Since the United States starts this month off with fireworks, you want to look to implement restaurant marketing strategies that light up your sales in July. From a celebration of the culinary arts to highlighting some of America’s most beloved foods, you can attract new customers as well as returning guests to your restaurant. With these ideas for restaurant promotions, you can help increase your restaurant sales so you’re flying high in July.
Culinary Arts Month
The culinary arts are so much more than cooking food. They’re both an art and a science, from understanding what ingredients work together, how to prepare them, and how to present them in the most appetizing and enticing way for your customers. This month is an opportunity to celebrate your talented kitchen staff and showcase their skills, which demonstrates how your restaurant is a cut above your competition.
With this restaurant marketing promotion, you can challenge your team to create new dishes to offer as LTOs (limited time offers), which may lead to new permanent menu items if they are successful stars. Make sure to also show off your team’s talents on social media. Food is one of the most popular subjects for engaging social media images. Professional looking food shots and short videos that feature your chef’s expertise make for compelling content on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
National Hot Dog Month
The jury’s still out on whether it’s a sandwich, but there are few foods more beloved by Americans than hot dogs. This makes for a prime opportunity to attract more customers to your restaurant with such a popular offering. The trick is, your hot dog has to be better than what an average consumer could boil or microwave at home. Beef is a traditional protein, but there are some trending non-traditional proteins that restaurants are using in their hot dogs, like lamb, rabbit, and even rattlesnake (which I found to be absolutely delicious).
There are also ways to make vegetarian or vegan options using tofu, carrots, or seitan. Then look to your toppings and bun options. Pretzel buns are losing steam in food trends, but you can look to more artisan varieties or bun-free creations like lettuce wraps or tacos. To top it off beyond your usual sauces, cheeses, and veggies, there are more out-of-the-box topping routes like coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, or my personal favorite – giardiniera.
National Pickle Month
Speaking of great hot dog toppings, pickles are spiking on the food trend charts. According to Datassential, pickles are on over 40 percent of all restaurant menus, a 15 percent increase over 2013. Sonic even launched a pickle-flavored slush in June. You don’t have to go to that extreme with this restaurant marketing idea, though – just offering a free pickle with an entrée purchase is a pleasing proposal. Pickles go beyond just the cucumber varieties, too. In fact, the rising trend is in pickling non-traditional veggies like asparagus, radishes, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Fruits aren’t exempt from pickling trends either, with pickled rhubarb, lemon, and blueberries popping up in both sweet and savory dishes. If you’re looking to add a buzz-worthy pickle special to celebrate this month, Kool-Aid pickles are starting to cause a stir and are sure to heat up the summer’s social media feeds. Instagrammers usually pick the cherry flavor, but if you could try a blue or purple color to really stand out and attract attention that will bring customers through your doors to try them. Oh yeah!
July 7 – National Macaroni Day
These are the kinds of elbows that belong on a table – or even better, on a fork. The cheesy variety is always a classic and there are plenty of ways to put a fun twist on it without resorting to rotini. Add some pizzazz to your pasta with ingredients like Buffalo sauce, avocado, caramelized onions, or crispy bacon. Mac and cheese can also become an ingredient itself, making for creative toppings on pizza, burgers, or (you guessed it) hot dogs!
Macaroni isn’t fully dependent on cheese, though. Your culinary team can also use their noodles with this noodle to create tempting macaroni salads that are perfect sides for summertime menus. Homestyle American versions with a mayo base are crowd pleasers, but you can also expand your flavor profile globally for more unique tastes. A Caprese version can be achieved with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and pesto. Toss the macaroni with some feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red peppers, and a vinaigrette for a Greek-inspired version. Or you can mix it up with a sesame ginger dressing, snow peas, carrots, and water chestnuts for an unexpected Asian take.
July 17 – World Emoji Day
Another restaurant marketing trend that seems to be here to say is expressing ourselves through emoji. To celebrate this creative communication, you can challenge your team to honor emoji in food or drink specials. Personal-sized cakes, cake pops, and cookies are a more easily executed route, like drawing emoji faces on lemon macarons with edible food coloring markers.
You can also bring emoji to life with pancakes or waffles, or even with 3D creations. Two years after inventing the poop emoji churro sundae, The Naughty Churro pop-up in Los Angeles is still attracting crowds to try their alarming, yet sweetly satisfying treat. If you have talented baristas on staff, you can also challenge them to create emoji-inspired latte art. A simple smiley will put smiles on your customers’ faces, and prompt them to order it #forthegram (sharing it with their friends and followers on Instagram), boosting your word of mouth restaurant marketing.
Looking for even more ways to increase your July restaurant sales? Download our eBook “How to Increase Your Summer Restaurant Sales” today: