Historically, August is a rough month for restaurant sales. Last year, the third quarter was the lowest quarter in year-over-year same store sales for restaurants at -2.2 percent, according to TDn2K Black Box Intelligence. Restaurant traffic growth in the third quarter last year was even lower at -4.1 percent. If your restaurant experienced a similar summer slump, don’t let history repeat itself again this August. Don’t know how to increase restaurant sales? Add some creativity to your marketing strategy with these fun ideas for promotions at your restaurant.
National Sandwich Month and National Panini Month
Whoever thought August should be National Panini Month and National Sandwich Month must have thought it was the best idea since sliced bread. Which is actually the technical difference between sandwiches and panini, by the way – panini are not made with sliced bread. Instead, the bread is cut horizontally and filled with ingredients before being pressed. But no matter how you slice it, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your panini and/or sell more of your sandwiches during August. From a classic turkey club to the beloved New Orleans muffuletta, there are plenty of ways to pepper in creative sandwich specials to your restaurant’s offerings all month long. Whether you want to promote your most popular panini already on your menu, or if you choose to create a new “sandwich of the week”, make sure to snap some enticing photos of your ‘wiches to post on your website and social media.
August 8: National Zucchini Day
Think zucchini noodles are just a passing fad? You might think otherwise when you see the success story of the “Zoodles” at Noodles & Company this year. Without significantly discounting the product, Noodles & Company attracted more customers and performed better than expected in launch. Program restaurant Davio’s also made a splash with their new gluten-free menu, which included a popular zucchini noodle dish with wild mushrooms. If you want to attract more customers and increase restaurant sales, you may want to consider testing zucchini noodles on your menu as well. Zucchini are lower-cost ingredients than some other carb substitutes like almond flour pasta and shirataki noodles, and you can quickly carve your zucchini using a spiralizer. Then, you can sauté the zucchini noodles and toss in your chosen sauce and other ingredients. And what better day could there be to introduce this special than National Zucchini Day?
August 10: National S’mores Day/August 30: Toasted Marshmallow Day
Another trend that’s heating up in restaurants is tableside s’mores. With the rise in popularity of grill-it-yourself Asian barbecue spots, offering tableside s’mores is also a great way to give customers a safer, less permanent, and less expensive option to light up their dining experience at your restaurant. Mini hibachi sets are usually what restaurants opt to use when offering tableside s’mores, along with the traditional roasting forks to toast the marshmallows. What you offer in addition to that, though, is how you can get really creative to increase restaurant sales. Of course the tried-and-true s’mores combo is marshmallows, milk chocolate, and graham crackers. But you can also mix up your mix-ins by offering toppings like Nutella, sliced bananas or strawberries, peanut butter, or even bacon!
August 15: Julia Child’s Birthday
As an inspiration for countless chefs around the world, both professionals and amateurs, Julia Child is still one of the most celebrated figures in the culinary world. So if she was an inspiration for you, your restaurant team, or your customers, it’s fitting that you celebrate her birthday at your restaurant. If you already specialize in French cuisine or have French inspired-dishes on your menu, this would make for a great tie-in for your promotion. If not, have no fear – just like Julia had no fear in the kitchen! You can create limited-time offers with French inspiration to attract customers with a new dish to celebrate the French cooking queen. The special doesn’t necessarily have to be escargot (unless that’s you’re thing!), but even something simple as crepes, steak frites, or crème brûlée can be a crowd pleaser. Or if you really want to channel Julia Child, you can craft her famous boeuf Bourguignon, bouillabaisse, or cheese soufflé. Bon appetit!
August 31: National Eat Outside Day
It seems like the summer always slips away too quickly, so restaurant-goers who like to dine al fresco are looking for opportunities to soak up that last bit of sun. If your restaurant already offers outdoor dining, you can use this fun holiday to bring more visibility to your patio (and increase restaurant sales) with promotional posts on your social media channels. Show off your space in flattering photos and make sure customers know that your customers can opt to sit outside if the weather is nice. Even if your restaurant doesn’t offer outdoor dining, this doesn’t mean you can’t create a promotion to tie into National Eat Outside Day. Promote your restaurant as a great option for takeout, showing that your dishes can make for great picnic plates – along with supplies they may need, like napkins and disposable to-go containers and silverware.
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