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4th of july foods

4th Of July Food And Alcohol Trends Data: 118% Increase In Hard Seltzer Sales

Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

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Freedom rings... and so do dinner bells. Forget the backyard barbecue, because this 4th of July, restaurants are taking center stage. Here's something to celebrate: the patriotic holiday falls on a Thursday this year, creating a long weekend for guests to fill the seats at their favorite restaurants and bars. To help you make the most of this extended celebration, we have 4th of July food trends and data ready for you! 

We analyzed Toast platform data from June 30, 2023, to July 5, 2023, and compared it to the average day in 2023, compiling it here with useful tips for restaurant operators. Get your red, white, and blue Old Navy T-shirts ready!

4th of July insights:

  • 154% increase in hot dog sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 129% increase in seafood compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 126% increase in BBQ sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 120% increase in chicken tender sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 118% increase in hard seltzer sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 105% increase in tequila sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 92% increase in rum sales compared to the average day in 2023.

  • 91% increase in cider sales compared to the average day in 2023.

Let’s dive into these insights a little deeper. 

Guests drink more alcohol on the 4th of July

Stock up on the hard seltzers & tequila 

Independence Day creates a significant surge in alcohol sales, particularly for hard seltzers and tequila. Our data from 2023 reveals some impressive figures when comparing the days surrounding the 4th of July (between June 30 and July 5) to the average day in 2023.1 Hard seltzer sales increased by a whopping 118%! These tasty drinks were followed by a 105% increase in tequila, a 92% increase in rum, a 91% increase in cider, and a 91% increase in vodka.

Make sure to not only stock up on these alcoholic beverages for the weekend of the 4th, but also plan some promotional specials! Consider the following alcoholic promotion ideas:

Hard seltzer/beer buckets

Hard seltzer and beer buckets are a great idea for large parties. These buckets are beneficial to both your bar and the guests. 

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Benefits for your bar:

  1. Increased sales volume

  2. Faster service during busy periods

  3. Encourages group purchases

  4. Can use to promote specific brands or clear inventory

For guests:

  1. Cost savings compared to individual purchases

  2. Convenience of having multiple drinks at once

  3. Often comes with ice to keep drinks cold

The hard seltzer market has experienced explosive growth in out-of-home revenue (e.g. revenue generated in restaurants and bars) as it amounts to $7.3 billion in 2024 according to Statista, with numerous beer and spirits brands introducing their own versions. This large variety of options can be overwhelming for consumers and retailers alike. While taste preferences vary, Tasting Table recently crowned Corona Refresca Hard Tropical Punch as the best-tasting hard seltzer. However, it's crucial to align your inventory with your target demographic preferences.

A recent YouGov analysis broke down hard seltzer popularity by age group that offers valuable insights for inventory planning. For instance, High Noon Grapefruit is in the top spot among millennials. You can maximize sales potential and customer satisfaction by tailoring your hard seltzer offerings to your specific audience. 

Margarita or Paloma special

Similar to hard seltzer, tequila popularity has also skyrocketed in recent years. According to Statistica, California leads the nation in tequila consumption, with residents enjoying approximately 6.1 million 9-liter cases in 2022 alone. While the market offers a plethora of options, Don Julio has maintained its reign as the top-selling tequila brand.  

With tequila sales up 105% around the 4th, you might as well promote your tequila-based cocktails. Consider running a special promotion on classics like Margaritas or Palomas for the holiday weekend.

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To maximize your tequila promotion:

  • Showcase your offerings on social media platforms like Instagram

  • Consider a charity tie-in, similar to Loco Taqueria in Boston, which features a monthly charity margarita

  • Experiment with seasonal flavors, like Loco Taqueria's refreshing cucumber margarita from last July

By leveraging these strategies, you can tap into the tequila trend and potentially boost your holiday weekend sales.

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Cocktail Menu Templates

Use these cocktail menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menu a refresh.

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Rum cocktails

Rum sales were up 92% last 4th of July, let's leverage that trend to boost your holiday revenue.

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Rum's versatility makes it perfect for crafting an array of refreshing summer cocktails. Here are some creative ideas:

  • From frozen Pina Coladas and Painkillers to Mai Tais, Tiki Chick in NYC offers a plethora of summery rum cocktails. Check out their menu here for inspiration. 

  • For a fun, patriotic twist, consider offering rum buckets garnished with red and blue Swedish Fish. This eye-catching presentation is sure to be a hit on social media. 

  • To streamline service during peak hours, your bar can stock up on premium canned rum cocktails. According to The Kitchn blog, the best rum-based canned cocktail is the Tip Top Proper Cocktails Daiquiris

By featuring a mix of classic cocktails, creative presentations, and convenient canned options, you can satisfy rum drinkers and potentially increase your 4th of July sales.

