Three Steps to a successful LTO

Three Steps to a Successful LTO

Here at L&S, we rely on the consumer voice to provide us with smart, honest answers that help us and our clients make better decisions. Let’s take our food industry clients for example. We know that limited time offers help restaurants achieve their goals of increased sales and transactions. But, we also know that many consumers are hesitant and unlikely to try a new menu item. So how do we encourage guests to step out of their comfort zone and try something new? Instead of guessing at the answer, we went straight to the consumer to hear what they had to say. In collaboration with Google Surveys, we reached out to 500+ consumers aged 18-34 in the Midwest to ask them about their dining habits.


According to our survey, in-store signage, TV and radio were cited as the top ways in which they hear about limited time offers (otherwise known as LTOs). We suggest using TV and Radio to get diners into your store, then hook ‘em with some bold in-store signage. Most guests already know what they’re going to order before they even get to your restaurant (Technomic, 2015), so make sure your LTO signage is unique, different and impactful, otherwise your guests will walk right past it.


When it comes to LTO messaging, discounts and special offers are always appealing. However, not all discounts are perceived as a value in the eyes of a consumer. From free dessert offerings to $1 off coupons, our survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed that BOGO coupons (buy one, get one free) are the most enticing. Their hesitance to try something new is stronger than the promise of $1 off a combo meal. Instead, offer BOGO deals on single menu items or drinks. This allows your guest to spend less but still get more.


And speaking of special offers, our survey also showed us that men and women view discounts differently. The logic still stands that all diners love a good deal, but a simple discounted price is more appealing to men who are not as likely to redeem coupons. Women, on the other hand, are coupon-clippers at heart.


By incorporating consumer-valued discounts, targeted messaging and impactful in-store signage, restaurants can create stronger LTO strategies that encourage guests to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. If you’re interested in learning more about your customers, send us some questions. Our next survey just might give you the answers you need.

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