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Increase your Sales by Creating Your Restaurant Specials

Posted on March 09 2018

Manage Your Restaurant Specials

Restaurant specials are the perfect way to showcase something new and alluring, while also bringing in more guests on less popular weekdays. Likewise, it can help boost creativity in the front and back of the house and fight dullness and complacency, keeping your staff’s spirits high.

See below for ways to develop and incorporate menu specials in your restaurant that make a positive impression on customers, staff and your bottom line.


Market Research

Performing quick and easy market research helps determine essential details regarding specials competitors are offering, what is popular in your area and what your price point should be.  Remember it’s called a special for a reason – you don’t want to offer something that’s underwhelming or that a competing restaurant is already presenting.

Asking customers and staff for feedback or naming ideas via social media provide insights while keeping customers engaged and staff feeling like an integral part of the restaurant.


Seasonal Ingredients

Seasonal ingredients provide a great excuse for using fresh produce at cost-effective prices and creating an enhanced dining experience for guests. Winter and fall months may call for a flavorful butternut squash soup while summer months are the perfect chance to present a variety of leafy greens and berries.

Take a look at our Seasonal Ingredients by Region Guide for tips on what ingredients are in season in your area.



Balancing high and low food costs in order to maintain a reasonable profit margin is key to a successful special. Make sure the price you choose fits your price model. Scanning through the price sheet from your food vendors will help with selecting a decently priced protein, allowing you to factor in more components into your entrée.

A creative way to keep prices low while avoiding waste is repurposing foods that may not have been used in the past few days.  Use bread made yesterday in a new dish like strata or a bread pudding. There is nothing wrong with creating a new dish from previous days ingredients, given the ingredients are not past their expiration date.



Presentation of your specials begins with the way you advertise them. Adding these items to a specialized menu insert prompts guests to try something new before the server arrives.

Also, train your staff to pronounce and educate customers properly. It’s a great way to create enthusiasm about the dishes. Encouraging the staff to taste the specials ahead of time allows them to express flavors and textures more efficiently.


Make it a Creative Competition

Ask your chefs to get creative and push their staff to each come up with a dish and compete to see who can create the best special of the week. This keeps morale up, engages the staff and creates a fun working environment.  You can also throw in a few “prizes” for those that produce the winning dishes.


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