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Our pizza franchise can attract new guests, bring in existing guests more often and increase revenue with the right LTO

Limited-time offers, or LTOs, are a great sales tactic used by most fast-casual restaurants to help drive traffic and attract new customers, and Mountain Mike’s pizza franchise is no exception.

They create a sense of urgency in the best way possible, enticing consumers to try something new and hopefully creating a new loyal guest. Our first LTO for 2020 is for our heart-shaped pizza, a promotion that ran throughout February.

To ensure a consistent experience that everyone in our pizza franchise could get the most out of, Mountain Mike’s sent POP kits to all our franchise owners.

“Our franchisees are super-excited; it’s almost like Christmas,” says Carol DeNembo, Vice President of Marketing. “They open the box and they have window clings, napkin holder inserts, T-shirts for frontline employees, the actual heart-shaped mold for the pizzas.

In addition, franchise owners also received step-by-step recipe cards and a training video, and a contest was held to help incentivize the whole team and get everyone excited about the promotion.

“Sales are the ultimate reward, with the LTO driving revenue and new customers into stores and attracting existing customers more frequently,” says DeNembo. “The reward on top of that is a cash prize for franchisees to share with their team, which helps build morale and excitement. It’s a really good formula.”

Measuring success

When Mountain Mike’s introduced three new wing flavors last year — Buffalo, Sweet Chili, Stingin’ Honey Garlic — in partnership with Frank’s Red Hot, the LTO turned out to be really popular with guests. We figured it would because they already loved our other wing flavors and the combination of fresh-roasted chicken wings with one of the nation’s most popular hot sauces was a winning combo.

“It can be hard to measure sentiment and excitement with both franchisees and customers, so you build in a financial or unit-level objective.” DeNembo says. After examining the performance of the Frank’s Red Hot wings LTO over one quarter, they performed well enough — and without negatively affecting the sales of our existing wing flavors — that they earned a permanent spot on our menu.

LTOs are a great way to help strengthen unit-level economics, playing on the rule of scarcity and good ol’ FOMO — fear of missing out. “Whether someone’s always loved Mountain Mike’s or they’ve been waiting for an excuse to try us, a well-crafted LTO can bring them through the door. After that, we hope they’ll keep coming back, long after the LTO is gone.”

LTOs and marketing for 2020

The three LTOs we have planned in 2020 will be layered on top of our monthly marketing calendar, as they are a great way to get new, fresh concepts in front of our customers while we continue to grow brand awareness.

Our LTOs are typically seasonal, tied to major sports events or some of our sports partnerships, or product-related. While it’s the consumer who decides which LTOs have the most appeal, it’s Mountain Mike’s franchisees who ultimately determine whether an LTO is truly successful.