The most popular food in America for the 4th

Now, onto the food. Nothing says “‘Merica!” like some hot dogs, BBQ, and burgers this 4th of July! Last year, hot dog sales between June 30 and July 5 were up 154% compared to the average day in 2023.2 The people want the glizzies. Furthermore, seafood was up 129%, BBQ 126%, chicken tenders 120%, omelettes 117%, and good ol’ nachos were up 114%!

Add the wiener to the menu🌭: 154% increase in hot dog sales

It’s no surprise that Americans appreciate a good hot dog on Independence Day. You can increase your 4th of July sales by featuring a special dog on your menu — whether it's a traditional favorite, a Chicago-style masterpiece, or your own unique creation.

For example, Hunter’s in South Boston, MA, is a Southern Comfort restaurant that featured this Southern-style chili dog as a special. 

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Seafood is selling: 129% increase in seafood sales 

Lobster rolls, crab cakes, & oysters — oh my! Summer is here and seafood is making a splash. Guests are indulging in all the seafood, as sales were up 15% in May 2024. Whether it’s a raw bar or a salmon entree, consider adding freshwater items to your menu and highlighting it for the holiday. 

Winning example: Hunter’s struck gold again with their mouth-watering crab roll special.

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Americans love BBQ: 126% increase in BBQ sales

Did you know? According to Thrillist, Pre-Civil War, Southerners ate around five pounds of pork for every pound of beef. This 4th of July, the whole nation might follow suit, given last year's 126% jump in BBQ sales. 

Tip: Stock up on BBQ essentials and showcase your irresistible dishes on social media to attract hungry customers.

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There’s some good news for guests as they plan their 4th of July celebration – the average menu price of popular Independence Day foods has increased3 only slightly since last year, except for wings, which decreased .8%. Customers can enjoy their favorite holiday treats without a significant hit to their budget. Whether they're craving juicy burgers, sizzling hot dogs, fresh seafood, or smoky BBQ, restaurants are likely to offer these classic dishes at prices similar to last year. This stability in pricing allows consumers to focus on enjoying the holiday festivities without worrying about unexpected costs.

As restaurant operators gear up for the 4th of July rush, this pricing information should inform your inventory decisions, menu design, and marketing strategies, helping you to maximize both customer satisfaction and profitability during this crucial weekend. Leverage the fact that prices haven't increased significantly. Use social media and local advertising to promote your 4th of July specials, emphasizing both the traditional favorites and the value customers will receive. Consider early-bird specials or family meal deals to attract budget-conscious diners.

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Menu Engineering Worksheet

Use this menu engineering worksheet, complete with intricate menu engineering formulas, to determine areas of strength and weakness in your restaurant's menu.

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Red, white, and revenue 🇺🇸

It's clear that Americans are sticking to their favorite holiday foods. Hot dogs, hard seltzers, and BBQ are all big hits. The good news for both restaurants and customers is that prices haven't gone up much since last year. This means restaurants can offer great deals, and customers can enjoy their favorite foods without breaking the bank. For restaurant owners, this is a great chance to create special menus that celebrate American food traditions. The key to success this Independence Day is to focus on tasty food, fair prices, and a fun atmosphere. Restaurants can make this 4th of July a day to remember — not just for their customers, but for their business too. So get ready to serve up some all-American favorites and make this holiday a profitable one!

Methodology

1Toast analyzed transactions on the Toast platform from June 30, 2023, to July 5, 2023, to determine the popularity of beverages containing “hard seltzer, hard cider, beer, tequila, gin, rum, vodka, wine, and whiskey.” Toast then compared the average volume for the Fourth of July weekend to the average day in 2023. Toast used a cohort of same-store restaurants on the platform since Q1 2023. 
2Toast analyzed transactions on the Toast platform from June 30, 2023, to July 5, 2023, to determine the popularity of dishes labeled “salads, bowls, nachos, tacos, burgers, chicken tenders, roast chicken, fries, quesadillas, sandwiches/wraps, sushi, BBQ, burritos, desserts, enchiladas, pizza, cheese, omelette, pasta, wings, rice, steaks, pies, seafood, sauces/dips, dumplings, curry, ramen/noodles, soups/stews and vegan/vegetarian.” Toast then compared the average volume from June 30, 2023, to July 5, 2023, to the volume for an average day in 2023. Results shown are the top ten movers for the categories listed. Toast used a cohort of same-store restaurants on the platform since Q1 2023. 
3Toast analyzed transactions on the Toast platform from July 2023 and May 2024, to determine the price growth of hot dogs, burgers, fries, chicken tenders, BBQ, nachos, wings, sandwiches/wraps. Toast used a cohort of same-store restaurants on the platform since Q1 2023.  

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