Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, you will be in need of some restaurant promotional ideas to remind customers to return or visit for the first time.
January is often a tough month for restaurants, with people trying to give their wallets a rest after all the holiday spending. So it’s important for you to grab the attention of those who are looking to go out to eat this month.
Start off 2018 by making a resolution to give your business a boost and help increase your sales with these five restaurant promotional ideas.
National Hot Tea Month
Attempting to control my coffee addiction jitters, I recently started switching to tea. With over 3,000 varieties of tea, but only two varieties of coffee beans, my morning beverage routine has also become much more interesting.
One day it’s a chai black tea, the next day it’s a pomegranate white tea, and matcha green tea makes for a great afternoon boost. I’m not the only one expanding into the wide world of tea – over the past year, craft tea has popped up as a trend in the restaurant industry, with consumers looking for a coffee alternative with an artisan touch.
Celebrate this month with tea offerings at your restaurant. You could have specials featuring a different tea each day, or use tea as an ingredient in your food specials. Tea leaves can be used as a rub for chicken or pork, and brewed tea can be infused in cookies or ice cream.
January 1 – National Bloody Mary Day
It’s no surprise that January 1 is also National Hangover Day, following one of the biggest party nights of the year. Some people swear by a little hair of the dog as a hangover cure, making Bloody Marys their brunch beverage of choice on New Year’s Day.
While even a simple special on your Bloody Marys could help attract more customers to your New Year’s Day brunch, you can also step your garnish game up a notch. Take notes from program restaurant Sobelman’s in Milwaukee, known for their Bloody Marys topped with the likes of shrimp, sausage, cheeseburger sliders, and bacon-wrapped cheese balls. When they debuted their Bloody Mary topped with a whole fried chicken, the restaurant went viral.
So make sure that if you plan to go above and beyond with your Bloody Mary, you share photos of your creation on social media.
January 19 – National Popcorn Day
I’m lucky to come from a city with some of the world’s best popcorn. People line up around the block just to try Chicago’s classic cheese and caramel blend! But even if you’re not a fan of savory and sweet combos, there are buckets of flavor options you can experiment with to celebrate this holiday.
Ranch seasoning is a fan favorite, Sriracha is a trending taste, and you can’t go wrong with truffle oil – unless you use too much truffle oil, of course. For food specials, you could add popcorn to soups for a crouton-like crunch, crush it to crust chicken, or puree it like polenta.
The simple route can also attract customers. Some of my favorite bars offer free popcorn to patrons, which encourages customers to stay longer and order more.
January 23 – National Pie Day
You’d think that after the holiday-packed November and December that we’d all be sick of pies.
But you’d be wrong.
Pumpkin spice may be played out by the end of January, but even cake people can’t turn down a good apple caramel pie or a chocolatey French silk. Then there’s the savory selections, like a classic chicken pot pie, a hearty shepherd’s pie, or a vegan-friendly mushroom pie.
You can also take advantage of global food trends by drawing inspiration from the Greek spanakopita, Australian meat pie, Cornish pasty, or Argentine empanada. Smaller or handheld varieties are also easier to control in the kitchen than having to slice up full-size pies, and it makes your customers feel like the dish was prepared just for them.
January 24 – National Peanut Butter Day
Did you know that the average American eats about 3 pounds of peanut butter every year? It’s not surprising, given the nostalgia behind the key ingredient of a PB&J, plus the reported health benefits. You can attract more peanut butter lovers to your restaurant with peanut buttery specials.
One of the greatest benefits of peanut butter in the kitchen is its versatility. Peanut butter is perfect for sweet treats like cheesecake, brownies, milkshakes, and pies – carrying over from the previous day’s promotion. It can also be used in appetizers and entrees, as a sauce for chicken satay, in an African-inspired sweet potato stew, or to add some extra umami flavor to chilis.
As always, be mindful of food safety in your kitchen when working with peanut butter. You may have a customer with peanut allergies and don’t want to risk any cross-contamination.
Want to explore new ideas for expanding your menu in 2018? Download our free eBook “Restaurant Trends in 2018” today!