Limited time offers, or LTOs, are not a new concept in the restaurant business. In fact, rolling out a special menu, special offer, or special marketing theme for a short amount of time is a tried and true practice in the industry.

Think about the famed Pumpkin Spice Latte or the McRib (which has been featured in The New York Times crossword by the way.) When done right, an LTO will attract new customers, get previous customers back, increase check totals, and provide you with useful data on how to optimize your menu going forward.

Menus and marketing strategies are what we do at FDR. To see what we mean, check out our blog post on developing a solid LTO strategy, which includes eight critical components: seasonality, urgency, exclusivity, scarcity, the right pricing, uniqueness, testing, and staying on target.

Here in this post, we want to point out a few limited-time offers happening in 2021 that exhibit one or more of the components that make LTOs successful.

LTO Example 1 – Pizza Hut Is on Target

Pizza Hut brought back its Detroit-style pizza offer after it sold out during the last LTO of the same kind. It’s hard to go wrong with pizza, but when you capitalize on a trend and stay true to your brand, you’ll find success.

LTO Example 2 – Seasonality at Krispy Kreme

Unfortunately, it’s the season of COVID. Krispy Kreme, and other brands as well, are using this opportunity to encourage community goodwill and encourage customers through the door.

LTO Example 3 – Magnolia Bakery Does Something Unique Every Week

The big city cupcake chain, Magnolia Cupcakes, has a special cupcake every.single.week. At the beginning of August, they celebrated S’mores Day with a cupcake of the same name. They’ll finish the month with a peanut butter and jelly cupcake. (Back-to-school inspired, maybe?)

They’ve got seasonality in the mix here as well as a special kind of urgency. We’d go on to describe the other cupcakes on the menu, but it’ll just make you hungry.

LTO Example 4 – Wing Zone Is Packaged And Priced Right

One price for a whole bunch. We like this LTO approach. With so many consumers opting for take-out over dine-in, it just makes sense to bundle meals for a single price. Two-for-ones, family-style, shareable, etc., all of these have a place in a limited-time offer as Wing Zone demonstrates in the “Hot Wing Summer” offer.

Most big restaurant brands plan limited-time offers at least six months in advance. It takes that long to perfect recipes, source ingredients, and create marketing materials. To keep your LTOs current, you’ll have to anticipate what consumers want and make it happen quickly.

What will you offer next spring?

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