A good limited time offer (LTO) doesn’t just add variety to your menu—it offers an experience your customers can’t refuse! Around 44% of restaurants are actively menuing LTOs to create unique meals.¹ However, 70% of operators consider identifying and launching these trendy menu items to be a challenge.¹
How do you create an impactful LTO? There are all kinds of ways to make your own—and make it memorable. Consider some of these thought starters:
- Seasonal Flavors: The unique flavors available each season—from sweet corn in late Summer to cranberries during the Fall—invite experimentation. And there’s plenty of demand: 47% of diners aged 18-34 say their menu preferences change with the seasons.²
- Novelty Items: Thinking outside the box with off-the-wall color combinations and flavor profiles can get your customers talking. Although many novelty LTOs don’t see a sequel, their buzz potential alone—especially in the age of social media—makes them worth the try.
- Dietary Specials: Having a vegan, gluten-free, or lactose-free menu option can strike a chord with audiences seeking dietary alternatives. Testing the waters with a plant-based burger or a coconut ice cream could lead to this LTO landing on your permanent menu.
- Broad Appeal: When in doubt, keep it simple. Putting a twist on an already high-demand food is a great way to energize your bread-and-butter customers with something new, yet familiar. But be careful: regular menu items that are too similar to your LTO may be vulnerable to a sales reduction.
Need more LTO inspiration? Give these four recipes a shot to put a new twist on some customer favorites from Spring through Winter
SPRING: Roasted Wild Mushroom Pesto Flatbread
Nothing says spring like freshly picked mushrooms. This popular vegetarian dish features shitake, oyster, maitake, bunapi and enoki, all layered on a Pillsbury™ Frozen Pie Dough Sheet
SUMMER: Korean BBQ Turkey Burgers
These burgers with Asian slaw and Korean bulgogi flavor bring the vibe of a backyard cookout to your restaurant.
FALL: Biscuit and Gravy Pull-Aparts
Dish up a new twist on a classic comfort food. In this recipe, classic sausage gravy tops monkey bread made from Pillsbury™ Southern Style biscuits.
WINTER: Chocolate Lava Cake
Those who need some relief from cold weather (or just plain LOVE chocolate) will melt for this fun-to-eat dessert.
Promote LTOs Year-Round!
Don’t forget to create excitement around your LTOs. Prominently display the item on your menu all season long, craft a handful of social media posts to create some buzz and remind everyone that when it’s gone, it might be gone for good!
¹Technomic: “The Role of LTOs In Operator Menu Strategy”
²Technomic: “2017 Flavor Report”