If the summertime sales slump has left you looking for winning ways to increase traffic to your restaurant, remember that a key to marketing success is standing out from your competition. Instead of the back-to-school specials and Labor Day LTOs, these unique marketing ideas will distinguish your restaurant from the competition — and drive more customers through your doors.
August 4 – National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
There’s nothing that seals the deal on a good restaurant experience like a comforting dessert – except for maybe a free one! If your restaurant already has them on the menu, offer a complimentary chocolate chip cookie with the purchase of any entrée. Chefs who want to take this to the next level can use the classic treat as a starting point for a special dish, like a skillet cookie a la mode or cheesecake with cookie crust.
August 15 – Julia Child’s Birthday
Celebrate the beloved chef with specials drawing on some of Julia’s favorite things, like boeuf Bourguignon, quiche, and ratatouille. You can also boost your social media with some posts featuring favorite Child quotes over photos of your French-inspired food, such as my favorite Julia-ism: “People who love to eat are always the best people.”
August 19 – National Hot & Spicy Food Day
With ethnic condiments like Sriracha and kimchi trending in the culinary world, this foodie holiday is an opportunity to cash in on something customers are already craving at restaurants. Add some fun to this promotion by experimenting in your kitchen with some of the world’s hottest peppers. Then offer the dish up as a “competition” – clean your plate in a limited time and it’s on the house!
September 5 – International Bacon Day
It’s a scientific fact that our love for bacon is here to stay. Yes, there is a National Bacon Day in December, but this holiday puts the pork on a global scale. Therefore, this is the chance to step outside the box with your bacon usage – think bacon salad bowls, desserts incorporating bacon, or a sampling of bacon varieties from around the world.
September 9 – National “I Love Food” Day
This declarative “holiday” is pretty easy for restaurants to incorporate into a marketing promotion. It could be as simple as offering a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée, or as elaborate as creating an all-you-can-eat buffet special. Don’t forget to encourage your customers to indulge at your restaurant with #foodselfies on social media!
September 18 – National Cheeseburger Day
Two things American consumers love are good cheeseburgers and good deals. Consider what special pricing would work best for your restaurant, like half-price burgers all day or free options during limited hours. Going beyond the bargain, you could also experiment with cheeseburger specials that push the boundaries on what makes a “cheeseburger.” Cheeseburger egg rolls are a delicious foodie mashup that will have social media buzzing!
September 25 – National Foodservice Workers Day
As an industry-specific rendition of Employee Appreciation Day, this is an opportunity to give your team the recognition they deserve. Show your support with a special treat to enjoy during your staff’s break or another token of appreciation. You can also give your business a boost in the community by communicating your appreciation via social media posts featuring your employees.