Many restaurants have busy nights that are reservations-only during peak hours. And then there are the slow nights that make for a difficult time. Even though more and more people are eating out (with millennials on the leading edge of this trend), it’s still tough to get people to come out and keep your tables busy every day of the week.

To give people an incentive to go out on a “school night” instead of waiting for the weekend, use coupons.

  • Be unique
  • Your restaurant is already unique, but you have to make it “the” place to be on an off night. First, create a unique selling proposition that gets you noticed. You basically want to create a digital version of the feeling people get when they walk past your restaurant and smell the delicious aromas. Who can resist that, if they’re even a little hungry? The digital version of a delicious smell is an irresistible offer that specifically caters to people’s needs: significant discounts, or even themed nights such as “bring a friend to dinner” monthly specials that can draw in a different crowd.

  • Encourage social sharing
  • If you’re already engaging with your community online via social media, this is an opportunity to share coupons for those special nights. Offer incentives for people to actively share coupons with their friends. For example, ask people to share the coupon and tag 3 friends to get a 20% discount for that particular night and a chance to win a raffle prize.

  • Connect with people who are already dining with you
  • Let all of your current diners know about your upcoming events. They are already enjoying a meal with you, so leverage the opportunity to deepen your relationship with them. Make them feel extra special and give them a reason to come back on an “off” night with a personalized invitation brought to their table. Segment your audience and personalize each customer’s incentives: for example, a free bottle of wine with a dinner worth a certain amount on Wednesday nights in February.

  • Connect with people waiting for tables on busy nights.
  • On busy nights, distribute coupons to people who are waiting for tables. This makes the wait even more worthwhile. They already know they’re going to enjoy a delicious meal, and they’ll be thrilled to receive a coupon for a mid-week discount!

  • Keep your coupons current
  • Many of today’s consumers are on their devices; and if the question pops up, “What do you want to eat tonight?” they will want instant access to all of the great deals available on their mobile coupon apps. So make sure your coupons are current and easily found. An app such as Grab Qpons can help you stay “top of mind” for your customers for those days when hunger strikes and they can’t decide where to go!