LIMITED TIME OFFERS LIMITLESS POTENTIAL

BOOST BRAND EXCITEMENT AND DRIVE SALES

Limited-time offers (LTOs) can go a long way toward generating buzz and impulse buying among foodservice customers. From deep-discounted specials to seasonally-focused items to simple test runs of new menu creations, there are many approaches to promoting LTOs. Hispanic cuisine restaurant operators can leverage LTOs as an effective marketing tool to court a new audience and increase sales. Just remember to craft offerings tailored to the wants and needs of the customers you’re trying to attract.

LTO IDEAS FOR HISPANIC CUISINE RESTAURANT OPERATORS

LTOs help entice consumers into your restaurant, and encourage trial for your existing customers, without you having to make a full-menu commitment. Hispanic cuisine restaurant operators can experiment in many ways—like new, family-friendly items or savvy upgrades to current offerings. For example, steeping fresh mint leaves into simple syrup adds a new flavor dimension to traditional Agua Fresca, all while creating a new opportunity for a high-margin upcharge. Try developing dessert equivalents of popular appetizers, like cinnamon sugar nachos with dulce de leche ice cream.

Offering special availability of a premium protein can also serve as a tempting LTO that maximizes value. For instance, quail as an upgrade to chicken, or venison as a choice above beef. An LTO can even be as simple as a sauce to enhance flavors of dishes. For instance, the limited-time option to add a succulent sauce made of shrimp, chorizo and chipotle over items like enchiladas or chile rellenos.

MAKE THE MOST OF SEASONALITY

When ingredients are at their seasonal peak, they are also typically at their best price. Savvy restaurateurs take advantage of this by menuing LTOs based on products and their seasonal availability. Making use of seasonality also ensures you’re creating items for your menu from ingredients that are at their freshest and most flavorful.

Seasonal timing creates other advantages to developing an LTO strategy. Holidays are special occasions, and often the busiest days of the year for many restaurants. As a Hispanic cuisine restaurant operator you can leverage holidays to help maximize sales. For example, create and promote specialized menus for busy holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Latin American Independence Day, or even Cinco de Mayo.

That isn’t to say that you have to focus on a specific holiday, or even create a full menu. Temperature and weather changes within a season are a great reason to try out a new LTO. For instance, try offering Mexican Hot Chocolate to help warm up your customers during the chilly months of winter.

PROPER PLANNING IS YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS

Limited-time offers, while fun to create and think about, can take a little extra planning when it comes time to execute. Depending on the LTO, you may need to source new ingredients, as well as plan for menu changes. Additionally, you’ll want to have a strategy to promote LTOs. Table tents and other at-table signage can inform your loyal customers. Paid advertising for the LTO may lead to a new set of customers through your doors. The right planning will help you better maximize your profit potential.

SHORT SUPPLY CREATES MORE DEMAND

Always remember that LTOs are meant to be short lived. While seasonality can play a factor, limiting the window of your offer actually can create greater demand from your customer base. Even if it seems like a great idea to offer successful LTOs year-round, it can also lessen demand. When an item is in short demand, consumers are left with a choice of either getting it now, or not at all. And in many cases, this strategy influences consumers to purchase. For instance, McDonald’s could offer peppermint shakes year round. But, by only selling Shamrock Shakes close to St. Patrick’s Day, they create a higher market demand for the product.

Always remember that LTOs are meant to be short lived. While seasonality can play a factor, limiting the window of your offer actually can create greater demand from your customer base. Even if it seems like a great idea to offer successful LTOs year-round, it can also lessen demand. When an item is in short demand, consumers are left with a choice of either getting it now, or not at all. And in many cases, this strategy influences consumers to purchase. For instance, McDonald’s could offer peppermint shakes year round. But, by only selling Shamrock Shakes close to St. Patrick’s Day, they create a higher market demand for the product.

When promoting your LTO, highlight the end date. Time limits work to their fullest potential when your customers are aware of them. And, stick to your end date. If customers learn your offers don’t end on the specified date, they’ll get used to the availability, thus decreasing their own need or desire for the product.

TRACK PROMOTIONS TO DETERMINE POTENTIAL

Finally, keep an active watch on how your LTOs are impacting your bottom line. Track each promotion individually in terms of costs and profits, to see what worked and what didn’t. If an LTO is not adding a lift in sales, see what tweaks and adjustments can be made to ensure its success. Oppositely, if an LTO is creating enormous buzz and big gains to your daily sales, keep it in your back pocket for the future. Limiting the end-date of an LTO doesn’t mean it has to be a one-and-done deal. Re-introduce LTO’s on an annual basis to generate consumer excitement, recognition, and increased demand.