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The best lunch special ideas for restaurants keep guests and kitchen staff happy.
Lunch customers don’t always have time to linger over a good meal. They appreciate quick options that don’t slow them down. Your staff appreciates a lunch menu that’s easy to prep and serve. Smart lunch shift strategies create a loyal customer base and ring up improved midday profits.
10 Daily Lunch Special Ideas That Bring in Guests and Boost Sales
Keep it convenient, and offer affordable selections. Build on that basic foundation for restaurant success with these 10 lunch special concepts that work in all types of foodservice settings.
1. Serve Brunch for Lunch
Today’s hectic lifestyles often get people out of the house without their first meal of the day. Serve customers the comfort of breakfast at lunch with delicious ideas like healthy brunch salads and hearty biscuit sandwiches.
2. Let Customers Grab and Go
Develop quick cafe lunch specials that let customers walk in, pick up and walk out. Grab and go options free up tables and increase sales. They also streamline prep and service, and that helps hold down labor costs.
3. Let Them Build Their Own
Take some of the heat out of the kitchen by letting your restaurant guests do some of the work. Customers enjoy customizing their meals, so give them soup and sandwich stations where they can mix and match ingredients and quickly assemble personalized plates.
4. Refresh the Salad Bar
Turn your restaurant’s salad bar into a lunch destination for customers who want healthy options. Keep it stocked with premium produce like fresh spinach, arugula and hearts of romaine lettuce. Every guest who self-serves at the salad bar is one less order for your busy kitchen.
5. Offer Two for Almost One
Give customers choices that help stretch their lunch budgets. Offer a different dish each week at its regular price with the option to purchase a second serving at a deep discount. Keep your lunch bargains profitable by keeping a close eye on your restaurant’s food costs.
6. Pick the Right Price
If you price it at $5.99, they will come, order and enjoy. Whether you call it the nine factor or charm pricing, it’s a marketing tactic that works. Keep this lunch special idea easy and flexible by listing dishes and their charm prices on in-house blackboard menus.
7. Celebrate Loyal Lunch Guests
Set up and promote a loyalty program that encourages repeat lunch business. Customers appreciate being appreciated, so target your midday market with rewards like gift cards, complementary desserts and exclusive lunch deals. It’s a strategy that works for some of the biggest names in the foodservice industry.
8. Make Your Chef a Star
Encourage your culinary talent to mingle with customers in the dining room. Guests enjoy meeting the chef, so bring him or her out of the kitchen and into the lunchtime spotlight. It’s a great opportunity to encourage honest customer feedback on everything from menu selections to front of house service.
9. Go For Great Presentations
Give your restaurant guests memorable lunches that inspire sharing on social media. Wow them with picture-perfect shrimp cocktails in baby iceberg lettuce bowls. Impress them with entree salads featuring brilliantly colored seasonal veggies. Every tweet, post and share shows off your lunch special to a huge digital audience.
10. Print Out the Good Word
There’s always room for print in restaurant marketing. Trade free meals with surrounding business owners in exchange for displaying your lunch special flyers on their counters. Once you’ve made the arrangements, regularly update and restock your printed materials.
You Can Always Count on Us
Establishing your restaurant as the go-to spot for lunch secures its place in a highly competitive field. Loyal customers bring in even more business, and better profits let you expand on improving sales from breakfast to closing.
We’re glad to do our part by sharing creative ideas for lunch specials that fit all types of restaurants. Whether you’re in the market for menu inspiration or the freshest produce available, you can always count on us here at Hitchcock Farms.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.