Restaurant Promotion Ideas You Can Try Today

In a business with fierce competition, increasing profits is not an easy job. While the owners can get very creative with their restaurant promotion ideas, having the right tool to set them up can be quite a challenge. And that’s because promotions will most likely increase your sales and workload, but not necessarily your profit as well.

And this is the real problem that our new marketing module helps solve. You can shape your promotions to show them only to those clients who need an incentive. Define clear objectives for your campaigns and you’ll achieve them with minimum spend.

Look and feel

Before we get into the mechanics of the new marketing module, let’s see how a promo looks and behaves.

restaurant menu widget with restaurant promotion

The promotions that you create will show up in your online menu and shopping cart, either from the beginning or after inserting a coupon code (we’ll cover this later in the post). Either way, this is how the promotions will look.

See more of them in our demo, Restaurant Pronto:

See Demo MENU

Restaurant promotion ideas you can try today

We’ve made a jukebox with the best restaurant promotions that work and we implemented them in our system. Here’s the list of “best hits” and some usage examples:

promotion idea 1 Buy one, get one free.
e.g. Buy a burger and get the second one free or buy a large pizza and get the soda free
restaurant promotion ideas > 2 % discount on selected items
e.g. 30% off on any dessert or drink
restaurant promotion ideas > 3 Fixed discount amount on cart
e.g. $5 discount for every order above $30
restaurant promotion ideas > 4 % discount on cart
e.g. 10% discount for every order above $30
restaurant promotion ideas > 5 Free delivery
e.g. Free delivery for orders above $15
restaurant promotion ideas > 6 Payment method reward
e.g. 5% discount for every order paid online
restaurant promotion ideas > 7 Buy 2,3,… get one free
e.g. Buy a burger and fries and get the drink for free or buy a soup plus main dish plus salad and get the dessert for free
restaurant promotion ideas > 8 Fixed discount amount on combo deal
e.g. $5 off for every main dish plus dessert
restaurant promotion ideas > 9 % discount on combo deal
e.g. Buy a burger plus fries and get 20% of the drink
restaurant promotion ideas > 10 Free dish or discounted item as part of a meal
e.g. Free dessert or drink if you purchase starter plus main dish
restaurant promotion ideas > 11 Value Meal bundle
e.g. Any 2 appetizers plus 2 main dishes + 2 desserts → all for $55.

Don’t leave money on the table

The best restaurant promotions are those that have a very clear specific objective, not the broad ones like “I want to increase sales”. Try to be specific in what you want to accomplish. It’s better to have several targeted promotions than one for all. Why? Because otherwise you would be leaving money on the table. You would waste discounts (or other incentives) on people who just don’t care about them, that would have ordered anyway and/or that are sensitive to a whole different type of benefits.

The promotion engine offers a set of rules that you can apply to any promo deal from the list above. Here’s how you can use them to tailor your promotions to specific business needs.

Happy hour – allows you to show the promotion only in certain days and time intervals. Use this to increase activity in the slow, unprofitable hours. You know your business best to maybe you want to use happy hours for the contrary effect — to focus all orders in a shorter program and close kitchen earlier.

Delivery Area – limits your promotions to those in a specific delivery zone. It’s worth considering for: new areas that you open for delivery, areas with high competition, areas with certain demographics (example: businesses special campus for which you could run ongoing lunch menus) and so on.

On the other end, you can also say “I want my promotion only for pickup”. It’s a good option for rush hours to stimulate pick-up when your drivers are anyway overloaded. Afterall, the discount could be the cost you would anyway have with the delivery. Plus, your clients will be served faster by your less busy drivers.

Cart value – offer discounts depending on the order value if you feel your delivery orders are too petty. Test some thresholds and find your sweet-spots. Works every time.

Payment – at the beginning, most of your clients may prefer paying with cash or card at swiper, but not necessarily online. If you want more orders pre-paid online think about incentivizing such behaviour a bit..

Client type – allows you to set a promotion only for new clients or only for returning ones. This is most useful to convince more of your website visitors to become your customers. However, don’t forget to reward your loyal customers as well. It is 6 times cheaper to to keep an existing client returning than attracting a new one so…it’s really worth to do something for them. (e.g. 10% off on every 5th order)

Frequency – set how many times a promotion can be used by your customer. While most of the times you will leave it to “unlimited”, there are cases when you will want to make sure it’s used only once per client. An example might be the reward campaign for your loyal customers mentioned above.

You have additional settings to make sure things don’t get out of control:

  • exclusivity – the promotion will not be combined with others on the same order;
  • stock – limits the number of times the promo is redeemed. Should be used for stock or workload limitations;
  • expiration date – will automatically expire on you desired date, so that you don’t have to remember and do it yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed by all these options, then just stop reading so much stuff and just login now. The interface will guide you every step of the way. And to finish of properly, you can simulate and test any scenario for which you set a promo deal:

preview restaurant promotions

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this awesome GloriaFood Tutorial on the basics of setting up a restaurant promotion.

Restaurant promotions with coupon codes

The promo engine would not be complete without support for coupon codes. Most common restaurant promotion ideas with coupons involve mass distribution of leaflets (or other printed materials) or text messages. The purpose here is to acquire new customers. However, they can also work for building loyalty. Print them on cards and offer them with pickup or delivery for discount on the next order.

Coupon codes are automatically generated for a promotion, but you can also create it custom, for easier input (like PRONTO123). Your customers just insert the code in the cart and the promotion shows up.

A bit on the side: Put small promo cards on the dine-in tables to highlight your website URL, along with a tasty dish photo and the “See MENU & Order” button. This way, every dine-in customer of yours may also become an online client, ordering more often, together with more people, without even occupying valuable table space during peak times.

print restaurant flyers

Slip one of those promo cards inside the bag of every takeout order. When the ordering client unwraps the package, he/she may actually leave it on the table while eating. There are good chances your customer is not eating alone, so your promo card could actually be seen by more people.

Final tip: Not only is the online marketing module a great way of doing effective promo deals but it can also help track the success of your promotional efforts. In your Admin panel you can see how many times a promotion was used. This means for example, that if you invest in distributing leaflets today containing a coupon code, you’ll see later how many people redeemed your offer.

restaurant promotion statistics

Don’t waste another moment. Log into your Admin Panel and start promoting your business!

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