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Case Study: Offer Testing – Restaurant Marketers Have a Starting Point for Understanding Guest Behavior

CarolineThis casual dine chain utilizes frequent deals and promotions to attract guests.   With the dynamism of such an intense marketing program, the client uses Fishbowl’s Offer Manager solution to test offers, capture redemption data, and determine campaign ROI.  The power of Offer Manager, however, extends beyond specific campaign data – it gives clients the opportunity to proactively drive results.  With this in mind, Fishbowl’s, Caroline Smith, Online Marketing Consultant, proposed a test to push the client’s marketing campaign to a new level  through retargeting, with the expectation of better understanding of guest responses to offers. 

Test Details

Caroline and her team proposed a test that consisted of a control offer, reminder message, and extension message.   They divided the database into thirds:  the control group received the same marketing materials they always did; the retargeting group received a new reminder email; and the third group received an offer, a reminder, and an extension.

  1. Each mailing contained a unique Offer Manager ID code – this allowed the client to track each member of each group, to see how they responded to the test.
  2. The creative and subject lines remained consistent, with the exception of extra wording to indicate if the email was a reminder or an extension.
  3. No other mailings were sent during the test period.


The results surprised Caroline and the client. Giving an extension to guests did not make them more likely to redeem a coupon; in fact, net sales decreased 14% when the extension was considered. However, including a reminder message provided a 12% lift in incremental net sales.   

This initiative had two key take-aways, one tactical and one more strategic:

  • To get good results, you need to use best practices in testing.  Caroline and her team set up a text-book “clean” test that ensured she could compare results across segments and use the data to get insights. 
  • Strategically, the insights from a test like this help the client form a better picture of guest behavior.  The more a restaurant marketer learns about behavior, the more she or he can proactively drive the desired results and maximize revenues.  In this case, the client has the opportunity to continue capturing offer data and use it to develop an even deeper understanding of how to influence guest behavior.