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Start Here Before Planning Your Next Beverage Promotion

Foodservice beverage promotions can boost daypart sales and even turbocharge an entire food and drink season. Learn how.

What exactly is a beverage promotion? In the restaurant business, it can be a wide range of things, from a limited-time offer (LTO) featuring a new beverage or discount, reward program to drive repeat traffic, or a special deal tied to a holiday or event.

Perhaps your beverage sales repeatedly slump at a certain time of the day. Or maybe a certain drink you have on the menu is getting lost in the mix. It’s for situations like these that beverage promotions are made.

So, you’re excited to try your hands at a beverage promotion. Where do you start? Here are some things to consider:

  • Audience: Who do you want to target with the promotion?
  • Purpose: Do you want to boost the sales of a specific beverage? Appeal to new customers? Boost traffic at a certain hour? Reward loyal customers?
  • Marketing Your Offer: Some 62% of consumers follow food and beverage companies on social media to discover restaurants, according to a survey from OpenTable.1 So, social media is a great way to let customers know about your latest beverage promotions. The latest tech tools can also help. Send out a text message or email blast about the promotion or use your smartphone app for geofencing to automatically alert customers about that special beverage-food combo when they’re in the vicinity of your location.

Here are some ideas for beverage promotions to get you started:

  • Limited-Time Offers: There’s no one way to pull off an LTO. They can be a special deal or discount on a drink for a limited time, or a new, innovative beverage concept that appears for a short time to generate customer interest. Whichever LTO you choose, they’re proven traffic drivers, and a great way to test new beverage ideas. In fact, LTOs account for over two-fifths of all restaurant chain innovation2
  • Loyalty Programs: Especially popular and rather simple to implement are punch cards and ink stamps that offer a free coffee or other drink after 10 purchases. Some also reward guests with a free drink after a certain number of visits or dollar amount spent. According to OpenTable, loyalty programs are quite popular, with a quarter of guests viewing them as “extremely important” to their restaurant experiences. Though these programs are less common at sit-down restaurants, 90% of fine-dining guests say they’d sign up. Also, more than half of people (57%) say they’d spend more money if a loyalty program was available3
  • Personalized Promotions: Analyze past purchases, preferences, and even social media activity to curate drink experiences
  • Seasonal Promotions: Beverages are great fits for promotions around certain times of the year, such as specific holidays or seasons
  • Happy Hours: Offering half-priced drinks at a certain time of the day is a great way to boost traffic and upsell customers on other items once they’re in the door
  • Combo Deals: Promotional offers where a customer can purchase a combination of items, typically at a discounted price, can be used to encourage customers to try new drinks
  • Collectible Drinkware: Guests love special gifts like these. And inviting them to return with the drinkware for discounted refills can also drive repeat business

Sources: 1. OpenTable “15 Creative Restaurant Promotion Ideas and Strategies for 2023” (May 2023). 2. Datassential “Segment Guide Quick-Service” (August 2023) 3. OpenTable “How to Build a Loyalty Program” (May 2023).

The information provided is based on a general industry overview and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique, and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

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