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Limited Time Offers: To LTO or Not to LTO?

January 16, 2017


Limited Time Offers are short-term deals that are designed create interest and bring customers through the door.  They can further your brand, drive sales, and give your customers something to talk about and look forward to.  Limited time offers are also a great way to safely introduce a new menu item - and the Holiday season is a great time to do it! 


Sysco Menu Services has compiled some helpful suggestions for any restaurant considering adding limited time offers to their existing service.


Creativity is Key

Offering something new and different is a great way to gain attention. You can do this with a simple addition of a new sauce, flavor element, or go big and create something entirely new for the menu. These items can attract new customers and help separate you from your competition. The offered product should be unique enough to stand out.  If an item is a success, you can consider adding it to the permanent menu. Sysco Menu Services can help ensure the offers are for high profit items.



You want to create excitement and urgency with your offer. If you can get something all the time, it’s not perceived as valuable. Running offers seasonally furthers the idea of limited supply and is a great way to feature summer fruits, spring vegetables and warm fall dishes like pumpkin pie. Rolling out too many LTOs and for too long can confuse or cheapen your brand, so industry experts recommend running a feature for 10 weeks. By doing this you build anticipation and provide plenty of time for your customers to catch on and take advantage of the offer.


Can You Handle It?

Before rolling out an LTO make sure your kitchen and service staff can handle the promotion. If your team is not ready an LTO can cause long lines and back up the kitchen potentially souring your customers. The offer needs to be something that you can duplicate easily because your kitchen has to be able to regularly create and recreate the item. 


Let Everybody Know

Online marketing is essential in having a successful LTO. Social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter along with email marketing will get the word out to the greatest number of people in the smallest amount of time. Don’t forget about marketing in your own space with things like posters, banners and table tents which Sysco Menu Services can help you create.


Stay True To Your Brand

Be mindful of your image and brand.  While LTOs are a great way to attract a new and different customer, you don’t want to start serving sushi at your pizza restaurant. You know who your customer is so listen to them. Comment cards and online comments/reviews can be a great resource for enhancing your brand.  Do something that is simple, quick and speaks to your customer.

For more great tips and hints like those listed here, reach out to

Sysco Menu Services at 800-380-6348 or email at info@syscomenuservices.com

to work with one of our industry experts.

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