Limited Time Offers Presents Full-Time Opportunity

Despite their name, Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) can offer some big time returns.

LTO’s are a valuable form of testing ideas, drive new business and retain the old. They are designed to enhance your brand, create customer intrigue and, of course, new sales. But an efficient LTO requires specific purchasing requirements, staff training, marketing and overall management.

If you are just starting your business, an LTO timed for the first week or two can drive people to your front door.  A rule of thumb on a week-long offer of “Buy One, Get One Free!”, generally creates a three percent return.  That may not sound like a lot but if you send out 1,000 flyers or emails and get 30 new customers, you will be happy.  The more creative and valuable the offer, the greater the chance of increasing business and foot traffic.

Remember, too, that if you offer a free drink, side or even main course, the customers who take advantage of the offer are likely to buy other items and even bring in more people with them.

Lloyd Oshiro, Liguria Foods National Sales Manager, has seen hundreds of LTOs and notes that they can be hit or miss.

“People use them to test a new concept. Sometimes a family pizzeria looks to liven up their menu and puts a fig and goat cheese pizza on an LTO.  Often, we see it with someone who wants to try something new. “The ones that work seem to be variations on pepperoni which is the number one topping. So, something like a double pepperoni offer can be very effective because it is a known quantity.”

Mr. Oshiro saw this work at Peter Piper locations in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas where they offer an Extreme Pepperoni pizza that uses two types of pepperoni.  Abby’s Pizza in Oregon offers an Artisan Pepperoni that they call “double smoked.”  They even have a video to back up their promotion.

But Mr. Oshiro cautions pizzerias not to go too much out of their comfort zone. “If you go with something your kitchen can’t handle, you can put yourself in a bind. Managing an LTO might require special boxes or new products.  You should consider how well your kitchen can deal with a new item they have never produced on a busy Saturday night.  You have to understand your limitations as you don’t want to get stuck with products or turn off your customers because you didn’t make menu item correctly.”

Traditionally, restaurants like to select a new or unique item to spotlight as an LTO.  Take the Liguria Bravo Gusto, for instance.  Bravo Gusto is Liguria’s smoky pepperoni topping that is special enough to demand its own promotion.  Unlike traditional pepperoni, it not only has a robust smoky flavor but a coarse grind. You might create a Pepperoni Lover’s promo that spotlights the Bravo Gusto as way to lure in those who crave something new and different.  For instance, “Try our new Bravo Gusto Pepperoni Pizza, get a slice of any pie Free!”

Another “natural” LTO idea involves the promotion of all-natural pizza.  Increasingly customers are gravitating to the world of natural fresh ingredients.  An LTO offers you an excellent way to test an all-natural menu item or concept for a limited time to gauge your customer’s interest level. You can make June the All-Natural Month and give a 25% discount on specialty all-natural menu items.

One of our favorite LTO’s pairs a pepperoni pizza with a local hand-crafted beer.  In that way, you support your local community and put together an idea that makes excellent marketing sense.

LTO’s tie in perfectly to today’s fast-paced mobile marketing technology.  People are looking for deals.  They are moving fast, checking out menus and promotions.  If you don’t use LTO’s to lure them in, you may lose them.

Ultimately, LTO’s are both fun and profitable.  They shake things up for both your clientele and your staff.  They show you are not stagnant and that you are creative and interested in bringing new ideas to your customers.

In the end, you and your customer can profit from the LTO which will give you excellent long-term results.

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