Think about how many times you’ve caught up with a friend over a cup of coffee, a cold beer or a nice meal. Now, if you look around your restaurant or cafe, I bet you’ll find that a lot of your customers are doing just that – treating an afternoon or an evening at your location as an outing with a friend, family member or co-worker. Why not make their stay a more enjoyable by giving them a little something for free?


When it comes to discounts or freebies, we’re big proponents of adding value rather that discounting a product or service. You see, when you offer 20% off or $15 off a product or service, you’re training your customer to accept that discounted price as the real value of the product or service. In the future, they’ll be less likely to pay full price for anything, and would rather wait for the discount.

So, for this marketing activity, you’ll be encouraging your customers to “bring a friend” to receive a special offer.

  • If you run a coffee shop, you could offer your customers a coupon valid for a complimentary sweet treat (muffin, loaf cake, etc.) with the purchase of any two regularly priced beverages.
  • At a bar, you could offer a free snack to go with two beers or two glasses of wine, and at a restaurant you could offer free dessert (or appetizer) with the purchase of two entrees.
  • If you run a salon, you could offer an manicure or pedicure upgrade for two complimentary when booking in advance.

Instead of discounting the staples on your menu (coffee, alcohol, entrees) or your core products/services, you’re incentivizing the customer to pay full price and get something for free. It’s added value for them, and your business maintains the perceived value of your goods. A win-win!

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