LTOs, or limited time offers, can be drivers of a restaurant’s marketing plan. According to recent reports, more than half of restaurant owners and operators say LTOs are a vital part of their business. With so many restaurants planning fall LTO roll outs, how can your establishment stand out from the rest?
One way is to take a different tack than typical LTO promos like offering discounts. While guests love paying less for their meals, most restaurants will have an LTO focused on pricing. Instead, try to focus on unique LTO ideas that patrons will find irresistible and social-media worthy.
Here are a few ideas to inspire you for the season:
Make Your LTO Bloody
Even though Halloween falls within the autumn season, that isn't the blood we quite had in mind. Instead, focus on LTOs that incorporate blood orange. This refreshing fruit has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years and can be used in various ways.
For example, blood orange is an excellent addition to your drink menu. Using the fruit as a component in a special LTO beverage, such as a blood orange martini or blood orange sangria, is a great way to bring a burst of flavor. Blood orange also provides a unique element to traditional dessert dishes.
For the Love of Ginger
During the fall, pumpkin spice is often the dominant flavor used in LTO dishes across the industry. But there is another that many consumers are starting to look for — ginger. A recent restaurant report indicated that nearly 50% of potential guests love or like ginger.
Ginger is one of the most versatile flavor profiles and appears in dishes ranging from desserts to sauces and soups. If you want to add to your current menu, try incorporating options like ginger ice cream or pair it with soy to make a ginger-soy sauce to go with seafood and chicken dishes.
Sweet and Savory
Often, restaurants may use traditional fall flavors such as pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon when creating LTOs. In order to stand out, try venturing into alternative flavor profiles that focus on sweet or savory (or both!) components.
Diners typically associate sweet flavors with items such as chocolate, ice cream, fruit salad, and honey. Try incorporating ingredients such as allspice, Vietnamese cinnamon, eggnog, or spicy ginger into limited-time menu specials. Chefs can use these exciting flavors to craft popular and creative dishes such as spicy ginger shrimp or eggnog bread pudding.
When it comes to savory food profiles, the options are endless. You may consider adding a traditional flavor, such as cranberry sauce, to a dish or experimenting with a unique element like mustard cream. Coconut milk, turkey gravy, and sage can bring the savory in ways that touch on both the traditional and innovative.
A Seasonal Story
It may not be possible to offer discounted LTO prices. But keeping a focus on sourcing and quality ingredients can grab the attention of today’s diners. Tell the story of your restaurant based on the journey of your food from farms, waters, and international locations to their plate. Even frozen items can offer fresh flavor and a delicious background story when quality sourced. Brands like Allegiance® Pork, Braveheart® Beef, and Bay Winds® Seafood from Performance Foodservice give your servers valuable selling points for LTO dishes.