Why It Is Important to Have the Right Meal Deal
Your goal as a restaurateur is to fill your tables day after day.
When your tables go empty, you start to worry. Perhaps it crosses your mind that a meal deal is the way to go.
As part of your overall marketing strategy, the right meal bundles can help you keep your restaurant full at any time of day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In this article, we look at why it is important to have the right meal deal to fill your restaurant and improve your profits.
How Your Customers Define Value
First, let’s look at what your customers most value in your restaurant.
Eating out is a simple pleasure that many people enjoy. While it is out of necessity, there is something special and slightly decadent about eating at a restaurant or carrying out food that someone else has prepared.
You’ll find that some people crave the experience that your restaurant provides. That experience will be different for each person.
It’s up to you as the restaurant owner to know what makes your customers’ experience special so you are sure to meet their expectations and value judgements.
You can also bet that your customers value a comfortable space and exceptional service. Put a fast-casual restaurant next to a gourmet restaurant. The service at the gourmet restaurant is terrible, but it’s great at the less expensive restaurant. Which one does the customer value more? The one with exceptional service.
Bottom line: your customers value the experience, the service, their comfort, the atmosphere, the quality of their food, their time (think speedy service), and the price of their meal.
It’s good to remember that all of these things work together in the minds of your diners as they decide whether or not your menu is too expensive, or just right.
Their expectations and the end result help them decide on the value of your restaurant. Your customers demand value, and that informs their judgment on your prices.
This in turn brings repeat business and new customers into your restaurant. Meal deals are a part of the overall picture.
The Specials That Drive Traffic
Consumers today are savvy, and they are always on the lookout for a good deal.
That’s great, but perhaps you don’t want to offer too many discounts. Not only can this reduce your earnings, but it can set you up as the restaurant no one goes to without a coupon.
What’s the answer? Meal deals.
By bundling your menu items, you can increase traffic in your restaurant while encouraging the ordering of bundled meals. (tweet this)
What is a bundle deal? It’s when you offer two or more menu items as a package deal, and you drop the price slightly.
For example, your customer wants a taco, a tostada and a Coke. On their own in a la carte fashion, it might cost $12.99. Yet, you offer a bundled deal for all three for $10.99.
Not only does this generate loyalty in your customer, it makes it easy for you to plan your menu purchasing once you see which bundles oversell others.
While you’ve most likely seen this in fast food restaurants, it can also be useful in other settings when marketed properly because it boosts your profits and increases the customers’ overall experience.
This in turn increases the perceived value of your restaurant.
The Benefits of the Right Meal Deal
The benefits are many, and they include both the restaurant and the customer.
When it comes to your benefits, they include:
- Meal preparation is easier. When you offer bundled meals, your kitchen runs more smoothly because they already have a good idea of what items people will order. Prep is simpler, and meals get out faster.
- You have the ability to promote specific menu items. This could include your items that provide the most profit for you.
- Most restaurants see their profits increase as well. While this may seem counter-intuitive because you are discounting an item, your customers are actually ordering more than they would have without the bundle. The perceived value of the bundle prompts them to spend more money.
Your customers enjoy many benefits, too:
- Instead of just ordering a main dish, with the bundle, your customers can experience your appetizers and salads. They benefit from the variety.
- Their overall experience is enhanced because your customer has a greater perceived value of your restaurant because they got “a deal,” and this makes them more likely to return.
How to Make the Right Meal Deal
When crafting the right meal deal, think about your goals.
Do you want to up-sell your menu? Do you want to increase traffic during your slower times? Would you like to get more people eating your appetizers or trying your wine list?
Once you know your goals, you can start creating your deal.
To make just the right bundle, first decide on what pieces of your menu you’d like to group together.
Some ideas include:
- Appetizer and an entrée
- Entrée and a dessert
- Appetizer, entrée and dessert
- Drink, appetizer and entrée
Really, the options are limitless. You might start with an item that costs little to make, but that is popular with your customers. The bundle will encourage them to spend a little more because they are purchasing more than the entrée.
Next, you want to decide on a discount. You don’t want to discount it too deeply, because you still want to maintain a healthy profit margin. Consider giving the bundle at several dollars off.
When creating the right meal deal, you want to consider your brand.
Ask yourself if your meal bundle is in keeping with your brand or if it is only driven by the need to offer discount pricing. (tweet this)
There is a fine line between offering your customers something of value and becoming the “discount” restaurant.
Be careful not to cheapen your restaurant. Promote your meal deals with a purpose so they entice your customers to visit your restaurant again and again.
You also want to be sure to market your meal deals. Use your website, social media, in-restaurant signage and your wait staff to sell the bundled meals.
In the end, the right meal deal is a win-win for both you and your customers. You can increase sales while giving your customers a great experience at a great value.
Satisfied customers are repeat customers who share their feelings with others.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can use your site to broadcast your meal deals. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!
Images: Davide Cantelli and Nick Clement on Unsplash
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