Quality is important in business, but so is price. Restaurant discounts can entice a wide range of new customers, as well as delight loyal and existing diners.
When choosing a place to eat, customers are often swayed by discounts and promotions. Approximately 81% of diners admit to searching for discounts on a regular basis when choosing where to eat. Additionally, 40% of these patrons change their minds if a better deal comes along.
These deals do not need to be permanent. In fact, a time-bound discount or offer creates a sense of urgency and 59% of customers will let a restaurant discount guide their decision.
Therefore, special offers are the key to gaining new customers and retaining repeat business. To help you out, we have introduced a new feature on Snappmeal, which makes running time-bound promotions easier than before. Let’s go over some restaurant discounts that help make your business flourish.
Buy One, Get One Free
Buy One Get One Free, affectionately known as BOGOF (and sometimes BOGO), is arguably the most popular restaurant discount of all. It appeals to all kinds of bargain-hunters.
Consider the following situations:
- Two friends are going to the movies. Offering BOGOF on pizza is the perfect pre-movie meal.
- A couple are short on money but have a babysitter. BOGOF on main meals ensures they can enjoy a date night.
- A parent is eating with a fussy child who doesn’t finish a meal. It feels like less of a waste of money if the child’s food was free.
- A large group is attending a celebratory dinner. BOGOF meal deals ensure that many of them can enjoy a reasonably-priced meal.
As with all discounts, you’ll need to weigh the cost versus profit. When offering a free item, always make it cheaper than the counterpart. If you find that you are losing money on BOGOF deals, reconsider using them.
One way to avoid losing money is to upsell. Not all deals need to be identical. You could offer a large pizza, for example, and get a smaller pizza free. Also, the discount doesn’t have to revolve only around food. Free drinks and free delivery are just as appealing as food.
BOGOF deals are a great way to entice business during quiet periods. Try offering a discount during the traditional slump between lunch and dinner. You can also look at which nights your restaurant is least busy, like Monday nights, for example.
Combination promotions are a great way to impress customers. What’s more, they’ll also help you decrease excessive inventory. If you are struggling to get something out of the kitchen, make it part of a combination discount.
You can pair any number of items from the kitchen to create a restaurant discount. Simply think of two menu items that belong together. Some examples may be:
- Purchase a food item, get a discount on a soda.
- Purchase a coffee, get a discount on a breakfast pastry.
- Purchase a burger, get a discount on sides such as French Fries.
- Purchase a dessert, get a discount on an accompanying drink.
You could also attach a list of restrictions to your food combo. A good example would be to say that the discount only applies if a customer buys a larger item or spends a certain amount.
This is essentially upselling without the pressure. Customers will be inclined to combine their favorites with a food partner if they feel they are getting a good deal. Your restaurant will turn more profit while your customers feel valued and respected.
Just be mindful when running a combination. Do not get too elaborate. The more you offer, the more profit you are potentially missing out on. The idea of a combo deal is to encourage people to spend more with you, not less.
Centering a discount for your customers around particular times is always a winner. Time is not infinite; a sense of urgency can drive patrons to your business. Happy Hours, often used to lure workers who’ve just gotten off work into visiting a restaurant before the dinner rush, are a popular way to attract customers.
For example, 60.5% of all trade in American restaurants takes place during scheduled Happy Hours. Many people think the focus of Happy Hour is on drinks, but it isn’t. Most consumers consider food prices to be more important than drinks during Happy Hour. If all goes well, patrons will stick around for both.
You can also offer restaurant discounts during quieter periods. Not everyone works 9 – 5 anymore. If your business is usually empty between 3 and 5pm, offer discounted food at this point. You will entice new customers keen on an early dinner and a bargain.
Setting up a time-based discount can sometimes be an exercise in administration. It doesn’t need to be, though. By downloading the Snappmeal app, everything that you need will be set up at the touch of a button.
Making your restaurant discounts percentage-based is a quick and simple way to accommodate discounts into your menu. You can also build this into your estimated bottom line.
If you offer a discount of 10% to particular customers, you’ll have an edge over the competition. It’s up to you as to who receives these perks. Some suggestions could be:
- Friends and family of staff
- Regular customers
- Members of the armed forces
- Employees of emergency services
- Patrons that visit at particular times
Survey your customer base and build your business model around this. Offer your discounts to people that will benefit most. They will then inform their friends, colleagues and family of your offering. This means more people arriving through your doors!
Calendar-Based Discounts or Specials
Everybody knows the common holidays of the calendar. What you may not be aware of is the many and varied foodie holidays that fall throughout the year.
Download Snappmeal’s free Foodie Holiday Calendar for inspiration. Here, you will find a wide range of holidays that can be used to run restaurant promotions.
Some examples of foodie holiday days include:
- Pizza Day – 9th February
- Burger Day – 28th May
- Vanilla Milkshake Day – 20th June
- Waffle Day – 24th August
- World Cake Day – 26th November
If you offer a discount on these products on these dates, you’ll attract plenty of customers. What’s more, you’ll also attract attention online. By discussing these holidays, you can create social media buzz.
Better yet, when people visit for a special occasion, they’ll likely return on a later date. After all, a good burger is for life – not just for May 28th.
Restaurant discounts are a critical part of your business model. Do not think of promotions as losing money. Think about the new customers you will attract instead. By implementing loss-leading tactics, you have the opportunity to turn strangers into regular patrons.