The Do's and Don'ts of Running Restaurant Promotions | ChowNow
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The Do’s and Don’ts of Running Restaurant Promotions

July 10th, 2018 Marketing Restaurant Tech Written by Stephanie Capretta

restaurant promotions

We know that saving money is the #1 concern for restaurant owners & managers everywhere. It’s easy to shy away from the idea of selling your food for a smaller profit. In reality, running a promotion can not only help you stand out and be memorable, but it can give your customers an incentive to purchase more than they would have normally! Take a look at some of our “do’s” and “don’ts” of running promotions, designed to help keep your customers coming back for more.

Do this:

Keep it simple

restaurant promotions

I don’t know about you, but the discount code “123get50percent0FF456” wouldn’t necessarily have me reaching for my phone to place an order. The key to promo codes is keeping it short, sweet, and relevant. Is there a holiday coming up? Think “GREEN” for St. Patrick’s Day. Running a percentage discount? Try “25OFF” to be specific. The easier the code is to type in, the more likely the customer will be to use it.

Stay current & on trend

In this day and age, there is always something “trending”. Remember Pokemon Go? Restaurants that advertised as a “PokeStop” were suddenly flooded with hungry gamers. Don’t let your promotions run stale. Stay in the know and act accordingly! If there is a popular event coming up in your community or a trending topic that relates to your business, jump on it before it’s too late.

Run an Instagram contest

An effective and creative way to market your restaurant is to run a contest on Instagram. Promoting a new dish? Try posting a photo of the item with clear & concise rules for the contest. Followers can compete with their own images and tag your restaurant to enter. The winner gets that new dish for free! The idea is to stay relevant and give your customers more of a reason to be excited about your brand.

Not this:

Don’t keep your promotion a secret

restaurant promotions

Make sure that no matter where your customers look, they are aware of the promotion going on. Add the details of the promotion to your voicemail message. Enter the promotion into your POS system so it prints out on all receipts. Do you provide table service? Add a promotional card to all of your checkbooks. Does your restaurant have a counter? Place a sign on the counter with the discount details. There are endless ways to inform your customers of great deals, it’s just a matter of you placing it there for them.

Don’t rush your customers

Time is of the essence! Promote your next special at least two weeks in advance, since future party plans could involve a huge order from your restaurant. Promoting a deal with short notice won’t capture the intended audience in time for you to see the expected results. Especially if it’s a holiday or big event (e.g., the Superbowl). If customers are planning to place a big takeout order for a party, more likely than not they already have a restaurant in mind.

Don’t devalue your menu

restaurant promotion food

We understand! You want to save money by giving away something that doesn’t cost you much, but let’s face it – by offering promotions that aren’t attractive, you’re not only devaluing your menu items but you’re wasting your resources by offering something that customers won’t care about. Would a “5% Off” promotion excite you if you found out the order minimum was $300? Exactly.

There are many effective ways to promote your restaurant that will increase revenue and create loyal customers. If you’re doing some of the “Don’ts”, don’t sweat it! It’s never too late to change those into “Do’s”.


If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some feedback on your upcoming promotion, schedule a call — we’re happy to help. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, 2017 is a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!

Stephanie Capretta

Stephanie Capretta

Stephanie is a member of the Restaurant Success Team at ChowNow and has worked in the restaurant industry since she was 16 years old. In her spare time, you’ll find Stephanie playing beach volleyball, adventuring/hiking outdoors, and hanging out with her boyfriend and their husky, Slater.
Stephanie Capretta

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