Don’t be a fool this spring by relying on the same predictable promotions as years past. Leave Cinco de Mayo and April Fools’ Day to the masses and stand out from your competition with these unique marketing ideas for April and May.
National Garlic Month and April 19: National Garlic Day
As an essential ingredient in so many types of cuisine, it wouldn’t be too difficult for restaurants to celebrate garlic this month with themed promotions. Your most garlicky dishes can be featured with special pricing this month, or create a new dish that celebrates its flavor. Just ensure there’s an ample supply of mints at your host stand so your customers can leave with fresh breath.
April 12: National Grilled Cheese Day
April showers may come your way, and nothing is more comforting on a dreary day than a gooey grilled cheese. A classic cheddar grilled cheese with a bowl of tomato soup would make for a great special du jour, or try experimenting with different flavor combinations. Program restaurant Melt Bar & Grilled has made grilled cheese into an art with varieties like the Parmageddon with pierogi and kraut.
April 16: National Stress Awareness Day
Americans are hard workers, but we also are highly prone to stress. One of the ways many of us like to relax is to treat ourselves to a good meal, which is how your restaurant can benefit from this day of awareness. If your restaurant philosophy is on the more nutritious side, promote healthy eating to reduce stress. Conversely, restaurants and bars can also feature drink specials to encourage customers to unwind on this “Thirsty Thursday.”
April 26: National Pretzel Day
From the pretzel buns at Wendy’s to the pretzel-crusted fried pickles at Republic Social House in Atlanta, pretzels are popping up at restaurants everywhere. Make the most of this menu trend by featuring your own pretzel-themed special. Twist up soft pretzels like those at Sigmund’s in NYC for an appetizer special, or take an adventurous approach with new pretzel-crusted entrees. If you want to go all-in on this promo, you could even replace your restaurant’s usual bread basket with a basket of pretzels!
National Barbecue Month (May 16 National Barbecue Day)
What’s a better way to celebrate the return of warmer weather than to throw a shrimp on the barbie? There are endless possibilities in taking advantage of this foodie holiday at your restaurant. Besides the American regional styles, there are also yakitori, jerk chicken, tandoor, and bulgogi, just to name a few. Whether these fit your restaurant’s brand or you want to create new specials, celebrate the culinary joys of barbecue this month with themed marketing to increase restaurant sales.
May 11: National “Eat What You Want” Day
What a perfect holiday for restaurant marketing strategies! Promote your restaurant as the go-to spot for pigging out on this day by featuring some of your most indulgent dishes as specials or creating new treats that convince your customers that “calories don’t matter”. You can also take this to a new level with a “Man v. Food”-style challenge. The winner of the challenge can receive their meal on the house, their photo on display at the restaurant and social media, and some restaurant swag.
May 18: No Dirty Dishes Day
Here’s another winning strategy for any restaurant’s marketing plan that is simple to execute. Promote this holiday with social media posts and signs in your restaurant featuring messaging to put down the pots and pans, and visit your restaurant instead. If your restaurant offers takeout or delivery, you could also promote deals on those orders with a “secret phrase” to mention when ordering over the phone to receive the special offer.
May 25: National Wine Day
End the month of May with a boost of merriment that will increase your restaurant alcohol sales. With pop culture icons like Olivia Pope making wine even more popular, your restaurant can cash in on the trend by featuring half-price bottles or special pairings with your signature dishes. Don’t have a bar? This also happens to be National Brown-Bag-It Day, so BYOB restaurants can attract customers with this marketing strategy by waiving corkage fees on bottles brought to the restaurant.
Whichever marketing strategy you decide to take in April and May, boost your promotions through posts on social media, signage in your restaurant, email newsletters to your customers, and banners or event/specials announcements on your website.