Promotions are a very common way of stimulating sales. Not done right however, can eat all your effort and profit. Make the best of your restaurant promotions ideas by segmenting your clients and targeting different promotions for each audience.

Everyone is different

Your clients are not all the same. They have different motivations for choosing a restaurant. For some is the food, for others the prices, quality of the service, atmosphere, online ordering and so on. Thus, a promotion can be very effective for one segment and a waste of money for another. Your challenge: find the right trigger for the right audience.

Restaurant promotions ideas by objective

Let’s look at some common business objectives and some restaurant promotions ideas for each of them.

Increase activity when business is low

Happy hours: Try discounting in those days and time intervals when your business is low. Test different discount levels and do the math to see which one works best for you. There’s no fixed recipe you can apply. You just need to try.

Lunch menus: Do you have office buildings close to your restaurant? Create an appealing lunch menu and spread some flyer in those buildings to let people know your offering.

restaurant promotions ideas for the online menu

Acquire new customers

As we have seen in the trend reports, 48% of consumers say a coupon or other deal can encourage them to try a new restaurant. Now the question is: how do you do promotions targeting only new customers?

Thinking in terms of traditional marketing, you can do things like distributing coupons in areas where you want to increase popularity (areas where you have little to no business). Point is that there’s not much you can do to separate the two groups. Online, however, it’s a lot easier. On Facebook, for example, you can advertise your restaurant to people who do not already follow your restaurant page. Or for those that order online, you can set your promotions to show up in the menu only for clients who have never ordered from you. Online you can make sure you don’t spend money on people who are already frequent customers of yours.

Deal with competition

If you are, for example, a pizza place and all your competitors are doing promotions, you might not have a choice but to also do promotions, at least in those city area where the competition is high. Just like above, advertising on Facebook with geo targeting is very effective. You can also set your online ordering system to show the promotions only to people from your designated geo areas.

Sell to more people than those sitting at the tables

If you want to increase your online business for pickup or delivery, first thing you need to do is to make sure your clients know that you offer these services. Print some promo cards that highlight your website and the online ordering service. Leave these cards on the table and also distribute them along with the takeout orders.

Stimulate pickup in rush hours

Your online ordering system should help here as well. Create promotions that are available only for pickup to motivate your customers to collect the orders themselves and reduce the pressure on your overloaded drivers. The incentive you offer could be the cost you would anyway have with delivery, but overall your clients will be served faster and thus happier.

Increase order value

A classic here is offering free delivery for a minimum order value. However, other gifts, discounts or free desserts could works as well. Try them!

Get more pre-paid orders

Some restaurants have the issues of fake orders. Other do not want to rely on the delivery riders to collect the money. In other cases, the payment with credit card is very popular, but people keep asking for a POS machine at the door. All these situations can be handled the same way: motivate your clients to pay online by creating a promotion that can be redeemed only if they pay online.

Reward your loyal customers

It is six times cheaper to maintain a customer than to acquire a new one. Loyalty programs are not easy to put in place, but don’t use this as an excuse. You can start with simple things like rewards or incentives. In your online ordering system, set up a promotion like “10% off on every 5th order”.

One last thing: Online opens the door to new marketing possibilities that were not available until now. An online presence with an online ordering system are these days at hand also for the non-technical persons. If you’re not there yet, check out the articles below.