Getting people to come to your restaurant is an ongoing challenge for many restaurant owners. While there are many effective marketing strategies, one of the best is using restaurant coupons.

Coupons are a good incentive for consumers to try your food, so they’re often worth the cost of printing and distributing and many coupons are digital now, so it’s a no-brainer to use them, right? Well, only if you play the coupon game right.

While there can be substantial benefits to making restaurant coupons a valuable marketing tool, there can also negatives. Evaluating the pros and cons of restaurant coupons is an important step creating an effective marketing strategy.

Pros of Restaurant Coupons

  • Great first impression
  • Coupons are a popular way to incentivize first time diners who have never tried your restaurant to come in and dine with you. If the coupon discounts one of your most popular dishes, that leaves a great first impression.

  • Upsell opportunity
  • Once seated at the table, you have the opportunity to upsell beyond what the coupon covers by suggesting additions to the order, wine pairings, specialty drinks, appetizers, and so on. This means having your servers ask if diners are going to be using coupons - and if the answer is no, it’s an opportunity to present them with a surprise coupon for a discount on their next meal!

  • Easy and convenient
  • Today’s diner is rarely the coupon-clipping type. They’re busy, on the go, and the best way to reach them is by offering coupons via a mobile coupon app such as Grab Qpons. Having fresh and enticing offerings readily available on a mobile coupon app can bring in a lot of business.

Cons of Restaurant Coupons

  • Less profit
  • With already tight margins in the restaurant business, it can be difficult to face additional profit losses from coupons.

  • Less tips
  • Unfortunately, smaller checks make for smaller tips, so many servers wish coupons would just disappear.

  • Less repeats
  • It can be hard to entice a diner who has just had a discounted $15 entree come back and eat the very same meal at $22. It’s also difficult to track whether you’re actually offering a first-time diner to actual first-timers, or to existing customers looking for a deal.

The takeaway

So what’s the real ROI you can expect by using coupons? Obviously that depends on your unique situation but one truth holds across the board: the reality is that people are always looking for bargains and they love to be rewarded for their patronage, so offering coupons as a way to bring more traffic through the door is usually a good strategy as long as you make it easy for people to discover your offers. List your offers on Grab Qpons, where hungry patrons are looking in real time for great deals on dining!