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Restaurant Promotions that Aren't Discounts

Published By: Jeff Darmound  -  Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Worn out restaurant dining chairs are a sign that they've gotten heavy use, but does this necessarily mean an eatery is profitable? Just because a restaurant is packed doesn't mean that you're earning record profits and it's especially true when people are only showing up for discounts. Discounts are definitely a powerful way to get people to try a restaurant, but they can't be the only promotional tool that is used. Fortunately, there are tons of restaurant promotion ideas that don't revolve around discounting meals.

Provide Entertainment

While you can bring in a patron once a month through sales promotions, offering some form of entertainment can keep people coming back. It's pretty easy to make an impression on people with something as simple as a big screen television playing the big game, but why not go a little further and occasionally host live entertainment such as a local band? A person who truly enjoys their night out will be more likely to frequent your bar tables in the future, and you can't guarantee this when it comes to discount promotions alone.

Offer Discounts for the Future

While offering future discounts seems like another self-promotion it's actually beneficial when it comes to filling up restaurant dining chairs in the long run. Instead of saying “Stop by tonight for 15 percent off your meal," say something along the lines of “For every $25 you spend, get a coupon for $5 off your next visit." You can include a disclaimer which states that the next meal must be $25 or more, and in the end, you'll end up making $50 for a $5 investment. You also give people incentive to spend more on their initial visit and to come back later.

Sponsor Something in the Community

Impressing guests doesn't always start at the restaurant booths. In fact, community sponsorships can impress people who never visited your establishment. Sponsoring a local organization will showcase a sense of social responsibility, and that is what people are looking for today. While you can make a sponsorship a one-time expense, if it's a continuous act, you will end up with the constant promotional tool that can work for you.

Offer Take-Home Meals

Just about every restaurant offers to-go boxes and pickup options, but far fewer give their patrons a take-home meal option. Many restaurants now do this by packaging certain meals, complete with entree and dessert, so that consumers can take them home and cook the meal themselves. Sometimes this just involves reheating, but even if cooking instructions have to be included, many people will still jump at the chance of having a meal ready to go the next day. And on the promotional side, social media buzz and word-of-mouth surrounding these offers will certainly pay off.

Discounts are great, but if you're looking to buy that new commercial restaurant equipment or replace old restaurant dining chairs you need to actually bring in revenue. Everything at a restaurant will cost money and if you are continuously discounting your meals in order to get people in the door you will often end up losing money. Sales promotions should not be used as permanent marketing tools, they are better as sporadic techniques.

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