One of the most basic marketing knowledge you should acquire as a restaurateur is how to play with different concepts on restaurant LTO. It’s a combination of brand awareness generation and customer engagement on your restaurant menu. It helps you drive interest, excitement, and traffic to your restaurant.
Casual dining and quick-service restaurants have seen the potential of LTO in their daily operations. Investing in this kind of marketing strategy is a sure way to boost up sales, and trying out new menu items without the necessity to commit to the customers. It’s a great way to check out what could work as your menu item, and you can easily incorporate different food and industry trends through your LTOs.
Getting more curious about it? How about you read along to know more about the LTO concepts in the Restaurant Industry, and learn how it puts your restaurant is a great advantage. Let’s get started!
What is LTOs in the Restaurant Industry
LTOs or commonly called limited-time offers are menu items or set items that are available for some time. As the term itself, your customers can only avail of this product in your restaurant during a specific period. Take, for instance, the happy hour promotion. It can be identified as an LTO concept as you’re only offering certain drinks or offer them at a special price set for a limited time. It’s a time-constrained incentive to your customers.
While it’s not that hard to capture customer’s interest through limited-time offers, it is still important that you’ll launch an LTO campaign timely. Pay attention to your timing, and work together with your marketing team to ensure that you’re not getting into a trend too late or too early.
Getting into the season is one of the most basic ways to create limited-time offers. Is it already summer? Take advantage of it and create a limited-time offer of the seasoned ingredients in your local community. And if you’re thinking of providing an innovative gastronomical experience for your customers, but unsure of how your customers will react to it, you can launch it as an LTO first. This is also to create and stimulate excitement from your customers, but holding out your restaurant’s brands and persona.
It is also a great way to manage your inventory. You can optimize the movement of your supplies through limited-time offers. Be creative and check out the food trends on your market. Looking into the status of the competition is also effective as you now have a different perspective on how you’ll do things. Just be mindful, that while offering something new and fresh is vital to keep your customers engaged with your brand, your food quality should still be your priority.
There are limits in finding the best available flavor or combinations there are. Ensure that your food items will still deliver the comfort that it aims while you’re incorporating different concepts in it. Failure to do so can lead to opposing results than your goal when you started your limited-time offers.
Limited-time offers should be carried out with sophistication but without hurting the budget of your target market. It must be marketed and communicated well to ensure the success of your new campaign. It must be made out of the most available ingredients and consolidated from what your restaurant is already offering.
Reasons Of Using LTOs in Restaurants
Your restaurant can be the main source of plenty of hows, whys, and whats, with LTOs involved, here are the main reasons why restaurants are considering various restaurant LTO concepts. Check out if an LTO could be the answer to one of your restaurant’s needs.
New Menu Item or Service Assessment
Market research and analysis are incomplete if you don’t have data for the response of customers towards your new service or product. It is useful to have a system where you can introduce a product without having to commit to it full-time. If it doesn’t work with your target audience, you can create a good analysis out of it.
Check out the factors that might affect such results. Your timing, current market situation, season, and trends can all affect the customer’s response towards your new product or service. This is the beauty behind LTO concepts, if it doesn’t work out, then you can just simply take it out of your menu without affecting your market.
Effective Marketing Strategy
Seventy-two percent of the Millennial population see the importance of new menu items, flavor launches, and services to a restaurant. There’s no need to worry about innovating new flavors and menu concepts as you now have the system that builds assurance for you and your restaurant.
If you want to capture the attention and interest of the demographics that carry the highest buying power in the industry, you may want to work on your LTOs. Fifty percent of Millenials and Gen Z want to score first on a restaurant’s limited-time offers and post it on their social media accounts as it creates the sense of being the pioneer.
Practical Tool for Customer Engagement
Looking for ways on how to show care and value to your customers? Aside from rewards, loyalty programs, and special discounts, limited-time offers can also be utilized as a special promotion for your restaurant. Think of ways on how to formulate an exciting limited-time offer and give it as a special and reasonable deal to your customers.
And since it’s only available for a limited time, it gives out the impression of it being extra special and valuable. Customers can be intrigued by this type of new product or service and they will be allured to try it out.
Basic Rules in Creating an LTO Plan for Your Restaurant
Here are the basic rules that you should know if you’re planning to carry out a limited-time offer strategy. You must know the basics before diving into an unfamiliar field to minimize the impact on your restaurant if there will be one.
Keep it simple
Avoid confusing your customers and keep your offers simple. While complicated and unfamiliar words may seem pretty catchy, if your customers don’t have any idea what it is about, they might skip it out. Don’t expect that your staff will always be available to explain things out for your customers. (Also this is the reason why menu descriptions are important).
Involve the staff
Your staff will be the main support of your LTO campaigns. Training them on how to introduce your new products and services is important for them to know it by heart, and to make it easier for them to communicate it to your customers. They must have an idea of how to serve it, how to eat it, and how it tastes.
If your staff can’t explain your LTO menu to your customers, there’s a great chance that it will fail. Customers want assurance especially now that they are extra-conscious about what they eat. They will be asking for explanations to the thing they’re unfamiliar with, and failure to provide a good answer will harm your restaurant’s reputation.
Set a specific period
To see how well your LTO campaign or concept went, you must mark the start and end of it. Using your POS system and other software, see and analyze if your new items and services have appealed positively to your customers. From the data you’ll gather, you can create your next marketing and sales move.
Check the timing
Always be wary about the timing of your launch. Keep in mind that jumping too late or too early can significantly affect your limited-time offers. Take the risk but don’t be too playful, you’re still a being for business. The well-being of your restaurant should come first before anything else. Ideally, restaurants advertise and promote LTOs thirty days before their proper launch.
