There are a number of no-brainer marketing promos that restaurants could take advantage of during February and March: Super Bowl catering specials, “dinner for two” deals on Valentine’s Day, or green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, just to name a few. Instead of investing in the same ideas everyone else has, including your competitors, we recommend these out-of-the-box marketing strategies that will shine a light on your restaurant and lead your business to increase sales!
National Snack Food Month
Dining out doesn’t just occur at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. According to The Hartman Group, half of all eating occasions are snacks. With these changes in how customers make dining decisions, use this month as a timely promotional opportunity. Offer your smaller bites and new sharable dishes throughout February at special prices during off-mealtime hours. These specials will attract customers to your restaurant at a time when you wouldn’t otherwise be making a profit and boost your bottom line.
February 2: Groundhog Day
Punxsutawney Phil is your new marketing buddy! For a few days leading up to the holiday, publicize on your website and social media that you will be offering one of two specials on Groundhog Day. Whichever special actually runs will depend on the outcome in Punxsutawney or your local groundhog watch. Willing to gamble on the results? Make one deal more rewarding and announce your bet. This will engage your social media followers and add suspense to the official announcement of the special.
February 12: National PB&J Day
For STOP SAM’s PB&J for Good charity campaign last year, chefs across Atlanta (including several program restaurants) created dishes inspired by the classic peanut butter and jelly. To celebrate the national food holiday honoring this childhood treat, take a note from this campaign and offer your own twist on a PB&J. If you’d like to also tie this promotion with your restaurant’s efforts to give back to your community, you could donate the proceeds from this dish to STOP SAM or a local food bank.
February 15: Singles Awareness Day
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest dining-out days of the year, but the next day is another great marketing opportunity. Don’t let the name fool you – this holiday is for groups of friends to celebrate their independence, and maybe trash talk exes over orders of fries and rounds of drinks. Large groups have larger tickets, bringing more money for your business. Offer a free dessert or first round of shots and these larger parties will choose your restaurant to celebrate the special Sunday Funday.
National Noodle Month and National Sauce Month
A match made in food heaven, March’s month-long double celebration of noodles and sauces opens up a world of marketing possibilities. With the endless combinations, your restaurant can offer a different pasta special each week highlighting your signature dishes or adventurous new recipes. March 11 is also National Eat Your Noodles Day, when you can promote your restaurant with a social media campaign featuring photos of customers chowing down on your noodle dishes and encourage followers to post their own for you to share.
March 6: Employee Appreciation Day
One of the best surprises at work is when the boss treats their staff to a free lunch or special snack break. Encourage these surprises on this day with specials on takeout, delivery, or catering particularly during breakfast, lunch, and early afternoon. Don’t forget about your own employees too! Post photos of your staff on social media with captions about the great work they do for your business and how much you value them on your team.
March 14: National Pi Day
Although it’s an annual holiday, this year is the ultimate celebration on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m. With hundreds of varieties in cuisines across the globe, pie specials are an easy way for your restaurant to attract math nerds, foodies, and everyone in between. Offer classics like apple or cherry, feature pie entrees with savory flavors like spanakopita or pot pies, or experiment with unique recipes like these found on Buzzfeed.
March 28: Something on a Stick Day
As the end of March warms up, celebrate the end to the freeze with specials evoking the spirit of summertime. From kabobs and to deep-fried fair food, foods on sticks are just as fun to create as they are to eat! If your restaurant doesn’t already offer skewered dishes you can feature as specials, challenge your kitchen staff to create one-of-a-kind dishes on a stick that will grab diners’ attention and please their palate.
However you decide to market your restaurant during February and March, be sure to promote your campaigns with strong messaging including signage at your store, banners on your website, and posts on social media.