Pumpkin Spice is Back

Five Ways You Can Spice Up Your Approach to LTOs

$1.4 billion generated in sales. A devoted Twitter following of over 110 thousand. Hailed as a true cultural touchstone by fans and critics alike. It’s not a box office blockbuster or a high-profile celebrity starlet—it’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Starbucks’ 2018 launch of their ultra-popular fall drink was the earliest of any in the PSL’s 15-year history, and it’s already breaking records. Nielsen estimates that by the week of August 25, pumpkin-flavored products had already racked up $7 million in sales, an uptick of close to 10% in earnings and over 7% in volume compared to 2017.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is, at its core, the ultimate Limited Time Offer (LTO). Guests love it, and restaurants everywhere aspire to its ability to bring customers in the door. Last year, pumpkin spice latte consumers visited Starbucks stores twice as much as typical patrons. But customers’ favorite seasonal items don’t just magically appear on restaurant counters every year—behind the scenes, months of prep have to precede the rollout. So what does it take, from an operational standpoint, to create a successful LTO strategy?

We’re taking a page out of Starbucks’ book and highlighting five key ways that the right technology solutions can spice up your restaurant’s LTO efforts.

1. Optimize Digital Signage

When PSL season arrives, Starbucks’ customers know it. Everywhere they engage with Starbucks, they are greeted with vibrant, appetizing, and even animated imagery—all of which features steaming cups piled high with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon. These images are accompanied by attention-grabbing callouts proclaiming definitively that ‘Pumpkin Spice is Back.’

With high-definition digital signage, your restaurant can deploy LTO graphics that are similarly optimized to show off new items and drive sales, both in the restaurant and in the drive thru.

Don’t forget about order confirmation units, either. These screens are upselling machines, and should be treated as such. As a final checkpoint for customers, the displays can be used to strategically remind restaurant guests about LTOs to add to their order, or encourage LTO purchasers to sample additional menu items. On average, Pumpkin Spice Latte consumers tend to spend $3 more than other customers when buying the flavored lattes, demonstrating their willingness to try other items once they have received their LTO.

2. Scale LTOs Across Your Restaurant Network

When LTOs are deployed, seamlessness is the name of the game. Every fall, Starbucks knows that its customers are craving Pumpkin Spice Lattes—and if certain locations are late in rolling them out, hundreds or even thousands of customers will be dissatisfied. That’s why your restaurant needs a centralized technology platform that accurately distributes details about new LTOs to all of your locations. With a higher level of control over when, where, and how items appear on your menus, you can rapidly scale LTOs across your restaurant network to ensure continuity and delight guests.

3. Make Your Seasonal Offers Omni-Channel

Whether Starbucks customers are in a store or at the office, in their home or at the drive thru, they can always get their PSL fix however it’s most convenient for them. Similarly, your restaurant must ensure that guests are able to easily order LTOs across a range of on-site and off-premise channels, including mobile, kiosk, tablet, drive thru, and POS. What if the mobile app were missing the coveted latte? Today’s guests don’t just expect omni-channel convenience—they expect omni-channel continuity as well. When it comes down to it, seamless ordering interfaces allow guests to take full advantage of your restaurant’s latest and greatest LTOs where, when, and how they want.

4. Empower Staff to Prepare & Prioritize LTOs

Getting that Pumpkin Spice Latte into your guest’s hands not only requires your customer-facing technologies to captivate and inform guests of your LTOs and promotions, but also your middle of house solutions to seamlessly communicate with your kitchen staff. That means you need a system that can dynamically prioritize orders and convey modifications in real time, empowering crew to fulfill them in a timely fashion. Plus, by choosing a kitchen management or display system that integrates with every channel, your staff will be cued to prioritize LTO orders based on when customers will actually receive them.

5. Seek Out Support

When it comes to LTOs like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, it’s not always about the menu item itself. For guests, it’s really all about the seasonal experience. The experience you deliver to your guests is paramount when building an LTO strategy that will resonate with customers for years to come, and as a restaurant owner or franchisee, you want to make sure it’s a memorable one. That’s why you should ensure that the technology you trust in your restaurants is backed by a robust and responsive support team you trust just as much. If ever an issue arises, you’ll be confident that this dedicated support staff will be able to quickly get things back on track so that you can keep serving up the same great experiences your guests have come to expect.

Add Some Spice to Your LTO Strategy with SICOM

SICOM is the strategic go-to partner of the world’s largest restaurant brands. We understand the important role that LTOs play in your restaurant’s sales strategy, and our technology was built to optimize them. From vibrant digital signage to dynamic menu maintenance, omni-channel POS, kitchen management, and an expert support team—all managed by a centralized, web-based Portal—our technology empowers restaurants to create and sustain LTO experiences that attract guests and drive revenue, season after season.

Get in touch with our team to discover what we can do to elevate the effectiveness of your LTOs.

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Mussana Hashmi
October 17, 2018

As our resident digital signage expert and product manager, Mussana knows how to bring rich digital experiences to the restaurant through data-driven digital signage—both inside the restaurant and in the drive thru.

Connect with Mussana on LinkedIn

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