Every restaurant owner is familiar with specials. They’re a crucial component of any restaurant’s marketing toolkit. They keep things interesting for customers by consistently providing new reasons to stop by, and for that reason alone, they should not be overlooked.

With that said, placing a strategy for specials in motion can be tricky. To help you out, here’s our list of eight do’s and don’ts for offering restaurant specials.

Do: Take advantage of all the different types of specials. Different types of specials (daily, weekly, seasonal, etc.) all work well for different reasons. For example, daily specials (e.g. Taco Tuesday, Wine Wednesday) are effective for keeping your regular customer base active. These are the “I never miss a Fish Friday” sort of people. On the other hand, seasonal specials work well for attracting customers who may not have stopped by in a while and want to see what’s new.

Don’t: Run too many specials at once. You don’t want to spread yourself (or your chefs) too thin. At the same time, you don’t want to paralyze your customers with choice. If you have a lot of specials to offer, spread them out. Figure out what days they’ll work best and use that to your advantage.

Do: Use your specials menu as a way to test new ideas. Thinking of adding something to your menu, but just not sure how popular it’s going to prove? That’s where your specials menu comes in. You might just find your next smash hit.

Don’t: Be afraid to experiment with new specials. Even if you’re not trying to test new ideas for your permanent menu, it’s a great idea to encourage your chefs to experiment. When it comes to restaurant specials, there’s a general assumption that the customer is trying something different. Obviously, you want your specials to be high quality. But don’t be afraid of mixing it up.

Do: Time specials strategically. With specials, timing can make all the difference. Launching your special alongside a holiday, event, or National Day can not only boost business, but also increase your chances of gaining valuable social media traction. We just published a full checklist of holidays, National Days, and more to plan for. Check it out and hopefully it’ll help with your next special.

Don’t: Design specials without considering your audience. I’m all in favor of experimenting, but specials need to be made with the customer in mind. If you’re trying to attract a new audience to your restaurant, you may want to go deeper than simply serving a special. Specials work best when they fit the tastes of your current audience.

Do: Promote your latest specials in all the right places. As I mentioned at the top of the article, specials are an important marketing asset. If you’re not promoting your specials, you’re not getting the most out of them. Announce your specials on your website and social media. Include them in your email newsletters. And of course, don’t forget to have in-store promotion as well.

Don’t: Overuse the same specials. They’re called specials for a reason, right? If you can get it all the time then it’s not exactly special anymore. Either add the item to your permanent menu, or reserve it for another time.

Promote Your Specials With CoGoBuzz

Like I said, specials need to be promoted. And there’s no better way around than with CoGoBuzz, our state-of-the-art marketing service. We’ll digitally promote your restaurant specials – both in-store and out.

Our service leverages powerful WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, giving your restaurant a wide range of ways to promote. CoGoBuzz gets started when your customers login to your in-restaurant HotSpot. After logging in through email, social media, or phone number, they’ll be taken to a custom landing page tailored to your restaurant. There, they can access your specials menu, sign up for your brand new text-based loyalty program, and more! Once they’ve left, you can promote your specials menu via text or email!

Click here to learn more about CoGoBuzz!

Have any advice to share on offering specials? Let us know in the comments!