With 2017 comes a new year and a new opportunity to impress your guests every single day.
We all know about New Year's, Mother's Day, Christmas, and Valentine's Day - but in your restaurant, do you observe the popular National Food Holidays?
I'm talking about everyone's real favorite days of the year - National Taco Day, National Shrimp Day, National Cheeseburger Day, and all the other national food days.
Arguably, national food holidays are more important to your restaurant than the more "traditionally observed" holidays because, in a way, these days were made for restaurants. It's up to you to come up with creative promotions and marketing ideas to bring more customers into your restaurants on these days.
These national food days are also a fantastic opportunity to leverage your restaurant's loyalty program and sell more gift cards throughout the year.
Here are ten of the most popular food days and national food holidays you can start planning for in your restaurant, and make sure you download Toast's free Restaurant Holiday Handbook for a full year's worth of creative restaurant marketing planning!
National Pizza Day - February 9th
National Pizza Day (February 9) is just around the corner! Pizzerias rejoice - this is one of America's most beloved foods, with 3 billion pizzas being sold each year in this country alone. If you create a promotion to celebrate the true joy that pizzas bring, your customers will definitely embrace it.
If your restaurant sells pizza, try one of these promotions for National Pizza Day:
- Half-price pizzas with two or more toppings.
- A free small cheese pizza with the purchase of a $25 gift card.
- A complimentary slice of pizza to everyone who stops by and is a member of your loyalty program.
To raise awareness of whatever promotion you decide on, share the special on your social media pages and send out an alert to your customer database and loyalty program members.
National Wine Day - May 25th
National Wine Day (May 25) promotions will be most successful in bars, FSR, and fine dining restaurants. Whether you have a limited selection or a wide array of fine wines, bring attention to your vino menu with one of these ideas.
- Offer a complimentary sampler of wines during dinner when guests order a meal over $40.
- Highlight a few featured wines that are new to your menu and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Add them to a special National Wine Day menu and sell them for a lower price to see if your guests enjoy the drink or determine if you should remove them from your menu.
- Offer a prix-fixe menu and include some of your finest wines as the selected beverages.
Whatever you decide to do, it might be beneficial to turn Wine Day into Wine Week, especially if it falls on a weekday. Make the announcement on your restaurant's website and social media pages.
National Egg Day - June 3rd
National Egg Day (June 3) opens up a ton of possibilities for diners and for restaurants that offer breakfast. Whether you scramble 'em, fry 'em, or hard boil 'em, people love eggs, with the average American eating 250 eggs each year! Here are some ways restaurants can capitalize on this.
- Discounted omelettes all day long. After all, who says no to breakfast for dinner?
- Bonus loyalty points for members of your loyalty program who stop in to visit and order a dish with eggs.
- Free toppings in omelettes today only.
For National Egg Day, share your promotion idea on any signs or boards you have in your restaurant so your regulars know it's coming up.
National French Fries Day - June 13th
National French Fries Day (June 13) honors the staple side dish of almost every American meal. Some restaurants show their French Fry appreciation in many forms - curly, sweet potato, parmesan truffle - you name it. Try some of these strategies to boost sales on National French Fries Day.
- Pizzerias can throw in an order of fries to all orders of $15 or more - even those that don't ask for it! This is called surprise and delight, and your customers will be gleefully taken aback.
- Fancier restaurants can offer a complimentary side of house fries (like parmesan truffle or sweet potato) at all tables.
- Post that it's National French Fries Day on your social media channels and say that all members of your loyalty program who come in and say "Happy National French Fry Day!" get a free side of fries (also mention that if they're not a member of your loyalty program that they can easily join!).
For promotion, it's best to stick to social media for this one. You can even try posting the announcement to your Story on Snapchat!
National Vanilla Ice Cream Day - July 23rd
"Anyone care for dessert?"
To get more of your guests to answer "yes" to that question, try these strategies on National Ice Cream Day (June 23).
- Any dessert with ice cream is buy one, get one free.
- Make any dessert a la mode at no extra cost.
- Gift card special for the week: free ice cream cone/dish when a guest purchases a gift card $20 or more.
National Oyster Day - August 5th
National Oyster Day (August 5) finally brings us around to seafood restaurants, which have been waiting for their turn on the National Food Day calendar all year. Now that it's here, try these promotion ideas.
- All you can eat oyster bar for a discounted price.
- Host an oyster eating contest at your restaurant.
- Give a complimentary coupon for a free side order of oysters on the next visit when guest buys a $50 gift card.
National Cheeseburger Day - September 18th
That picture is making me very hungry and I now wish that National Cheeseburger Day (September 18) were tomorrow. When it finally does arrive, these idea may be worth a try.
- No charge for cheese or extra cheese on a burger (it's National Cheeseburger Day, after all!).
- Double loyalty points when someone buys a cheeseburger today (and double points when someone signs up today).
- Free drink and fries with the purchase of any cheeseburger.
Start promoting for this a week or two in advance. Social media is best, and reaching out to your customer base via email will also work well.
National Coffee Day - September 29th
Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee every day - it's almost like every day is National Coffee Day. Regardless, here are some ideas to help you celebrate.
- Free coffee for your loyalty program members. If money is tight at your restaurant or cafe, try offering a free coffee with the purchase of a pastry or food item (or vice versa).
- BOGO coffee when you come in with a friend.
- Complimentary dessert coffee for fine dining restaurants.
National Taco Day - October 4th
Forget Cinco de Mayo - October 4th is the real National Taco Day. Here are some ways you can embrace tacos in your restaurant even if your restaurant doesn't sell tacos.
- $2 tacos all night long with the purchase of a drink.
- Experiment with a limited-time taco menu - taco pizza, fish tacos, etc.
- Taco eating contest - enough said.
National Cookie Day - December 4th
National Cookie Day can be a big seller for your cafe or bakery. Use social media to help promote one of these strategies.
- Complimentary dozen of cookies with the purchase of a $25 gift card and/or half off a dozen of cookies for everyone.
- One free cookie to everyone in your loyalty program and/or one free cookie with the purchase of another item for everyone else.
- Sell a limited-time cookie variety box with limited time varieties. Listen to the feedback you get and consider adding one of the types to your menu!
Aside from social media, leveraging your customer database here is another smart idea.
Preparing for National Food Days in Your Restaurant
These are just ten of the hundreds of National Food Days and National Food Holidays your restaurant may want to prepare for. But how can you plan for the rest, not to mention every other holiday like Christmas, Easter, and Father's Day?
We know how challenging it can be for restaurants to balance menu changes, staffing, and marketing over the course of the year.
That's why we've whipped up the Toast Restaurant Holiday Handbook: A Year's Worth of Creative Holiday Marketing Tips.
In this free handbook, we'll cover the best tactics for restaurants of all concepts to be successful at every point in the year, from New Year's Day to National Lager Beer Day. Plus, we even threw in a 2017 Restaurant Marketing Calendar for you to print out.
We've already made a dent in 2017 - it's time to start planning for the rest of the year in your restaurant.
Download your Restaurant Holiday Handbook below!