Boosting Business: Effective Restaurant Discount Strategy

Restaurateurs should constantly develop creative strategies to make their establishments flourish in the highly competitive world of dining. One secret ingredient to boost business is a smart and effective discount strategy.

Serving up delicious deals, enticing offers and irresistible incentives can not only attract new customers but also foster loyalty among regular patrons. But how do you craft a discount strategy that truly works?

Ahead, we’ll dish out practical tips and innovative ideas to help you cook up a profitable promotional plan. So, let’s turn up the heat and watch your restaurant revenue sizzle!

Boosting Business: Effective Restaurant Discount Strategy

There are several ways to create a restaurant discount strategy that wins on the market. Check them out!

Determine your business goal

A target board that resembles restaurant goals
A target board that resembles restaurant goals

Before diving into creating a specific restaurant discount strategy, it’s crucial to define your business goal clearly. This goal could be anything, including:

  • Increasing foot traffic during slow hours
  • Boosting overall sales
  • Promoting underperforming dishes
  • Attracting new customers
  • Driving loyalty

Your business goal will guide your discount strategy. For instance, if you aim to increase foot traffic during slow hours, you might offer happy hour specials. If you’re looking to boost overall sales, you might offer a discount on combo meals.

Analyze your restaurant’s profit margin

A Man Calculating the Bar's Profit Margin
A Man Calculating the Bar’s Profit Margin

To help you understand how much of a discount you can afford to offer without hurting your profits, you must analyze your restaurant’s profit margin. The analysis includes the food cost percentage, gross profit margin, and net profit margin.

Once you have these numbers, you can decide how much of a discount you can offer. For instance, if your net profit margin is 25%, you might be able to offer a 10-15% discount without eating into your profits.

Know your customer base

Expand Your Customer Base
Expand Your Customer Base

Understanding who your customers are, their dining habits, preferences, and what they value can help you tailor your discounts to meet their needs and desires.

For instance, if your customer base consists mainly of families, offering a ‘kids eat free’ deal or family meal bundles could be effective. If you cater to a lot of business people, lunchtime specials or early bird discounts might be more appealing.

You can gather this information through restaurant customer surveys, social media engagement, or by simply observing and interacting with your customers.

Review different types of discounts

Mobile app sale
Mobile app sale

Different types of discounts offer different results for your restaurant. Thus, reviewing each type helps you understand which types might be most effective to achieve your goals.

Some examples of discount types include percentage-based discounts, fixed-amount discounts, bulk discounts, early bird or off-peak discounts, loyalty discounts, and event-based or seasonal discounts.

Types of Restaurant Discounts

Here are some of the most popular types of restaurant discounts:

Buy One Get One

Buy One Get One
Buy One Get One

Buy One Get One (BOGO) is a popular type of restaurant discount that offers customers two products for the price of one. Essentially, when a customer buys a particular item, they get another one for free or at a discounted price.

This strategy is effective in attracting customers as it provides perceived high value for their money. For instance, if a customer buys a burger, they might get fries for free.

Student Discount

A happy student
A happy student

It is common for restaurants to offer student discounts. This often involves a percentage off the total bill or a specific item when a valid student ID is presented. The main goal of offering discounts specifically for students is to attract the younger demographic, which can help increase foot traffic and overall sales. This strategy is particularly effective in areas with a high student population, like near colleges or universities.

Calendar-Based Discounts

Holiday Promotions
Holiday Promotions

Calendar-based discounts are promotions offered by restaurants on specific days, weeks, or months of the year. This type of discount can be tied to a variety of calendar events like holidays, weekdays, seasons, or even specific dates (like the restaurant’s anniversary).

For example, a restaurant might offer a discount on slow business days (like “Two-for-Tuesday”) to boost sales. Or they could have special offers during the holiday season (like a Valentine’s Day special) to attract more customers.

Birthday Discounts

Two birthday girls
Two birthday girls

Birthday discounts are one of the types of promotional discounts where restaurants provide special personalized discounts or complimentary items to customers celebrating their birthdays. This could be a percentage off the total bill, a free dessert, or even a complimentary meal by showing proof of birthday (like an ID).

These offers not only provide a personalized experience that makes the customer feel special but also incentivize them to choose that restaurant for their birthday celebration, potentially bringing in additional guests.

It’s important for restaurants to clearly communicate the terms and conditions of the discount, such as whether it’s valid only on the day of the birthday or during the entire birthday month and whether a certain number of paying guests is required.

Meal Bundle

Offer Meal Bundles and Combos
Offer Meal Bundles and Combos

A meal bundle discount is a promotional strategy where restaurants offer discounts for a group of menu items together at a lower price than if they were purchased separately. This could include a main course, side dish, and drink, or it could be a family-sized meal deal that serves multiple people.

Meal bundles are designed to increase the perceived value of a meal, encouraging customers to spend more by purchasing a complete meal rather than individual items. They can also simplify the ordering process and speed up service, especially in fast food or quick-service restaurants.

Loyalty Discounts

Loyalty Programs
Loyalty Programs

Loyalty program discounts are a type of promotional strategy where restaurants reward repeat customers for their continued patronage. This is typically carried out through a customer loyalty program or club where customers earn points or stamps for each purchase they make.

Once existing customers accumulate a certain number of points or stamps, they can redeem them for rewards such as discounts on future purchases, free menu items, or other exclusive perks.

To participate, customers usually need to sign up for the restaurant’s loyalty program, often through an app or website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the basic discounting principle?

The basic discounting principle is the concept that money available today is worth more than the same amount of money in the future due to its potential earning capacity. This is also known as the time value of money. It forms the basis for concepts like interest rates, compound interest, and discounted cash flow.

Is discounting a good strategy?

Discounting, such as online coupons, can be a good strategy when used wisely, as it can attract customers, increase sales, and clear out inventory. However, it’s crucial to balance the benefits and drawbacks to develop an effective discount strategy.

What is the formula for discount?

The formula to calculate a discount is “Discount = Original Price x Discount Rate”. The discount rate is usually given as a percentage, so make sure to convert it to a decimal in the calculation. For example, a 20% discount rate would be 0.20 in the calculation.


An effective discount strategy is a game-changer for your restaurant business. It’s not just about slashing prices, but rather, it’s about cleverly crafting deals that will attract customers, boost sales, and foster loyalty.

Remember, the heart of a great discount strategy lies in understanding your customers’ needs, exploring creative options, and ensuring profitability. So, make sure you conduct the right discount strategies.

Interested in spicing up your restaurant business today with well-thought-out marketing strategies for restaurantsContact us at SEO for Restaurants now!

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Seo for Restaurants is a boutique agency specialised in Google Business Management, SEO and Local SEO for restaurants and Cafes.

What can we do for you?

  • Be on top of Google in your local area
  • Reach new customers
  • Increase the number of phone calls
  • Increase the number of bookings and most importantly, increase revenue for your restaurant

Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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