It’s 8:00 pm on a Friday night, and your restaurant is packed from the bar to your booths. You have a book of reservations, and it’s standing room only. You make your rounds in the dining room; interact with everyone from families to young couples; and find them eating and drinking, laughing, and smiling. Nothing is more satisfying for a restaurant owner than a bustling, busy Friday night. The contrary is quite true, as well. Nothing is more debilitating and desolate than an empty dining room.
To ensure you experience the former situation and avoid the latter, as a restaurant owner, you know it’s important to run a tight ship. From excellent service to your actual food, there are plenty of variables that contribute to a successful restaurant. However, successful marketing and advertising ensure that people hear about your restaurant and are inspired to pay it a visit. These efforts also create repeat customers.
Looking to increase the traffic into your restaurant and fill seats? Consider the benefits of promotions. Coupons are highly influential in restaurant selection. The psychology of coupons shows a fundamental truth about consumers: they love to save money. Coupons also make consumers happy and inspire them to try new experiences. In fact, 78 percent of consumers said a coupon influenced them to try something new.
To make the most of coupons, however, it’s important to select the right type. Let’s look at some restaurant coupon examples.
Group Buying Website Coupons
Popularized over the past decade by providers like Groupon and LivingSocial, group buying websites are e-commerce marketplaces that connect subscribers to local services by offering limited-time promotions and discounts. Heralded by restaurant owners when the technique first emerged nearly a decade ago, these websites sometimes attract new consumers and generate incremental revenue. However, they also have their unavoidable negative effects.
Group buying websites almost exclusively cater to low-end bargain hunters and one-time customers—even within the restaurant segment. While businesses may make a one-time sale, it’s rare that consumers turn into brand advocates. Because these sites largely attract deal seekers, there are low rates of spending and return. Perhaps the most damaging factor for small businesses, however, is that, oftentimes, these short-term promotions are not even profitable. Some companies only pocket 50 percent of the revenue from each deal. And because restaurants are built on such tight margins, they often pay the price of working with these websites.
Direct Mail Coupons
The direct mail advertising industry has been around for nearly as long as the United States Postal Service. Valpak local coupons and other direct mail restaurant coupon examples find brands advertising directly to people’s homes. However, these techniques leave business owners hoping that residents actually receive the delivered coupons and take action.
While 22 percent of all consumers prefer mailed coupons to other methods, it’s important to review their limitations. Direct mail should be approached like newspaper and print advertising. Good advertising requires repetition, exposure, and targeting. Businesses must pay for multiple mailing campaigns to ensure that campaigns are seen. Direct mail advertising is often thrown away without hesitation (there’s a reason it’s called “junk mail” in the first place). Ultimately, direct mail advertising takes on a “spray and pray” approach. While businesses can target consumers in broad ZIP codes, you may be reaching consumers 30 miles from your business, meaning that they may not even choose your restaurant over a closer competitor.
Grocery Store Receipt Coupons
Unlike group buying and direct mail techniques, grocery store advertising enables restaurant owners to reap the benefits of large-scale campaigns at a fraction of the price. Grocery store receipt advertising is the method in which businesses print ads on the back of receipts. Coupon advertising enables business owners to boost sales by targeting specific customers, menu items, events, or holidays. Precise location targeting, combined with the possibilities of customization, enables businesses to distribute messaging to exactly the right audience.
As other restaurant coupon examples illustrate, restaurant marketing demands that you make the most of your budget to get the most for your money. Register tape
advertising reaches the widest audience for the least amount of money while
delivering substantial results. It also touts a surprisingly high return on investment. It’s simple to track the performance of grocery store coupons:2 A customer exchanges a coupon, and you gain a sale. This boosts the value of coupon advertising, as restaurant owners know exactly how an offer, design, or location is performing.
Perfect marketing is a perfect way to fill empty seats. But just like practice, it’s important to repeat your performance until you get it right. Invest in techniques that don’t blow your entire budget so you can live to advertise another day. Investing in localized grocery store coupons ensures that your efforts reach the right people.