Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Voucher Syndrome: Are sales promotions the most appropriate way of combating a recession?

With the recovery of the recession still continuing to affect the nation it seems that we are relying more and more on vouchers to reward ourselves. We have become so obsessed by vouchers that we now tend not to go out unless we have a coupon or voucher that gives a discount off our food bill.

Sites such as Groupon and Myvouchercodes have soared in recent years. A voucher is type of sales promotion tool used to encourage repeat business. Although coupons are a massive craze in the USA, in recent years the UK has become obsessed by the term..

Whilst vouchers come with their benefits, some voucher schemes are often restricted to certain times of the day or days of the week. Whilst this restricts the customer, for the  restaurant it encourages business at times when they perhaps would not have been expecting it. A classic example of this would be the rise in pre-theatre dinners where consumers are enticed in for 2 courses for £9.99 before 6pm.

Managing director of Top Table reported in 2008 the number of eateries offering promotions and discounts through his website have risen by nearly 70% over the past 12 months to 1,127. Suggesting vouchers and coupons are of growing importance in the market and outlets are making greater use of the internet and email.

A company may use a voucher scheme to encourage customers to spend money in their restaurant or bar. Although some companies are afraid of using schemes because they feel that they devalue the brand. This has become apparent with places such as Pizza Express who regular use vouchers as an attractant to potential customers. In my opinion although this is a short term solution, other restaurants have achieved this by the use of vouchers over a short and limited amount of time. This has been highlighted in the case of Wagamama’s, a Japanese chain of restaurants, whilst still considered high priced food, they offer 2for1 meals at certain times of the year to encourage demand.

Are you a voucher addict, do you swear by vouchers  and search before you go out for your next meal? Are you a small restaurant or pub looking to attract new business through a voucher scheme but afraid you don’t know how to, why not get in touch. 

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