At a recent gathering of top regional and national restaurant chains it was clear that top chains are dramatically increasing the number of LTOs in their developmental pipeline and reducing their timelines for their possible activation. That’s because few things are more important in driving customer buzz and traffic to a restaurant than a great limited time offer.
According to Mattson Company who surveyed consumers on the topic, 35% said they had gone to a restaurant for the first time because of an LTO and then became a loyal customer. Yet when asked just how innovative their favorite restaurant was in their menu, 43% said that the restaurant was only moderately innovative. Thus, for many consumers the bar does not have to been set too high for launching a successful LTO.
Some chain menu developers at the conference said LTOs that took more than a year to plan before launch are now being dramatically condensed. The new approach is to develop a portfolio of LTO concepts, then launching them within months or even weeks amidst a landscape still dealing with a pandemic, labor shortages and supply chain nightmares.
So, what are chain’s doing to shorten that timeline for menu and sales success? Here’s what they are saying:
1. A Twist To A Familiar Favorite Is A Great Start –
Your next LTO doesn’t have to center around an exotic ingredient. Instead, simply adding a winning ingredient can do the job. Adding bacon to a burger or a unique sauce to a sandwich can frequently do the job of creating more buzz that an LTO with an unfamiliar or exotic one. Also, LTOs featuring a familiar brand name as an ingredient adds credibility and cravability to an LTO.
2. Make It Easy To Execute
The labor shortage means that executing back of house prep of a new LTO item tremendously important for success. With a shorter timeline for bringing a new LTO to market, try to make your LTO creation easy to prepare.
3. Make Sure Of Your Supply
Nothing is more important than assurance from your supplier that new ingredients needed for your LTO are readily available and in consistent supply. Uneasiness on the reliability of supply is why chain menu developers are adding more potential LTOs to their portfolio so if supply comes into question, a chain can nimbly select a different one.
4. Is Your LTO Item Easily Transportable?
Ice cream for a summer LTO is great unless your customers are ordering it for delivery. With up to 40% of some restaurant orders still take out or delivery still a reality, make sure your items can handle the road. That goes for the condiments used at the table or for the road. A recent consumer survey by Datassential found that 35% of consumers prefer dipping cups for sauces, whether dining in-house or delivery.
LTOs have never been more important than they are today for successful restaurants. Smart starts in ramping up your LTO portfolio for now and 2022 are grounded on these four pillars. Texas Pete® has back-of-house and portion control products that are readily available along with recipe ideas ready for your next LTO. Explore the possibilities and download a rebate form to save money on your next purchase.