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Restaurant brands know they need to discount to get consumers to come in.  It’s nature of the industry.  But, most brands despise discounting.  Doing away with discounts is the goal but can be unrealistic.  Strategically discounting and pulling multiple levers is a more impactful solution and one your brand can deploy today.  Here are 5 great ways to get going on diminishing your use of discounts while also improving on the times you should use discounts.

1. Stop sending mass discounts to your eclub/loyalty users

This one is such a hard one to see as both a consumer and as a marketer.  Your eclub members are certainly the life blood of your business.  They should get the royal treatment.  However, when you burn them out on offers and don’t properly fit the offer to the user, the impact can fall flat.  Instead, be a little more strategic on who gets what.

2. Use offers when past guests aren’t coming back or eclub members are starting to turn you off

Understanding the behavior of your guests is critical here.  Gaining insight into each guest’s purchase cycle is critical (how often they come in, how much they spend, etc.).  At a minimum, understanding how frequently consumers use your brand on the whole can give you insight into the right time to get in front of them with an offer.  For example, if your average guest comes in every 8 weeks and an eclub member is approaching 10-12 weeks without a visit, it may be time to light a fire under them to come in (this is even more impactful when you know how each guest operates and what their frequency of visits looks like).

3.  Produce more relevant content for every day marketing efforts

In your digital, social, and email efforts, make sure your content is engaging and you are giving your audience something of value.  If your content is weak, your audience will turn you off.  Once they turn you off, getting them back in will lead to offers.  Another good way to remain relevant is targeting your audience demographically and creating segmented messages that speaks to each group appropriately (and please, do so in a way that isn’t as vanilla as Gen-X needs this and Gen-Z needs that.  There are better ways to target than loosely defined generations).

4. Find a trigger to send offers around that creates a rotational audience

Ah, yes, rotational audience.  Making up phrases at its finest.  Key take away here is finding a reason to send an offer (not just blowing them out).  Similar to engaging guests that are lapsing, your brand should look for occassions to send an offer.  Start with finding prospects new to your area (new movers), promoting a new service you offer (takeout, delivery, etc), or sending a birthday offer to prospects (in your eclub and even those that look like your eclub but aren’t).  These are all awesome ways to discount but to a new group each time as the audience changes constantly.  This keeps your audience fresh and doesn’t get you into the offer cycle of doom.

5. Rotate your audience and roll offers in periods where you need it most

Sometimes, your brand just needs help.  And when you do, you turn to your friend named ‘Offers’ because you know they rarely fail you.  And, that’s ok.  Just don’t over do it.  The best thing you can do is look for times when sales are traditionally poor at your brand and crank up a limited amount of offers during that time.  It keeps you positive in terms of traffic and sales.  And if you space it out enough, it keeps you from relying too heavily on offers all the time.  And, if you change the audience frequently enough, it helps even more.

While these are all great tips to keep in mind to try and cut back on offers at your brand, the main point is to cut the wasted offers.  Brands definitely need to have offers to be competitive and relevant with consumers.  These 5 things should help your brand keep a healthy relationship with offers.