Boost the Success of LTOs with Help from Your Staff


If you work in the foodservice industry, then you are familiar with limited time offers (LTOs) and the role they play in driving sales success. From quick service to fast casual restaurant chains, LTOs are a vital part of any strategy for attracting customers, generating loyalty, and increasing short-term sales.

Think of recent buzz-worthy LTOs in the fast food industry – like the McDonald’s McRib or Burger King’s Chicken Fries. How about Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino? Creating unique offerings is a powerful way to bring guests (and their friends) into your restaurant. In fact, a study by Technomic found that over 50% of Millennials and Gen Xer’s enjoy being the first of their friends to try a LTO menu item.

There’s no doubt that LTOs can deliver a lot of value in a short time frame. Take the Unicorn Frappuccino, for example. At a Starbucks in Orlando, the average Frappuccino sales were between 44-55 drinks per day. During the ‘Unicorn Wednesdays’ offer, they sold an average of 175 Frappuccino’s per day, representing a 300% increase in sales. While this mystical beverage sparked excitement from customers’ country-wide, the success of this LTO was no act of magic.

Starbucks’ consistent success with LTOs (think: pumpkin spiced lattés) comes from a combination of educating customers (through advertising, social media, influencers) and inspiring their employeesto act as brand advocates. While most brands do a great job at keeping consumers engaged and up-to-date on LTOs, the same cannot be said for employees. Frontline employees are often left behind, relying on an intranet, team huddle, or posters to get new information.

Get all your employees on board, and you’ll see greater results.

LTOS are much more likely to be successful when frontline employees are fully involved in the activation and execution of the promotion. Driving awareness across your workforce is key. If restaurant staff can confidently speak to guests about the offer, it will positively impact sales and customer satisfaction.

Here are some actionable tips for making that magic happen:

1. Make it easy for teams to learn

Sounds simple, right? Yet, many brands still assume that break room posters will do the trick. Proper communication and education are perhaps the most critical, but often overlooked, stages of launching an LTO. Make sure all employees (beyond just managers) are educated on the details and timing for your next LTO. Also, use engaging and memorable content to get employees excited about the offer. Try leveraging a mix of promotional and internal content, such as product videos and advertisements to keep employees in the loop.

2. Test employee knowledge

Once you’ve educated employees on your offer, be sure to put your teams to the test. Try quizzing staff members to see if they’re knowledgeable about promotional details. For example, if you’re offering a beverage deal that’s “buy 2 for $5”, ask employees about the specifics. When does the offer end? What’s the price? By testing your employees knowledge, you’ll be able to remind them about relevant promotional details, while identifying knowledge gaps along the way.

3. Pulse-check employee confidence

LTOs come and go in an instant. If your frontline employees aren’t confident enough to suggest the offer, or explain it in greater detail, they could miss the mark in delivering a great guest experience. Plus, according to PwC, “80% of consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.”

Today’s consumers are prioritizing the experience over everything. To ensure your teams are feeling confident and capable, ask them how they’re feeling about the campaign or activation. Do they feel ready for the launch? Do they have all the information they need? Understanding their overall sentiment can go a long way.

4. Gather real-time feedback

Rather than evaluating the success of an LTO post-campaign, gather feedback while the offer is still in-market. Frontline employees interact with your guests on a day-to-day basis, so will often have valuable insights on how guests are reacting to the offer. What feedback are employees hearing? What do guests like? To increase employee involvement, ask your teams to share any guest feedback, ideas for improvement, and sales best practices with the company.

At the end of the day, all levels of a brand are responsible for developing, rolling out, and ensuring the success of a limited time offer. By engaging frontline employees pre, during and post campaign, you are guaranteed to see a payoff in sales and guest satisfaction.

Want to learn how Compass Group is using an employee app to boost sales performance the guest experience? Click here to watch our on-demand webinar, “A Great Guest Experience Starts With Your Staff”.

Ready to Learn More?

Our solution provides a reliable way to engage your frontline employees, influence behavior and build high performing frontline teams. Let’s talk!

Ready to Learn More?

Our solution provides a reliable way to engage your frontline employees, influence behavior and build high performing frontline teams. Let’s talk!