It’s no secret that discounts and promotions bring in more sales, but is it a good long term strategy or a cheap trick?
Offers and discounts are a tool that can be beneficial to your bottom line if used correctly. There are lots of clever ways to get people to buy without directly discounting, which we’ll talk about in this article.
7 steps to use discounts without hurting your bottom line
If you offer discounts to your customers, does it hurt your bottom line? Planning ahead makes sure you don’t do too many discounts, which can train your customers to expect them.
Know your slow times of year
If you’ve been running a restaurant for a while, you know that there are certain times of the year/month/week that are slow. These are the times when you need to boost your sales, so plan for this ahead of time.
Do 4 major promos a year
Running a promotion every month or so gives you time to build up a back-log of people who are still deciding if they want to dine with you or not. A discount gives them a reason to dine now, instead of waiting, and maybe never at all.
Try spacing them out exactly every 30-90 days, try to hit the slow times. If you know you are going to be slow during the summer, plan a discount at the beginning and end to help keep profits steady.
Promote your promotion
This one is more about maximizing revenue than maintaining brand identity, but if you’re gonna do a promotion, you should make it a good one. Your promo isn’t going to work if no one knows about it, so work on strategically promoting it. Reach out to your customers on channels they are most likely to use like emails, messages and social media platforms.
Don’t show the same thing to everyone
Personalizing your promotion is a great way to run a promo without over-exposing it. You also might want to send different promotions to different people. For example, if a customer has not returned to your restaurant in 30 days, you might want to send them a really juicy offer to get them to come back. Someone who just dined in with you may not need the same type of offer.
Do smaller targeted promotions
You only want to do big public promotions a few times per year, or else you will make your customers get used to dining with you only during offers. However, you can still run smaller, targeted promotions in between the larger ones.
If you have segmented your customers based on their purchase patterns, you have customers in different phases of the buying cycle. You can do a promotion only for a certain segment, and send it to only them.
Another idea is to discount a complimentary item to go along with your main offering. If you normally charge $9 for a bottle of wine, give it away free or heavily discounted with a purchase for a limited time.
Use discounts as a gateway to cross-sell and up-sell
Have you heard of a loss leader? It’s a product sold at a loss to attract customers into a store.
Even though they lose money on those items, they bank on customers purchasing other items such as french fries with beer which more than make up for the loss.
Many successful restaurants use offers and discounts to increase their revenue, they just do it strategically. Without discounts, these customers may have never purchased, so it does increase profitability.
Also, keep in mind promotions don’t always have to be discounts. It can be a birthday or anniversary wish or even a simple thank you. If you run your promotions correctly, they will increase long-term profitability without hurting your brand.
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