Restaurant Discounts: 13 Types of Restaurant Discounts

January 29, 2023
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Alipio Umiten IV
December 19, 2022
Table of Contents

Restaurant discounts can be offered in various ways. And as a business owner, choosing the right type of discount for your restaurant business is important.

The best way to implement a restaurant discount is to understand the different types of discount offerings you can use and choose the one that’s most relevant for your business and customers.

Let’s go over the 13 types of restaurant discounts and discover how to use each one effectively.

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Types of Restaurant Discounts

1. BOGO (Buy One, Get One)

One of the most popular types of restaurant discounts is the “buy one, get one free” offer. This discount allows customers to purchase one menu item at full price and receive a second item of equal or lesser value for free. This is a trendy discount for restaurants that offer combo meals or platters because it effectively doubles the value of the meal.

You’ll need a POS system to track and manage purchase data to offer a BOGO discount. Once you have this in place, you can start offering BOGO deals to your customers. To do this, create a rule that triggers the discount when a particular item is purchased. For example, you could offer a BOGO deal on entree food when a customer orders an appetizer.

2. Combo Deals

Offering combo deals is a great way to increase restaurant sales and boost profitability. Customers love getting a deal, and they’ll be more likely to return if they know they can always get a good price on their favorite items.

Some ideas for combo deals include:

  • Two entrees and one dessert for $20
  • One of your best restaurant appetizers, one entree, and one drink for $15
  • Kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree

Combining two or more menu items into one discounted package dramatically increases customer satisfaction and encourages upselling and cross selling. For example, a restaurant could offer a combo deal that includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for a reduced price. This type of discount is especially effective for customers who are looking for a complete dining experience.

3. Time-Based Discounts

Discounts based on time include happy hour specials and early bird specials. This is a great way to bring in customers during slower times or give them the incentive to return at a particular time.

Many restaurants offer discounts during specific times of the day or week. For example, some establishments may offer a “happy hour” with reduced prices on drinks and appetizers. Others may provide discounts for customers who dine during off-peak hours, such as early bird specials for those who eat dinner before 6:00 PM.

4. First-Party Discount

If you’re looking to offer discounts to your customers, one option is to provide a first-party discount. With this type of discount, you essentially give your customers a break on the price of their food when they order through your online ordering platform.

For example, if you typically charge $10 for a sandwich, you might offer a first-party discount of $2 for orders placed through your online ordering platform. To sweeten the deal, you could also offer a first-party discount on orders placed through Google food ordering service.

5. Percentage-Based Comps

Some restaurants offer percentage-based discounts, or “comps,” to regular customers or as a way to apologize for poor service. For example, a restaurant may comp 20% off a customer’s bill if they complain about the food or service.

While this can be a nice gesture, it’s important to remember that comped items are still technically part of the bill. This means that the restaurant is essentially eating the cost of those items, which can add up quickly. Therefore, it’s always best to use comps sparingly and only when necessary.

6. AARP Restaurant Discounts

As the name suggests, this discount is exclusively for the members of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). It offers a significant percentage of food and beverage purchases when dining with this card at participating restaurants.

The AARP dining discount is a one-size-fits-all solution to winning over the hearts and minds of your seniors. It is tough to get any better than this, so make good use of it to keep your customers returning for more.

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7. Calendar-Based Discounts

One popular type of restaurant discount is the calendar-based discount. This discount is usually offered on specific days of the week or month or during certain periods throughout the year. For example, you could offer a 10% discount on Mondays or a 20% discount during the first week of every month.

You can also offer calendar-based discounts as a promotion or marketing campaign. For example, you might offer a “2 for 1” deal during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day or a percentage off your bill if you dine within a certain period after Thanksgiving.

8. Military Discount

Military discounts are a great way to show appreciation for the men and women who have served our country. Many restaurants offer discounts to active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The discount typically ranges from 10% to 20% off the total bill. It may be available for dine-in, take-out, curbside pick up, or delivery orders. Some restaurants require proof of service, such as a military ID card, while others ask that you mention the discount at the time of purchase or when making your restaurant reservations.

9. Dollar Off Discounts

Dollar-off discounts are a great way to encourage customers to try your restaurant. Offer a certain amount off the bill when they spend a certain amount- for example, $5 off when they spend $50.

This discount is especially effective for new or little-known restaurants because it can help overcome some people’s hesitation about trying something new. It’s also a good way to draw in customers during slow periods.

