It’s a generally known fact that just about everyone loves coupons. No matter whether they have lower or higher income, or if they’re college-educated people or not – everyone loves coupons.

There is something about coupons that draws people in. Coupon advertising has been around for quite a while now, and still, it remains an indispensable tool to attract customers and to create a real ‘hype’ for your marketing campaign.

However, if coupons are so important, why do some restaurants struggle to create good ones? Let’s take a look at how to make coupons that boost your response rates and bring in more customers.

Costumer base

First thing’s first, and that is knowing who you’re offering deals to. Without knowing your current customer base, promotions would be useless. You need to know wheatear your restaurant is near the stadium, or maybe there are far more families in your area than single people, you might even be located near the office buildings.

Are your costumes older or younger? What motivates your customers, the cost or being part of an experience?

After doing this research, you can move on to figuring out your discount thresholds.

Your Profit Margins

Never, ever put discounts from the top of your head – that never turns out right. Before you start offering discounts, you should figure out your gross profit margins on your menu items. Generally speaking, it’s best to promote offerings with high margins as a lead into the rest of your menu, but it’s more important to know these numbers so you know how deep you can discount.

You can calculate your profit margins with a simple equation:

First find out your COGS (cost of goods sold), for example, $30.Then, find out your revenue (how much you sell these goods for, for example, $50).


Now, calculate the gross profit by subtracting costs from revenue. $50 – $30 = $20


Divide gross profit by revenue: $20 / $50 = 0.4.

And lastly, express it as percentages: 0.4 * 100 = 40%.

This is how you can calculate profit margin or you can simply use an online gross margin calculator!

However, bear in mind that this equation doesn’t account for fluctuations in ingredient prices or overhead costs, so a regular reevaluation of your costs for more accurate margins is necessary. But it should give you a good idea of how much discount is safe to offer.

Busy/slow times

Although, as a restaurant owner you know this by heart, it never hurts to take a second look at your sales records and look for any regular periods of the day, week, month, or year when sales tend to dip and create coupons to drive sales during those times. On the other hand, if your business is super busy during a particular period, avoid creating coupons that will drive more business during those times unless you’re sure you can handle the extra pressure.

Different Types of Coupons

There are several different types of coupons from a mix of bundle deals, free offers, loyalty cards and total bill discounts. By offering only one type of coupons you narrow your audience and decrease redemption rates. That’s why, in order to appeal to all kinds of customers, you should use different types of coupons.

Here we give you a few types of discounts to take into an account. However, before deciding, you should consider which type of coupon best suits your business’s needs.

  • Bundle deals
  • What’s a bundle deal? It’s a deal where you provide a discount for purchasing two or more complementary items at the same time. Bundle deals are most successful when the customer can clearly see the benefit of buying that group of items together.

    Using bundle deals is perfect to attract families or large groups of people. You can also create bundle deals to sell lower-ticket items, like a lunch special where you throw in a bag of chips and a drink for a discount.

  • Free offers or bonuses
  • These usually refer to offering discounts or free items with the purchase of another item. For example, you can create a promotion where customers get a free drink with a purchase of a sandwich. Offering bonuses is ideal for bars and lively restaurant establishments. They’re also excellent options when launching new menu items, because you can package the new item with something you know your customers will enjoy. Giving away an item with a low food cost can also save you money compared to offering a discount on a more expensive item. This results in a higher perceived value from the customer’s perspective.

  • Loyalty cards
  • Loyalty cards, although not typical coupons or discounts, allow customers to collect stamps or stickers for each time they visit your establishment, allowing them to eventually work up to a free meal or menu item. This type of coupon is appealing to businesses because it keeps your customers coming back and making purchases. Loyalty cards are most often used in establishments like coffee or ice cream shops.

  • Flat-rate coupons
  • These types of coupons are a great option for most foodservice places, especially restaurants with pricier menus. As the name suggests, flat-rate coupons offer your costumers a flat discount, such as five or ten dollars off of their total bill. For example, you can get five dollars off your bill, but only if you spend over 30 dollars.

  • Percentage-based discounts
  • Percentage-based coupons are ideal for restaurants with affordable prices. Because customers focus on the percentage, they think they’re saving a lot of money, when they’re really only saving a few dollars. Just remember, consumers, don’t like doing the math. If you’re going to take a percentage off a particular item, that’s fine, but make sure you show them what they’ll pay below the giant “20% OFF” headline.

  • Total bill discounts
  • Total bill discounts are great since they appeal to anyone and allow customers to choose the items they want, instead of things you want them to buy. However, it’s usually a good idea to include an order minimum to avoid breaking even or taking a loss on the sale.

    You can even combine two offers in one coupon to encourage a larger purchase. For example, a coupon offering $5 off $25 may just persuade the customer to purchase more to receive an extra $2 savings. They’ll feel like they saved more, and you made an extra $3 on their order.

