Limited time offers (LTOs) are a tried and true method for increasing restaurant traffic. A recent survey showed that 20% of diners seek out LTOs with some frequency, citing new flavors and new packaging as the main attractions. But these numbers also point to a challenge that restaurant operators face when using LTOs for raising brand awareness and boosting sales.Among the challenges (promotional spend vs. limited run time), an operator has to weigh the variables of having to retrain their team members each time a new offering is made. Increasing competition demands more frequent and often more complicated LTOs. But young, unskilled workers are not always up to the task.
Inconsistency Will Undo Goodwill
LTOs become riskier propositions if the threat of frequent order inaccuracy or preparation inconsistency overshadows any potential benefit. Among all the standard menu offerings that employees must learn and comprehend, LTOs represent something of a curveball. By the time they get used to the new item, it’s off the menu. Since one of the main purposes of the LTO is to boost traffic and (hopefully) create a repeat customer, dissatisfaction isn’t acceptable.
So, how can restaurants overcome the pitfalls of a harried, possibly confused workforce? Forward-thinking chains choose to minimize the risk by implementing computer-based, integrated learning, communications, and performance platforms to optimize the efficiency and accuracy of their team members. Automated, confidence-based learning systems featuring gamified activities, competitive “racetrack” peer comparisons, and virtual “order build” modules give employees the opportunity to practice assembling LTOs (as well as standard menu items).
Social communications features allow employees to ask questions and contribute suggestions and advice to fill knowledge and technical gaps. This social knowledge should also be aligned with guest feedback, informed with real data from guest surveys and social forums. A way to do this is via pop quizzes in social newsfeeds that add an element of friendly competition while correcting behaviors and mistakes. These learning and communications systems pay for themselves quickly by engaging your young, “connected” workers, eliminating preparation and order errors, and significantly enhancing customer satisfaction.
Guarantee Quality with Real-time Performance Tracking
The best performance management systems offer even more. They accurately monitor order completion and drive-thru time, as well as other operational KPIs, both for individual locations and in real time across an entire chain. Management can track the progress and sales performance of any menu item, including LTOs, to identify and troubleshoot preparation and presentation details and make necessary adjustments quickly.
LTOs don’t have to be difficult. Use an integrated learning, communications, and performance system to engage your workforce, minimize errors and risk, and optimize the customer experience. You won’t be rolling the dice. You’ll be working with hard metrics and known operational strengths — and not for a limited time only.