Limited-time offers (LTOs) are a frequently-used strategy in the restaurant industry, as evidenced by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, Olive Garden’s “Buy One Take One” offer, and many others. LTOs allow restaurants to test menu items to see if customers like them — without committing the items to the permanent menu board. The short time frame increases urgency for customers who want to try new dishes before they disappear.
Well-designed and marketed LTOs can drive significant revenue. But after management has chosen an idea from the drawing board, there’s a lot that goes into proper LTO execution. Corporate must make sure that each location is prepared for launch, operates appropriately during the offer, and analyzes results once the offer ends.
So how can restaurants effectively keep track of all the moving pieces involved in an LTO? Here are a few tips for effectively executing a winning LTO:
When you’re dealing with hundreds (if not thousands) of locations, it’s critical that materials are placed throughout each restaurant advertising the promotion. Two different locations in the same city or state need to have consistent displays and LTO materials.
Marketing signage like table toppers, window clings, and the like should be constant reminders of the current LTO. Execution management software can help restaurants complete and check their work by providing a set of clear instructions and a way to let corporate know when certain tasks are finished.
All that marketing signage is great, but restaurant employees are an even bigger sales driver. When customers ask, employees must describe the LTO in a consistent manner. What’s in the menu item? What’s it similar to? How does the employee like it? What complements this menu item? Customers want to know.
If employees across locations describe the LTO in varying ways, it can have a negative impact on the brand. Execution management software can provide employees with the resources they need such as videos, guides, and more for each LTO.
For many LTOs, restaurants will need components that they don’t normally have. Maybe there’s a specially-marinated meat, extra-large taco shells, or new drink flavorings.
Based on traffic at each restaurant, management will have a general idea of how much product to have on hand. Execution management platforms can help employees check new inventory shipments — when they arrive, what components are included, and whether or not anything is missing.