Distribution of coupons

Once you decided which type of coupons suit you best, you need to distribute them to your costumers. There are many ways that you can distribute coupons. Here are a few popular options for distributing coupons:

  • GrabQpons
  • GrabQpons is a website that offers a variety of activities. They provide a marketplace for digital coupons and promotional offers for the restaurants you love. It’s easy. Find a coupon, print or use the GrabQpons App for mobile use, and enjoy delicious deals! Check back often for new coupons available.

    Don’t forget to use online ordering. Found a restaurant you’d like to try, but you’d rather carry out? Enjoy dining in the comfort of your own home. Order conveniently online – through your computer, tablet or mobile device. Once your order has been placed, a confirmation will be sent to you with pick-up details.

  • Social Media
  • You can distribute your coupons via your establishment’s social media accounts. This is an excellent option because you’re sending them directly to loyal customers that you know will visit your business. Social media is also a great way to connect with your customers and showcase your restaurant in the digital space by reinforcing what makes your restaurant unique. With more and more people on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share their experiences, it’s crucial that businesses know how to connect with the customers who use those platforms.

  • Email
  • Offering coupons is essential if you want your costumers to come back. Having an email list is one of the perfect mediums for sending coupons. Email-based coupons allow you to send more personalized offers based on what other purchases a customer has made. You also get the advantage of privacy, since email-based deals won’t be available to the public at large.

  • Traditional printed media like newspapers or magazines
  • Traditional printed media is less popular nowadays, but still an effective way of reaching the community. Printed marketing materials can be local newspapers and magazines as well as newsletters and coupon books printed by the local Chamber of Commerce. Print distribution is also ideal for establishments that service an older community, as older customers are more likely to look for coupons in newspapers and magazines. According to one study, 70% of consumers still look for and use traditional print coupons in their newspaper and magazine subscriptions.

Pros and Cons of Offering Coupons at Your Restaurant

If you’re still unsure of whether you should offer coupons at your restaurant or not, we’ve listed some of the potential pros and cons.

Pros of Offering Coupons at Your Restaurant

The truth is that there are many more pros than cons when it comes to coupons. First and foremost is that coupons bring new customers to your restaurant. Also, by offering coupons you not only attract new customers but you keep your current ones interested. Discounts and coupons are an excellent way to build interest and launch new menu items. This way customers may travel from farther away to use a coupon for your restaurant.

Cons of Offering Coupons at Your Restaurant

Although few, the downsides of coupons and discounts are still present. Coupons mean discounting your food, which cuts into your profits. Because restaurants have tight profit margins, this can be a bit difficult to accept for some restaurant owners.

Some websites that offer coupons can take a chunk of the profits which is not very profitable for your business unless you bring in a lot of new business.

Visual Appeal of Your Coupons

If you have put everything we mentioned above down on the paper, and seen that offering coupons and discounts is something worth doing, then you can think about the aesthetic appeal of your coupons. There are several basic strategies that you can implement to make your coupon more enticing.

  • Interesting visual appeal
  • Coupons that provide full-color, eye-catching content can compel customers to read your message. Give your content the professional and stylish look it needs. Include your logo and photos of your products to intrigue consumers. This basically means that you can put the photos of the food you’re discounting next to the discounted prices, for better visual appeal.

  • Clear text
  • Next, to the eye-catching content, clear text to get your message through is of great importance. However, don’t overdo it with photos and unnecessary text – answer every concern a buyer could think of: What: 20% off your purchase, Where: in our restaurant and if ordering online, When: until June 25th, and How: use the code 44834.

    Also, don’t forget to include important details about the promotion: title, expiration date, and the terms. Don’t try to trick your customers and always specify if there are certain restrictions. This way you will demonstrate that your business is trustworthy.

  • Clear call to action
  • The following thing to do is to direct your customers where to go or what to do next. Be sure to include a clear call to action when designing your next coupon.

  • Holiday promotions
  • People love a good holiday sale, that’s why running relevant holiday promotions is a good business move. Take advantage of the opportunities to run holiday promotions that your customers will look forward to year after year.

    Coupon advertising takes a lot of planning, as seen from above. From figuring out a discount offer that balances both attractiveness and profitability to offer follow up coupons that ensure customers are retained. Also, choosing the right distribution channels that help you draw in new customers and finally, measuring the efficiency of your campaign.

    From planning to implementation to analysis, every step in the process of a coupon promotion is crucial to making it a success. Although couponing may seem complicated at first, you’ll see that they are an excellent way to bring in new customers, encourage past customers to return, and keep your loyal customers coming back. It may seem that many restaurants and bars use coupons to advertise their business, but not everyone uses them effectively. By considering all of the above-mentioned steps, you can help ensure that your coupon marketing campaign succeeds.

Think about using GrabQpons app or website, with us you can get your restaurants to become more visible and attract more clients. We will connect you with a wide range of users and deliver your offers and promotions.