Attract New Customers and Increase Profits with Limited Time Offers

Limited Time Offers (LTOs) can create awareness, increase traffic, and add new sales for your restaurant.

LTO menu items have increased by 63.9% over the last 5 years.1 These offers appeal to the full spectrum of eaters, with 95% of adventurous eaters* finding some kind of LTO appealing and 65% of those who rarely try a new food finding LTOs appealing.2

Do LTOs Actually Work?

Yes, they do! Nearly half of all consumers have ordered an LTO in the past two weeks.3

When To Use LTOs:

  1. Launching a new business
    People are always excited to try the new pizza in town. Take advantage of your newcomer status to make a great first impression.
  1. Adding a new menu item
    Create buzz about a new menu item and give people an incentive to try it out. Considering a creative new take on a pizza? Or want to give the newest Grande cheese a try? LTOs let you test the item before adding it to your regular menu.
  1. Promoting holidays or events
    LTOs are the perfect opportunity to promote holiday specials or take advantage of local events. For example, create a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day or offer a Spring Break special during the month of March.
  1. Increasing sales during slow periods
    Most restaurants experience a slow season, often right after the holidays. During these slower times, motivate more people to come through the doors by featuring a special offer.
  1. Bringing in new customers
    Attracting a new type of customer is one of the best ways to grow your business. Offer something that will appeal specifically to that audience. For example, if you want to bring in more families, develop a kid-friendly limited time offer.

How to Create LTOs:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
    When something is only good for a limited time, people get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
  1. Offer a good deal for you and your customer
    The offer must be enticing enough to get people to respond. Know what your customers want before you launch an LTO and make sure that it’s still profitable for you.
  1. Be unique
    Half of consumers would seek LTO’s that are “unique to a restaurant”.2 Make sure your offers are fresh and different to keep your customers guessing and excited to find out what’s coming next. Tease the offers via social media to help spread the word.
  1. Use command language
    Use words like “hurry” or “act now” to emphasize urgency.
  1. Highlight the end date and stick to any deadlines
    Put the deadline front and center so people know to move quickly. If your offer lasts only as long as supplies last, make sure your customers understand the urgency. If your promotion has a set end date, avoid extending it as this will help you maintain credibility for future offers.

How to Launch LTOs:

  1. Plan in advance so you have time to source ingredients, print materials and promote your offer.
  2. Use online resources like email, your website and social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Yelp to get the word out.
  3. Consider postcard or menu mailings. Our experts on Grande’s Solutions @ Work® Team can fully customize your postcard or menu and develop a tailored direct mail program for your restaurant.
  4. Use repetition to get the message across, using different mediums, online postings or multiple mailings.
  5. Keep your offer simple to describe and easy to remember.

Get inspired by visiting our Recipes page and keeping up with the latest news and trending topics and create an LTO for your customers today!


1Killer LTOs. Technomic, Inc. February 2019.

2Flavor Innovation on the Menu. Mintel. October 2018.

3Blueprint for LTO Success. Datassential. July 2017.

*Based on the market research vendor Mintel’s custom research, adventurous eaters are about a third of the total population, younger, urban, parents who are more affluent and look for innovative offerings on menus.

Date: May 1, 2020