Restaurant marketing ideas-coupons

Coupon Ideas-Better Ways to Use Coupons to Market Your Restaurant

In this article, I’m going to share smart coupon marketing strategies you probably have never heard of nor considered before.

Traditional print coupons and also digital online coupons are both a great way to advertise your restaurant. Read and learn;

How to Make Coupon Marketing 10x More Effective and Much More Profitable

What do I mean by “making your coupon marketing 10x more effective and much more profitable?” Here are some ideas you you may have never considered before.

  • Use coupons to promote specific items.

Sell what you want to sell most! So many restaurants are marketing coupons for $5 off or $10 off certain size orders. This works, but coupons can deliver a bigger message. They can be used to create awareness of specific items: new items, seasonal items, more expensive items, more profitable items, the items you feel are your wow items, the menu items you love to make and serve.

Introducing customers to these items gives them reasons to come back more often, provides more ways to find something they really love at your restaurant, and more reasons to tell others about your place.

  •  Coupons can be used to sell a bigger variety.

Create a coupon that sells a combination of items. This increases the size of the order while also getting customers to try items they may have never ordered individually.

  • Coupons can get your customer to reach a higher dollar value.

While most coupons offer a $5 and $10 off coupon, I recommend offering a $25 off coupon too. The $5 off coupon usually requires a $25 purchase and and $10 off coupon usually requires a $50 purchase. Each represents a maximum discount of 20%. If you include a $25 discount coupon for an order of $200, it has the effect of catching attention. $25 is a big discount and it seems very generous. However, this discount is a maximum of 12.5% and it may be the incentive which gets a group of people to decide to eat at your place rather than somewhere else.

Coupon Ideas that Capture Attention

I just talked about the visual aspect of what a $25 coupon can have on people when they’re deciding where to eat. In the same theme,

  • Offer something for FREE.

It’s a fact, the word “FREE” gets attention. It’s magnet for the eyes and therefore, gets customer’s attention. FREE Dessert, FREE soft drink, Kids eat FREE, Buy 2 get one FREE, these are all attention-getters. When advertising in print along side of other businesses, your FREE coupons will surely draw attention to your ad.

How to Create Online Coupons the Right Way and The Benefits of Offering Coupons on Your Website

Some people are “coupon people” and some aren’t. Some people make their choices around where they can get a discount. Some don’t. Don’t burden yourself with worry because you’re afraid everybody will be getting discounts if you have coupons on your website. #1. It doesn’t happen. #2. Promote your restaurant with the kind of coupons which make you happy when people redeem them.

  • Coupons on your website will make your restaurant show up on Google.

“Coupon people” go online and use the word “coupon” when deciding where to go to eat. They’ll search “coupons for Chinese food,” “coupons for pizza,” “coupons for sushi,” or coupons for Indian food,” for example. They make their buying decision based upon where they can get a discount. If you want your restaurant to show up in those searches, you definitely want to have a dedicated page on your website to display and deliver coupons.

  • To build an audience and a herd of loyal customers, coupons should require your customers’ contact information.

Your coupons should help you build a valuable customer list. Get the Name, Email Address, and Birthday so you can keep in touch and continue to send them offers directly.

Today, we can use technology for marketing automation. Done right, coupons can help you build a massive customer list and reach them with friendly messages and offers they welcome in their email box.

Email marketing works. Statistically, email marketing provides one of the biggest return on investments of any marketing strategy in history. When people give you their contact information they are giving you permission to send them your offers. This is a gift, and most independent restaurants are missing out on this golden opportunity.

  • Coupons on your website: You don’t need loyalty programs!

Yes, coupons on your website are always available, BUT, isn’t it nice when people come back often? I always tell my clients, make your coupons so that when they’re redeemed, you don’t get mad, you get glad! Unlike loyalty programs, coupons on your website don’t require you to buy equipment, train your staff, print punch cards, or pay high fees for a membership or enrollment. Some restaurant owners who run print coupons in the direct mail packs complain because they only see certain customers once a month when they run the coupon. I say, tell them to run the coupon on their website and they’ll see the customer more often. As long as you’re giving modest discounts with your coupons, everybody wins. It ends up working just like a loyalty program.

grow your restaurant with email marketing

There’s a direct correlation between email marketing and revenue generation. It’s a proven fact that keeping in touch with customers and an occasional offer will boost sales and profits.

Build a Customer List and Keep in Touch

Want to Join Our Email List for Information About Our Specials and Coupons? Every customer should be aware of the opportunity to be on your email list. Customers who use Groupon and every customer who redeems a coupon is already interested in money-saving opportunities. Most of them will agree to join your list for the promise of future invitations to your restaurant which include a money-saving coupon or news about specials and events. Do this with a link on the Home page of your website: CLICK HERE FOR SPECIALS AND COUPONS. It works.

Customer frequency (a key factor in customer lifetime value) is a vital measure of a restaurant’s success. Keeping in touch with email, with or without a coupon, keeps your restaurant in top-of-mind position and effectively increases the number of times a customer will patronize your restaurant.

According to Gather, an event and restaurant marketing firm, the average size party at a typical full-service restaurant is 3.7 guests.

Let’s do some simply math. An average restaurant can accumulate an email list of 1000 customers in a matter of months. If you have 1000 people on your email list and if only 1% of your email recipients respond-and if these customers who respond show up with 3.7 people in their party, this is 37 more people served. If your average sale is $20/person, you’re generating $740 in revenue. Do this once weekly and now you’re looking at the probability of increasing revenue over $3000/month. How quickly will you get to work building your list to 2000, 5000, 10,000? (And you can!)

Advertising Dollars Work Harder

One of the reasons you advertise is to keep your name in front of people so they don’t forget you. Some call this branding. Another reason you invest in advertising is to attract some new customers.  Every time you advertise in print or online with a Groupon-style deal, a certain number of people who see your ad will visit your website. This is especially true of the potential new customers.

A new reason to advertise: to Build Your Customer List

New customers who see your ad will visit your website because they want a to know what to expect. They want to see your menu, take a look at your dining room, and your parking situation, among other things. Now is the perfect time to get these new people to sign up for your email list.

CAUTION: Nobody wants to be on your mailing list. They DO want to be on your Coupons & Specials list. The best way to get people to join your list is to provide coupons which require the customer to enter their first name, email address and birthday month (leave birthday month optional).

I recommend moderncoupon to be your coupon distribution system. It’s a done-for-you online coupon distribution and email marketing automated tool which also provides other great benefits like Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.

Full Disclosure: Small Business U. is a marketing agent for moderncoupon. I get to see all the coupon activity of our clients. New customer acquisition and the frequency of repeat customers is dramatic. If you want to find out how we use moderncoupon to help independently-owned restaurants, call 1-866-799-2825 or email me directly at

About the Author Andrew Mazer

Andrew Mazer, Founder of Mazer Wholesale, Inc. established since 1986. In 1996, I began marketing my wholesale business online. In 2009, I began helping other business owners market THEIR business online. I am the author of The Business Owner's Guide to Marketing Online, The Groupon Solution, and The One Good Idea Newsletter. Contact me at

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