Essential Elements of LTO Concepts for Restaurants
Before working on your restaurant’s marketing with LTOs, make sure that you complete the following elements to make it operational and productive.
Set a workable goal to achieve. What is your main objective why you’re planning to start limited-time offers for your restaurant? Do you want to double up the number of customer engagement in a week or month? Then try out incorporating food trends on your LTOs. But if you’re planning to create your trends, then try to appeal using niche LTOs.
Having a clear objective on what you want to achieve is important in every business-making decision. Create LTOs that speak directly to your target audience by setting goals and objectives.
This demographic is sensitive yet it’s one of the most powerful drives in the Restaurant Industry. If you want your LTOs to deliver good results right away, then consider looking into your current market situation. To whom you’re speaking to and which population is more attracted to your restaurant brand? Once you have the data on your hands, your LTOs will be all set.
Keep in mind that men respond to different stimuli than women. Meaty and edgy items are more appealing to men, while cheesy and creamy food items are what interests women more. Deal with what your customers are looking for and try working it in on your new LTO concepts.
Consider looking at the generation you’re serving. Understandably, you want to appeal to a broader customer base as possible but you must also take care of what you already have. If you’re currently piquing interests from the Millennials, then formulate an LTO concept that includes the trends and common interests of this generation.
Check out what are the concepts, flavors, and innovations that intrigue your customers. Remember the craze about matcha-flavored goods? How about the boba-nation? Learn to embrace the generation you’re currently catering to while trying out other concepts that may appeal to other generations as well.
Make better use of your vocabulary and start marketing with descriptive and decadent language. Why do you think that “finger-licking-good” and “lovin’ it” work so well for their respective brands? It is because they stimulate the psychology behind words and vocabulary. Just reading and hearing those set of words, provides a good start for an interesting dining experience.
Also, remember that a restaurant with limited time offers is not a permanent menu resident. One way to market it properly is to be descriptive and indulgent as much as possible without appearing too sales and forceful to your customers. You must use simple terms that are easy to understand to avoid intimidating your customers.
There are different approaches to how you’ll introduce your limited-time offers, but one of the most effective is clinging to the concept of the “good-for-you” method. Customers are more driven to pay more to a product that appears to make them better. Organic, premium, natural, are just some of the terms that can draw their attention.
Authentic and real are also effective. Just make sure that your product and service can live up to the description that you provide your customers. False advertising is not something to take lightly.
Best Practices for Your Restaurant’s LTOs and Concepts
To help you more on your limited-time offers for your restaurant, here are some of the most practical tips that you can use.
Work on execution
Being able to execute a concept of limited-time offer with perfect timing, perfect target market, and the perfect trend can put your restaurant at a great advantage. It is not easy as you’re working in a competitive environment, but it is possible. Check out the reasons why your restaurant needs to launch an LTO and set a working goal for it.
After that, you must make it more compelling for your customers. The words “limited time” themselves create a sense of urgency, but you still have to make sure that you’ll highlight what your customers will be missing if they don’t try it out right away.
Be clear with our marketing and sales team on how you want your concepts to be executed to ensure their success and effectiveness.
Stick to the brand
There’s no harm in trying and experimenting with new things for your restaurants but your LTOs main benefit should be to raise brand awareness. Sticking into your restaurant’s brand and creating brand-driven products will be more useful for your restaurant. Your menu items and services may be permanent or temporary ones, should always reinforce your brand and represent your brand philosophy.
Avoid sending mixed messages to your customers by offering a new concept that’s different from your branding. If you want to innovate more, then you must start first on innovating your branding strategies before bombarding your customers with different products that are not related to your restaurant.
Stay updated about the local community
To create a stronger foundation for your restaurant business model and LTO concepts, make sure that you’ll be working closely with your local community. With the industry slowly opening itself to outdoor and social dining experiences, you must quickly establish your restaurant as a reliable local brand.
Your main source of your customers will be from the community your restaurant is standing in, so you might want to start integrating local sporting events, festivals, local social events, local holidays, community charities, city services, and other local community-relevant activities. If you can’t find an event or a group to work with, consider organizing and starting one. Being a pioneer is a rare opportunity in this industry.
No need to worry about the risks as one of the selling points of using limited-time offers for your restaurants is that it gives you an opportunity and freedom on trying out new concepts, no matter how crazy it is, within manageable risks. Its designed time frame makes it easier for you to work out your ideas without hurting your restaurant’s overall health.
Don’t be afraid to try out new things but stay focused on your brand. It’s a challenging task, but a fulfilling one on your end. Treat your customers with fresh ideas and a sensational dining experience by presenting the food items and services that are new but still stay relevant on your branding.
Keep it simple. Your concept does not need to be huge and extravagant, subtle add-ons can work well for your brand and your customers. Pizzas with classic and traditional flavors deliver comfort, but pizzas with experimental flavors such as dessert-themed pizzas spark buzz and interest among your customers. Presenting them a different-shaped pizza is also an interesting way to keep them curious about your restaurant.
Communicate to the market
There is no other way to make a new product or service successful but to communicate it well to your customers. Before committing to a permanent business decision, you must know how your customers will embrace this change. Observe and analyze the behavior of your target audience through the data that is provided by your software and tools.
A new experience is one of the most attractive offers you can make as a restaurateur. Provide your customers something to anticipate and talk about your restaurant. Rely on your helpful tools to make this process easier for you and your entire team.