The DNA of a Limited Time Offer: What makes them "stick"?

Posted by Laura Everly, IFMA February 02, 2017

Tagged in COEX Consumer Behavior LTOs


Restaurant dining guests are “activity rich” and “time poor.”  They lead busy, frenetic, fast-paced, complex lives.  They’re stretched, they’re stressed, they’re tired and they don’t want to put any more effort into making a decision about what they want to eat any more than they have to. 

Enter the solution: Limited Time Offers (LTOs). A LTO provides the perfect solution.  Most psychologists and sales professionals would agree that if you provide a consumer a yes or no decision,, it’s more likely to turn out in your favor – especially if it’s an opportunity for a quick decision.  The best way to force a quick buying decision is to “limit” the time available.

Consumers don’t like to miss out on a good thing, a special deal or a unique menu offering. They’re hardwired to avoid losing opportunities and again, the best way to move them is to offer what seems to be a can’t-miss-deal.  While “Save 25%” is an attractive offer, “Save 25%... Offer Ends Tuesday” is more likely to prompt a purchase.  That’s the DNA of the LTO. 

Limited Time Offers provide many benefits.  They can help operators test a new menu offering, build brand awareness, or even create a buzz in the marketplace.  While menu consistency is always important, your guests also crave something new on a somewhat regular basis.  LTOs also give operators a chance to test the waters with a new category, flavor or offering, providing ongoing variety and a chance to experiment. 

These opportunities will bookend IFMA’s Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) March 5-7 in Las Vegas. Ira Blumenthal, President of CO-OPPORTUNITIES, Inc. will lead a discussion on the role of LTOs— how chains use them and what consumers think about them— sharing insights and best practices on how to convert LTOs to permanent menu items.

The power-packed panel will include three leading operator executives: John Dillon, Chief Marketing Officer, Denny’s; Dominic Losacco, Vice President of Marketing, Moe’s Southwest Grill; and Billie Jo Waara, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco John’s, along with Jack Li, Builder at Datassential, who will provide a consumer perspective on the topic.

In addition to LTOs, the two-day conference will highlight other key topics focused on the changing operator landscape including industry disruptors, legislative impacts, the world of digital and technology, menu trends, delivery solutions, global supply & demand, and much more.

COEX 2017 will also feature an expanded, interactive breakout series allowing attendees to craft their own agenda and dive deeper into relative, key functional areas including culinary, marketing, supply chain, insights and leadership. View Agenda.

Join the rest of the industry – including the more than 40 high-profile operators on the planning committee –for a program you won’t want to miss! Whether during organized one-on-one meetings, entertaining events or roundtable discussions, COEX is a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity and business building event for foodservice leaders.

For more information about COEX, please contact Laura Everly – Director, Center of Connectivity [] or search IFMA WORLD to download the mobile app in the app store.

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