Menu + Food

Building the Best Restaurant Specials

Offering specials at your restaurant is an effective way to raise your guest retention and boost your revenue!
Amanda Hamel

What makes a restaurant memorable? The service? The delicious food? The experience? Most would argue it's a combination of the three, and as a restaurant owner, you want your customers to leave happy on all three levels. 

You know your service and food are excellent, and you feel your restaurant has a high potential for positive experiences, but you still need that extra push to help move the needle. 

Enter your custom restaurant specials. While most places use specials to highlight new dishes, move certain products, or keep a menu fresh, you can use your specials to highlight the guest experience and solidify yourself as a happy memory in their mind.  

Event-Based Specials

It's no surprise to any restaurateur that celebrations are generally commemorated with food and drink— anniversaries, birthdays, and even promotions are special occasions to go out and eat at places you typically wouldn't. Usually, you'd imagine going to a full-service restaurant for these occasions, but you'd be surprised how often QSR and fast-casual can also enter the conversation. 

Easy example? Set up a push promotion within your loyalty app to send customers a special birthday offer. This allows you to win your customer's business AND builds trust and loyalty with your customer base.  

Seasonal Specials

Making restaurant specials fun for guests can be achieved in various ways. One approach is incorporating a theme or seasonal aspect to the dish, such as a Thanksgiving-inspired turkey burger, an infamous fall pumpkin spice latte, or a summer-themed watermelon salad. Another way to make specials more exciting is by offering limited edition items that are only available for a short time, creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency. 

Providing interactive or customizable options, such as a build-your-own-pizza or a DIY taco bar, can also add an element of fun and engagement for guests. Additionally, featuring unique and creative ingredients or flavor combinations can surprise and delight guests, encouraging them to try something new and different. Lastly, incorporating playful or humorous names for specials can also make them more memorable and enjoyable for guests, adding an extra layer of entertainment to their dining experience.

The Weekly Special

Anecdotally, weekly specials can be among the most memorable experiences. I still remember Village Inn offering 'Free Pie Wednesdays' back in high school and becoming a frequent visitor (Pecan Pie for Life).

Don't underestimate the power of weekly allure! What's standard for you and your employees could be a week-maker for your customers! Want to offer specials that don't impact your price point? Tie it to loyalty! Offering double points on the slowest day of the week is an excellent opportunity to increase sales and drive additional traffic to your business. 

Staying Flexible

When working on your restaurant specials, it's crucial to be flexible. You should be willing to change your specials and menu at any time. Remember how much of each ingredient you have because specials often require ingredients your restaurant doesn't typically use. 

Keep Your Guests Excited

Creating a successful and profitable restaurant is all about creating something that resonates with your guests and that they want to come back to over and over again. There are many ways to create a successful and profitable restaurant. The first step is to make sure you have a menu that reflects the style of your restaurant but also makes sense in terms of what customers want when they visit.

This means creating specials that are consistent with your brand and food offerings, as well as being flexible enough to adjust when necessary. You should also plan on offering multiple specials each week, so don't be afraid if one doesn't work out—you can always try again later! 

Creating The Best Restaurant Special

Tying experiences and specials into your menu is an easy way to create a memorable experience for your guests— especially when powered by tasty food and delightful service like yours. Up your customer retention game this season and increase the lifetime value of your customers. 

Looking for other ways to improve customer retention? Consider how specials can enhance your customers' guest journey— data shows that targeting customers to turn them into regulars is among the most efficient ways to increase your overhead profits!