To make sure that your dollar-off discount is effective, advertise it prominently and make sure that your staff is aware of it so that they can remind customers of the offer. You may also consider limiting the number of discounted bills per customer or day to prevent abuse.

10. Gift Card Discounts

Gift card discounts are a popular type of restaurant discount. Many restaurants offer gift cards at a discounted price, usually 10-20% off the face value of the card. This type of discount can be used for any purchase made at the restaurant, including food and drinks. For example, a $50 gift card may be available for only $40.

11. Birthday Discounts

Birthday discounts are a great way to show your customers that you care about them and want to help them celebrate their special day. Offer a percentage off their total bill, a complimentary glass of wine, or a free dessert on their birthday.

12. Student Discount

Many restaurants offer a student discount to attract business from this large customer base. The typical student discount is 10% off the bill, but some restaurants may offer a higher percentage or a fixed amount off certain menu items. Some restaurants require students to show a valid ID, while others ask that you mention the discount when placing your order.

13. Discounts On Bulk Orders

One way to encourage customers to order more food from your restaurant is by offering discounts on bulk orders. This type of discount can be especially effective if you have menu items that are popular for large groups, like pizzas or family style food. By offering a discount on bulk orders, you can make it more affordable for customers to feed a large group, which could lead to more business for your restaurant.

While discount offers can help attract customers, they should be implemented with care. Offering discounts that are too generous or that target the wrong customer will make it difficult to maintain a profitable business. Conversely, carefully selecting the right customers and discount offers can help your restaurant create a strong customer base and gain a competitive advantage.

Discount Strategy for Restaurants

Discounts are a popular and effective marketing tool for restaurants. By offering discounts, restaurants can attract new customers and increase sales. However, discounts can also erode profits if they are not properly managed.

To maximize the benefits of discounts, restaurants should consider the following strategies:

  • Offer discounts that are targeted to your niche market or ideal customer.
  • Ensure that your discount offers are reasonable and in line with your overall pricing strategy.
  • Use discounts judiciously and do not offer them too frequently.
  • Communicate the details of your discount offers to customers.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your restaurant’s discount strategy is effective and profitable.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Discounts

Restaurant discounts are a great way to attract new customers and reward loyal patrons. But before you offer any discounts, you should know a few things. This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about restaurant discounts.

How Do Restaurants Promote Discounts?

There are five ways that restaurants can promote discounts:

  1. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to post about discounts and special offers.
  2. Create a dedicated landing page on your eCommerce food websites where you list all of your current discounts and specials.
  3. Send out email newsletters featuring your latest restaurant discounts and deals.
  4. Place ads in local publications or online directories that feature businesses in your area.
  5. Hang up posters or place table tents in your restaurant that list your current restaurant discounts and deals.

What Is a Coupon In a Restaurant?

A coupon in a restaurant is a voucher that can be redeemed for a discount on your total bill. The coupons may be for a specific dish, a certain amount off the total bill, or a free item with purchase. Many restaurants provide coupons to attract new customers or reward loyal patrons.

Why Do Restaurants Offer Discounts?

Discounts are a typical marketing tactic restaurants use to attract new customers and boost sales. There are several reasons why restaurants offer discounts, such as:

  • To promote a new menu item or specialty dish.
  • To attract new customers.
  • To increase business during slow periods.
  • To boost sales during a holiday or special event.
  • To thank loyal customers with a special offer.

What Are the 4 Types of Promotion?

There are four main types of promotion: advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.

  1. Advertising: This type of promotion involves using paid media to reach potential customers. Common advertising channels include TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and online platforms such as Google and social media sites.
  2. Sales Promotion: Sales promotion is a marketing tactic that aims to increase consumer demand and encourage purchase decision-making. Common sales promotion techniques include restaurant discounts, coupons, samples, and freebies.
  3. Public Relations: Public relations (PR) is the strategic use of communication to build relationships with key stakeholders. By raising awareness of your brand and building goodwill, PR can help create a positive image for your business.
  4. Direct Marketing: Direct marketing is a form of marketing that involves directly communicating with potential customers to promote a product or service. Common direct marketing channels include direct mail, telemarketing, and eCommerce email marketing.

How Can I Promote My Restaurant Locally?

There are many ways to promote your restaurant locally. Some of the most effective methods include:

  • Sponsoring local events
  • Advertising in local publications
  • Supporting local charities
  • Participating in local festivals and fairs
  • Getting involved in local politics
  • Hosting special events
  • Creating a social media presence
  • Offering restaurant discounts and coupons
  • Creating a restaurant loyalty program
  • Participating in local food festivals
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