The use of discount coupons is becoming increasingly popular with food service businesses and consumers alike. But does providing such steep discounts (often 50% or more) pay off? Before you decide to use one of these discounts, know who they are most successful with.

  • The price sensitive. Discount vouchers allow you to offer price breaks to customers who value your products less than ordinary customers do. Once in the door, their valuation may increase and they may return and pay  full price.
  • The unfamiliar. Vouchers can create “buzz” by announcing your company’s existence to thousands of consumers en masse.

If you decide to make the leap into using discount coupons with your food truck business, be sure to measure the effects and analyze whether you reached who you wanted to.

RELATED: 5 Things Vendors Should Know About Customers

Discount Coupon Design Tips

What are the elements of a great coupon? Every great discount coupon has a few basic elements:

  • Business name. Every coupon should have the name of your food truck, and if it’s not obvious, a brief business title telling what your food truck serves.
  • Logo. The basis of your food truck brand is visual. Be sure to tie any coupon to your truck with your truck’s logo. Coupons not only provide an incentive for new customers to visit your truck, they also build stronger branding.
  • Contact info. Your coupon should provide contact information. It should clearly state your address (if applicable), phone number, and possibly an email address.
  • Offer. Last but certainly not least your discount coupon should have a great offer.
  • Terms and Conditions. Place your terms and conditions in small print beneath the coupon. Expiration dates and “cannot be combined with any other offer” stipulations protect you from being taken advantage of by overzealous couponers.

Use these additional tips to help properly design your food truck’s discount coupons.

  • Add-on items can bring huge profits to your food truck. Try discounting your main entrees but not the ”extras,” like sides, drinks, and dessert.  Making customers pay for these add-ons can be extremely profitable.
  • Cut on the dotted line. Most advertisements will use a dotted line to surround the actual offer. This not only serves as a suggested perforation if people don’t want to keep the entire ad, but they also highlight the offer. Potential customers will associate dotted lines with coupons and discounts.
  • Remember that discount coupons are investments. Coupons attract new customers who will likely return to your truck. The return on investment extends beyond their first coupon.
  • Embolden Buzzwords. Words like FreeOffDiscount sell. On coupons they should be bold and bright.

Developing The Offer For Your Food Truck Coupon

The first step is to determine where you want to see increase customer traffic. Is it lunch? Dinner? A specific time of year? Let this help you design your offer. Also, keep in mind that coupons for your core menu items work the best. For example, If you are a burger truck, you’d want to discount the items you are most known for; burgers.

Now determine your discount. This can be tricky. You want a discount that attracts customers but doesn’t cut into your profits. Fortunately, most food trucks have profit margins that allow for great offers.

We’ve found that free, money-off, and high percentage discounts work the best. Keep in mind that most consumers hate doing math, so percentage discounts that require complicated calculations can be less valuable.

Examples of discount coupon offers:

  • $___ OFF any value meal
  • Buy one ___ get one FREE
  • Buy ___ and get ___ FREE
  • Combo meal only $ ___
  • Buy one ___ get one ___ 1/2 OFF

If you choose to offer coupons from your truck, here are a couple of sites that you can use to create your coupon design.

The Bottom Line

If you do decide to offer food truck coupons, you must understand your profit margin on an item before you decide on the discount amount. Be sure to include overhead in your calculation. It shouldn’t just be the cost of ingredients, but of producing the item as well. If you run at pretty thin profit margins, offering coupons could mean you’re offering items at a loss.

Also consider your offer from the consumer’s point of view. Will they find it valuable or will they buy more than the discounted item? Will they come back again after the initial purchase without the discount incentive, or will they think less of your business because of it?

Share your thoughts on social media. Facebook | Twitter