ARO Miami Restaurant Preliminary Promotions Report

February 20, 2024

Miami-based ARO app seeks to bridge the gap between restaurant promotions and diners utilizing machine learning and proprietary algorithms to identify what restaurant promotions diners are looking for and aiding restaurants in designing promotions that will work.

For this report, ARO analyzed restaurant promotions trends in Miami throughout December 2023 and January 2024 and includes the following insights for restaurants as they plan their promotions.

Overview of Findings

The analysis of restaurant promotions in Miami reveals a dynamic landscape where eateries are competing to attract diners through a variety of special offers and promotions. These promotions range widely in type, recurrence, and timing, reflecting a strategic approach to catering to diverse diner preferences and schedules. From happy hours and brunch specials to unique themed events, Miami’s restaurants are leveraging promotions to enhance visibility and drive patronage.

Miami’s restaurant scene is vibrant and competitive, with eateries employing a wide range of promotional strategies to attract diners. By understanding current trends and diner preferences, as revealed through our analysis, restaurants can design more effective promotions that not only resonate with potential customers but also significantly contribute to increasing patronage and building a loyal customer base. As the ARO app continues to harness machine learning and proprietary algorithms, we remain committed to providing actionable insights and data-driven recommendations to our partner restaurants.

Happy Hour Reins

Happy Hours are by far the most prevalent promotion offered by Miami-based restaurants, representing approximately 26.77% of all offers. The “Happy Hour” is not a new promotional tactic in restaurant marketing as it focuses on filling seats in historically slow times. The average cadence of happy hours are Monday-Thursday (approx. 78%) from 4pm to 7pm, with some beginning at 3pm and stopping at 6pm. Given their prevalence, relying on a happy hour as your sole promotional strategy can prove problematic based on the sheer volume of offers for diners to choose from. ARO noted in its anaylsis that some restaurants are building on the happy hour sensation by rebranding them as “Sunset Social Hours” or “Golden Hours”. Most all happy hour include a drink special on well drinks, beer and wine, as well as food options. Below are the most common “deals” found in Miami Happy Hours:

Drink Discounts:

  • Percentage Off: A common approach is offering a certain percentage off on all drinks or select beverages, such as 20% off all draft beers or cocktails.
  • Special Pricing: Restaurants might offer special pricing on drinks, such as $5 cocktails, $3 beers, or $4 glasses of wine.
  • 2-for-1 Deals: Buy one, get one free offers on select beverages to encourage more drink orders.

Food Discounts:

  • Appetizer Specials: Reduced prices on appetizers or small plates, such as half-price wings, discounted sliders, or special pricing on sharing platters.
  • Special Menu Items: A limited Happy Hour menu with select items available at lower prices, including both snacks and more substantial dishes.
  • Combo Deals: Combining food and drink, such as a beer and a burger for a set price, to encourage customers to order both.

Meal specific promotions are the second most common 

Meal specific promotions remain the second most common promotion found in Miami. Brunch is by far the most popular offering representing 17.68% of all promotions analyzed, especially popular during late morning to early afternoon hours on weekends (around 10am to 2pm). Following brunch, Lunch Specials represented 7.07% of all promotions, underscoring the appeal of restaurants to fill seats at slower times of the day. 

Restaurants are diversifying their promotions to attract new diners.

Beyond happy hours, brunch and lunch specials, restaurants are creating their own specials in order to attract new and returning diners with unique “deals” based on their cuisine or targeted demographics. Below is a sample of the finding of promotions restaurants are offering in Miami based on the data analysis:

  • Wine Special: 7.58%
  • Music Nights: 4.04%
  • Sushi Specials: 2.53%
  • Ladies Night: 2.53%
  • Oyster Special: 2.02%
  • Social Hours: 1.52%
  • Martini Specials: 1.52%
  • Pizza Special: 1.52%
  • Burger Deal: 1.52%
  • Live Music: 1.37%
  • Drink Specials: 1.01%
  • Special Menus: 1.01%
  • Charity or Theme Nights: 1.01%
  • Special Events: 1.01%
  • Kids Specials: 1.01%

The remaining 18% of the promotions analysis were one of a kind events or deals such as late night menus, holiday specific specials, culturally special events such as salsa dancing, and demographically focused promotions like business lunches and special events.

Timing and Frequency of Promotions

The analysis extends beyond the type of promotions to examine their timing and frequency, offering insights into when these specials are most likely to attract diners:

  • The majority of promotions are strategically scheduled during Weekdays (approximately 36.05%), indicating a focus on boosting foot traffic from Monday to Friday. This suggests that restaurants are targeting professionals and local residents with special offers that provide a compelling reason to dine out midweek.
  • Weekend promotions account for around 24.42% of all specials, with a noticeable emphasis on Sunday offerings. This may reflect an effort to capitalize on the weekend leisure crowd, particularly those looking for a unique dining experience to round off their week.
  • The distribution of promotions across specific days and times further underscores the strategic use of special offers to attract diners on traditionally slower business days or during specific meal periods, such as lunch or early evening.

Takeaways for Effective Promotion Planning

Based on our analysis, we offer the following strategic insights for Miami restaurants looking to plan effective promotions:

Capitalize on Weekday Opportunities: With a significant percentage of promotions happening on weekdays, there’s clear evidence that targeting the after-work and midweek dining crowd can be beneficial. Consider introducing or emphasizing weekday specials, such as happy hour discounts or themed dinner nights, to attract professionals looking for a dining option post-work or a midweek treat.

Enhance Weekend Appeal with Unique Offers: While weekends naturally attract more diners, differentiating your offerings with unique brunch specials, live music events, or themed parties can help your restaurant stand out and draw in the weekend crowd.

Leverage Popular Promotion Types: Aligning your promotional strategies with the most popular types, such as happy hour and brunch specials, can help tap into established diner interests. However, offering a unique twist on these popular themes can further enhance their appeal.

Consider Timing and Frequency: The timing of your promotions can significantly impact their effectiveness. Aligning specials with specific diner habits, such as late afternoon for happy hour or late morning for brunch, and scheduling them during days or times when you wish to increase foot traffic, can optimize their success.

Diversify Promotional Offers: While certain types of promotions are prevalent, our analysis also highlights a wide range of successful offers. Experimenting with different promotion types, from food-focused specials to entertainment-driven events, can help reach diverse diner segments and create a more dynamic dining experience.

Shamless Plug: Where does ARO fits?

Take the guess work out of planning what promotion might work by signing up for ARO’s Partner App, which was designed specifically for restaurants looking to optimize their promotional strategies with actionable data.

Restaurants must constantly analyze the effectiveness of their promotions – did people come to eat?

The Miami Restaurant Promotions Report highlights the critical role of promotions in the restaurant industry’s marketing mix. In a city celebrated for its culinary diversity and vibrant dining scene, understanding and leveraging the right promotional strategies are essential for success. The ARO app stands as a partner to Miami’s restaurants, offering the insights and tools needed to design impactful promotions that resonate with diners and drive business growth. Together, we can continue to elevate Miami’s dining experience, one promotion at a time.

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