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How to minimize coupon abuse on Twitter and Facebook

3 min read


This post was written by Arlina Allen, owner of Social Media Restaurant Marketing, a Silicon Valley social media marketing company, and author of “Twitter for Restaurants,” now available online.

Ever wonder if a food server is printing out extra coupons to turn in for cash at the end of a shift? That was a concern I heard from one restaurant client so I came up with a solution that any restaurant can follow. The best part is that after it is implemented, it becomes self-regulating and the employee who is abusing the system will stop on their own.

Another benefit is that by using Twitter and Facebook to promote your offers, you can grow your recommendations, increase customer referrals and decrease your ad budget. You will also be able to track the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts.

Tip #1: You can create a testimonial page on Twitter simply by marking tweets as a “Favorite.” You can view the whole list, take a snapshot and use it in your advertising.

Your restaurant has an online coupon that reads  “Free appetizer for two when you post about @YourRestaurantName to Twitter or Facebook!”  Consumers are redirected to a custom Facebook page to find  information on how they can redeem the online coupons. All the customer has to do is to show the food server his or her phone with the retweet on Twitter or Facebook  mentioning your restaurant. But you suspect that servers are reporting greater coupon use than they are actually seeing from guests at the tables.

The solution? Tally the number of online coupons redeemed by food servers against actual tweets or status updates on your restaurant’s Facebook page.


  1. Using a simple spreadsheet, list the names of the servers with dates of the month going across.
  2. At the end of the night, each food server tallies how many tweets they saw redeeming the online coupon.
  3. Go to Twitter or Facebook and count how many times “@YourRestaurantName” was mentioned.
  4. Post the numbers on the spreadsheet for all to see.

The idea is that everyone can see that the total number of coupons redeemed, which should match the number of mentions on Twitter. If they don’t match, the natural impulse will be to look at the food server in question’s numbers for the night. If the spreadsheet is posted in a place where all the food servers can see it, they will regulate themselves because it is human nature to not want to be seen as dishonest.

Tip #2: As a general manager or restaurant owner, you don’t want to make your employees feel like you don’t trust them because it’s bad for morale. It’s important to convey that the goal is simply to track the number of coupons redeemed and that you need their help for the restaurant’s overall success.

mattjeacock via iStock