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The competition among restaurants is growing. Restaurants are beginning to learn that they need to adopt various forms of restaurant promotions that not only bring guests to their restaurant but create a lasting relationship with their customers. These promotions are one of many ways for a restaurant to begin engaging with their customers. By offering a discount here and a special incentive there, you are saying “We care about you and your business” to your customers. Here is a list of 7 restaurant promotion ideas to help boost sales. 

Bundled Items

Consider bundling some of your menu items together. Bundling is based upon the idea that consumers usually save 7-15% more on the value of the grouped package than the individual items when purchased separately. Take a look at some of your more popular menu items and pair them with some items that would go well with that item at a higher price. You could even create a combo deal that would encourage the customer to order in bulk. For example, a high margin menu deal could be a 5-5-5 deal where a customer could order three dinner meals (normally priced at $7) for $5 each, bringing the ticket value to around $15 plus tax. These bundled deals will increase the overall orders and hopefully encourage your customers to try new things!

Flash Deals

There are certain times during the day where your restaurant sees a dip in business. During this time is when you can really test and try new promotions. Margins might be a little more tight during this time, but it can help you bring in some extra dollars you might otherwise not see if you don’t try. Offer a quick flash deal during the off hours (maybe 3:00-4:30) to get people ordering food right before/after they normally do. You will want the deals to be desirable, so a $1 pizza slice or a $3 pita (limiting the options they can choose) will help drive quick sales and maybe bring in some of those snacking customers.

Community Events

One of the best ways to generate business is to design a promotion that ties directly in with the community and local events that might be happening. Customers will get excited and engaged with the promotion because the message is already being communicated across other channels in the community. For example, your community might have a local chili cook-off each Fall that customers line up for. Offer a special chili the week of the event to support the challenge and silently compete. Who knows – maybe you’ll win!

New Products

It’s important to keep your menu fresh to encourage customers to keep coming back more more. When a new menu item is added – no matter how big or small it is – promote it. Customers normally aren’t aware of new menu changes unless the frequent a place on a daily or weekly basis, so promoting a new product can come off as a big deal to the average person. In fact, 40 % would order something else from the menu every time when they visit a restaurant if they could. To keep up with the trends, maybe you now offer homemade ketchup to your menu. This is exciting, new and something worth sharing to all of your customers. More importantly, customers might “ooh” and “ahh” at the idea so much that they’ll be curious to try it or put it on everything.

Local Company Support

Don’t underestimate the power of local businesses. Companies that surround a restaurant are very important customers. You will want to determine a way to specifically target these customers, particularly for your lunch hour. If you utilize an online ordering system that can easily take group orders, promote that via flyers to these companies or on your social media channels. If offices know there is an easy way to group order, they will be more likely to choose your restaurant versus another. You might even want to consider directly visiting with the local companies to give them a few of your restaurant’s flyer, point out deals specific to them, and make them feel like you truly are going out of your way to care for their hungry needs.

Online Only Deal

If you are actively posting on social media (which you should be!), you can create online only deals that customers can find if they are following you on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Social media presents an excellent opportunity for you to connect with your potential customers and get noticed. As many as 61% of customers find restaurants from various social channels. This can be a great way to increase your following, which then allows you to communicate more readily with your customer base online. For example, your restaurant could begin offering a one-time only 15% discount off of a customer’s first order if they begin following you or “liking” your social media pages. Your restaurant will be able to benefit from two positive outcomes – an increase in engaged customers and an increase in short term sales.

Customer Loyalty Programs

The most common form of a loyalty program for a restaurant is offering punch cards. For example, for every order placed, a customers gets a hole punch or stamp, and after the 10th purchase, they are eligible for $10 off their next meal. Loyalty programs have evolved where you can apply a similar concept via online ordering. Using a tool to simply manage these efforts is key to growth and retention with your customers.


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