Promotions and discounts are well known restaurant marketing strategies available to vendors hoping to attract more customers and promote their businesses. As a matter of fact this kind of well-planned strategy is an ‘investment’ that could help you reach the goal of building up customer loyalty even though in most cases, it ends up being less effective, especially nowadays when the competition has increased and remains steadily arduous.
This is due to several factors we will mention in this post and that you must take into account in order to achieve the positive impact you will usually expect when launching effective restaurant promotions.
We will now present you with key points you should be aware of before offering promotions and discounts in order to obtain great results while avoiding wasting precious time and resources.
What should you do before considering a restaurant marketing promotion?
Before organizing a promotional campaign, you must first define a goal. Discounts usually have a tendency to attract “bargain hunters”, that is, customers who will refrain from buying much or anything when no offers are available. The moment clients are actually present in your restaurant provides you with the ideal opportunity to build customer loyalty. That window of opportunity offers the best chance to gain their loyalty by adopting strategies that adapt to their interests.
Gaining customer loyalty is not easy, it is indeed the biggest challenge restaurants face these days. It is the main objective your promotions should focus on, to attract loyal customers who will then spread the word and give positive feedback about your business while bringing in new customers, those type of clients are the ones who will generate the most benefits. Getting the attention of bargain hunters shouldn’t be included within your set of goals.
Next, we will share 4 tips you can use to attract frequent customers and get the most out of your promotion strategies.
Four tips to make effective promotions
1. Quality treatment
In our experience, we have noticed cases in which some businesses release discount coupons to the public, surprisingly, when customers arrive and show interest in using them to finalize sales, the staff treats them disparagingly due to the fact that the exchange included a price reduction.
To avoid this, you must train your staff so they evenly offer quality treatment to all customers.
If they show up hoping to make use of a promotion, your staff should not act in derogatory ways, remember: good service is always rewarded, it is an opportunity to keep customers engaged with your business so, efforts should be made to have them come back again and again; keep in mind that the purpose of promotions is to gain loyal customers, offering good treatment and great experiences will surely help you achieve that objective.
2. Discounts or free products?
Giving away free products is a better than offering discounts as a way to attract more customers. It has been proven that customers prefer gifts as opposed to discounts, which is also a good way to avoid "bargain hunters" who aren’t actually attracted to this type of pre-sales. In addition, gifts could generate more income than actual costs, this is a more manageable offer than those granted by discounts. Free product strategies are an effective way to motivate and gain loyal clients.
3. Neither permanent nor aggressive
Permanent and aggressive promotional campaigns have the potential to become counterproductive and suspicious. You must launch discounts and promotions at specific times and after a while, spring back to your normal pace of activities. The permanence of discounts could spoil customers and become an inconvenience by the time you decide to get rid of them.
4. Creativity matters
Do your best not to offer the typical, run-of-the-mill promotions, take advantage of holidays or the change of seasons to do something original and ingenious. For instance, offer flower arrangements on dates such as Mother's or Valentine's Day, combos linked to other local businesses or movies and dinner packages.
Proven and effective promotions
Although originality is important, there are promotions that never go out of style and could end up being positively effective when applied to your business. However, you should be aware that not all are ideal for your restaurant, each one brings its own set of benefits and more importantly, you should keep in mind they will only be effective if you manage and follow them closely.
10% discounts for university students or retirees, special promotions for restaurant employees or companies associated to your business, birthday promotions, complimentary beverages for regular customers and of course, a special discount for those who pay in cash. Furthermore and most definitely, you can not afford to miss discounts or promotions for holidays or special dates (such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day and so on).
It must be taken into consideration that applying this type of traditional promotions provides businesses with results that can be used to their advantage. Such results must be measured and quantified at all times. Study what sort of benefits they bring, figure out if they attract more or fewer clients, what the impact on the cash flow is, how much it costs to implement them. This approach will provide you with ways to make sure your efforts actually translate into desirable and positive results.
Incentives that are always welcome
1. Product samples
Offer curious onlookers a small, sample dish, this is a good way to advertise new products and highlight specific menu items. Restaurants usually offer food samples, they help clients make up their minds and motivate them to pay for full meals in the near future. This method encourages them to approach your establishment and become frequent and loyal customers.
2. Extra amounts
Have you ever noticed how certain brands offer clients a little more product for a slightly lower price? Consider this example: the price of serving 14 chicken croquettes is barely more expensive than serving just 10. This changes the perception of actual proportions, inducing the customer to buy larger rations.
3. Fidelity counts
Offer a free drink for regular clients or introduce promotions in which, clients who make 6 or more restaurant reservations get a free meal. These are effective ways to encourage customers to return to your restaurant repeatedly and boost profits.
To wrap things up, creativity and innovation are definitely the best tools available for restaurants hoping to generate unique promotions that effectively attract new volumes of clients. There are multiple ways to achieve this but keep in mind that customer loyalty must always remain as your ultimate goal; take the initiative to create unique experiences and memorable moments, now It's time to innovate!