Limited Time Offers; only for multinational chains?

Giacomo is one of the masterminds behind Buns, a burger restaurant located just outside the city centre of Verona, Italy. With a background in video and photography, and as the co-owner of both a digital agency and an artisanal brewery, he believes in a cross-media foodservice approach.

Serving LTOs is nothing new to the foodservice industry. Many of the bigger Quick Service restaurants, such as McDonalds and Burger King, regularly drop an LTO to boost profits and tap into a (global) food or flavour trend. Sounds simple, but what if you are a smaller player? Buns owner Giacomo believes that an LTO is the perfect way to shine a spotlight on your business. Especially when you’re the underdog, and only if you stay true to yourself and your community.

It all starts online

For Giacomo, a great LTO starts with understanding your customers and getting them to understand you. “I believe that one of the worst things that can happen to a business is being defined by others. That’s why we build our own community and tell them what they need to know about us.”

Social media have a crucial role to play here: “We are not run of the mill. We don’t just take a picture of our burger but share the ‘world around Buns’ through the ‘Buns Burger Club’: 80s and 90s culture, our background, the music we love and the things we do outside work. This is how we build an image that people can relate to.”

Wait for it…

Because they have a strong community, Buns talks a lot with their customers, both online and offline. And that just happens to be the perfect starting point for an LTO: “At Buns, we are known for our great autumn-inspired burger, but due to these strange times and restrictions, we didn’t put our famous pumpkin burger on our menu. It wasn’t long before people started asking for it. We let a month go by and suddenly put the burger out there without any prior notice. But only for 3 days, and only 30 pumpkin burgers a day. Guess what? They were all sold out in 15 seconds!”

This effective Limited Time Offer wasn’t only successful because the product was so seasonal. It worked the way it did because Buns decided to listen to their customers and waited for the perfect time to drop it, in limited numbers. By waiting, they got people to crave the burger even more: success guaranteed!

Good preparation takes longer than delivery

Now don’t be fooled, preparation is key to creating an effective LTO: “You need to schedule every move and find a way to stay ahead!” For the pumpkin burger, Giacomo and his team started a month before the launch: perfecting the dish (making it once, twice, and even a third time), taking pictures and videos of the burger for social media content, and uploading pictures to their own app and other home-delivery apps.

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