How To Plan Your Menu Specials & Promotions

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Do you own a restaurant, cafe or pub that runs food specials and promotions?

If so, you’ll know that it’s not just a great way to increase business in your restaurant – it’s a highly strategic move. For those thinking of creating their own specials for their food business, we suggest following this five-step process:

1. Knowing Your Audience

Before you get to planning any menu specials, the first thing you need to do is understand your customers. Ask yourself: what kind of diners does my establishment attract, and what are their wants and needs? And more importantly, what motivates them to act on a purchase?

If you run a cafe next to a university, your customer profile will be students on the hunt for weekday lunch discounts. On the other hand, if you run a pub in a bustling business district, you’ll want to appeal to office workers eager to clock off for happy hour drinks.

2. Time Sensitivity & Exclusivity

Menu offers that are available for a limited time or are in short supply always tend to perform better. Why, you ask? According to consumer psychology, scarcity creates a sense of urgency – encouraging customers to cash in to avoid missing out on a great deal.

As well as that, you can also centre your promotion around a menu item that is unique to your restaurant. If you run one of the only Mexican restaurants in your area, customers are more likely to seek your restaurant out for chilaquiles and tamales they won’t be able to find anywhere else!

3. Seasonal Trends

The changing seasons present the perfect opportunity to incorporate new menu items into your menu. So if you’ve ever felt like experimenting with your menu, this is your chance!

Whether it’s introducing a new hot drink or a hearty beef stew to your winter menu, or creating tropical cocktails for summer, customers are drawn to special menu offers. Due to their seasonal nature, these specials tend to last for a maximum of two to three months.

4. Competitive Pricing

For your promotion to be well-received, it has to be enticing enough to customers. Often, there needs to be an incentive to spend at your restaurant.

According to RetailMeNot, 80% of customers cite an available deal as being the reason to choose a restaurant. To ensure that your restaurant, cafe or pub stands out from others, your offers should be competitively priced.

5. Promotional Channels

Never discount traditional methods of promotion. For example, sending out flyers and coupons in the mail lets you target customers in the vicinity. You could also let your restaurant do the talking by hanging banners and signs across your shopfront for passers-by to catch a glimpse of.

With that said, having a digital presence is equally as important as reaching your customers through physical touch points. Whether it’s through your website or social media, the first place customers do their research is online – and restaurants are no different. Be sure to check out our guide on the best free digital channels you can use to promote your restaurant and its offerings!