward to their favorite holiday treats and will make sure to get their fill if you play your cards right. In the Fall, you see pumpkin spice every time you turn the corner and Christmas is filled with eggnog and gingerbread. Promote your holiday treats on your social media accounts, put signs up at your restaurant, and have your servers remind the customers about these special offers. You can offer a special Valentine’s meal, make a green drink or milkshake for Saint Patrick’s Day, or run margarita specials for Cinco De Mayo! The possibilities are endless and customers love to try these festive treats.
Lastly, sending emails out regularly is a great marketing strategy and a way to stay connected to your customers and remain on their radar. You can keep it short and sweet, including deals, discounts and loyalty point reminders. If you are running a special promotion on extra loyalty points when they order a certain item, have holiday specials, are doing a giveaway on your social media accounts or just want to send out your weekly deals, emails are a great way to get your message out to the masses.
Marketing your restaurant through different avenues has many benefits. It gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers and attract new customers who might not have ever known about your business. When you have a solid marketing plan in place, it makes promoting your limited time offers have a greater chance of success. Your promotions should offer your customers a taste of what you have to offer as far as food selection, creativity and affordability and in the end, should boost your bottom line.