A table filled with special holiday meals

Holiday LTOs: Plan Early for Success

Encourage indulgence and encourage repeat business with limited-time offers.

The holidays are a time to celebrate, and limited-time offers (LTOs) get customers in the mood to splurge on themselves. To make the most of holiday LTOs, planning makes perfect.

LTOs are a two-part process. First, you need a step-by-step plan. Second, you need to focus on the guest experience, gathering data to improve your efficiency, better understand customers and create excitement that drives repeat business.

Six Steps for Creating Holiday LTOs

  1. Choose. Decide what holiday creations you’ll offer as LTOs.
  2. Test. Make each item to confirm kitchen capability.
  3. Price. Do a cost analysis to determine your margin and set a price.
  4. Action. Select the dates to feature your LTO.
  5. Communicate. Promote four weeks before the LTO is featured.
  6. Train. Coach your front-of-house staff on how to talk about your LTO.

Build excitement for after the holidays

LTOs help test new flavour profiles or showcase items that might get added to the permanent menu. That makes your holiday LTOs the perfect opportunity to talk about what’s next. 

Even though you’re focused on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, don’t forget to talk to your LTO audience about the upcoming months. Add a notice inside the check holder, create a placard near the host station or have servers talk it up.

Benefits of LTOs

Done right, holiday promotions make money. But there’s more to gain:

Build data. Tracking LTO success creates a baseline and sets expectations for future offerings.

Collect feedback. Comment cards or online reviews provide insight about what worked and what didn’t.

Boost sales. Incremental LTO sales on days with smaller crowds add revenue, plus they provide an experience that can increase weekend traffic.

Create awareness. Diners curious about holiday LTOs may be interested in your January, February and March plans.