Let’s be honest: not everyone is gaga for Valentine’s Day, and even leprechauns agree that green beer is reserved for St. Patrick’s Day. While these holidays can bring big sales for your business, there are still 58 other days worthy of great restaurant promotion ideas for February and March. If you’re looking to boost your marketing plan in the upcoming months, these specials can help increase sales for restaurants.
National Chocolate Lovers Month
Second only to Mother’s Day in popularity for restaurant visits, Valentine’s Day is a prime time to promote a special pre-fixe menu or dessert. But since Valentine’s season is synonymous with dining out and chocolate indulgences, this pairing makes for a perfect restaurant promotion all month long. If your restaurant has a superb chocolate lava cake or Godiva martini on the menu, this is the month to feature them in your specials.
Or add something new and challenge your chefs to craft LTOs celebrating the cocoa bean. Don’t limit them to just the dessert menu, though. Chocolate can also be incorporated into pork rubs, barbecue sauce, chili, chipotle sauce, and of course a Mexican mole. Offering a dish that’s unique and unexpected encourages customers to visit your restaurant for the first time or to return for something new!
February 7: Super Bowl Sunday and National Pork Appreciation Day
It’s not every day that restaurant-goers have two excuses to pig out! Pizza and hot wings are top choices for the big game day, but you can make your selections stand apart from your competition by incorporating porky products. Substitute sausage and tomato sauce for pulled pork and barbecue sauce for a BBQ pizza special. Or skip the buffalo and wrap your chicken wings in bacon, because nothing makes meat lovers happier than bacon.
Since it’s the Super Bowl, make sure your own team is prepared to tackle a rush of delivery and takeout orders. If you have TVs in your restaurant, tune them to CBS in time for all the pre-game coverage and adjust the volume so your guests can clearly hear the play-by-play and the commercials.
February 18: National “Drink Wine” Day
Offering vino specials for this holiday is something your customers won’t whine about. Special pricing for select wine bottles entices guests to splurge on a few to share rather than just a glass each. If you offer specials for wines by the glass, guests are encouraged to try something new or order more rounds of their favorite.
You can also support the upsell by offering wine pairings with your popular entrees, and educate your servers on how to speak to the tasting notes of these pairings. If your restaurant boasts a hearty wine list, you can give your guests a taste of a wider variety with wine flights. By sampling new wines in a flight, customers feel more comfortable ordering a full glass of their favorite from the selection – even if it’s at a higher price point than their usual pick.
February 29: Leap Day
Encourage your customers to jump on a special at your restaurant that happens only once every four years. Whether it’s a BOGO offer, a combo deal, or an LTO, you can promote a special that customers need to get “before it’s gone!” If it fits your marketing strategy, your promotion could be a festive “29” offer: 29% off select entrees, a special on menu item #29, or a free dessert for guests with Leap Day birthdays.
National Nutrition Month
Healthy eating continues to be a rising trend in the restaurant industry, with increased consumer demand for GMO-free, organic, and higher-quality ingredients. This month-long celebration of nutrition is a prime opportunity for your restaurant to capitalize on this trend and attract more customers. If your restaurant is known for its healthy menu options, promote your business with messaging that ties your brand to National Nutrition Month.
If you’re looking to add healthy options to your menu, promote these new dishes in March with an emphasis on the nutritional value of the ingredients. Gluten-free and paleo offerings are not only trendy, but open your restaurant to new customers who may not have been able to dine at your restaurant before due to their dietary needs.
March 18: National Agriculture Day
Locally-sourced ingredients are still at the top of the charts for restaurants, a locally grown produce ranked third for 2016 menu trends. If your restaurant prides itself on local sourcing, this holiday is an opportunity to promote your partnership with these local producers. Post on social media about the farms your ingredients come from with stories that tie these businesses and your restaurant back to your community.
You can also turn this promotion idea into a special event by hosting a dinner at your restaurant celebrating local producers. Each course highlights a product from a particular local farm or producer, and you can even invite someone from the businesses to speak at the event.
March 20: First Day of Spring
Restaurants that offer seasonal menus can use this day to release new spring selections. Seasonal dishes are also great ways to increase sales, as 59 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase an item on a restaurant menu if it’s described as “seasonal.” Whether it’s a full new menu or a variety of seasonal specials, customers will visit your restaurant to try your fresh dishes.
The first day of spring is also a good time to rethink your beverage selections. Guests are less likely to seek out hot toddies when the promise of warmer weather is on the horizon. Instead, look to incorporate more refreshing beverages like cucumber-strawberry infused water or mint lemonade.
March 25: Waffle Day
Breakfast foods aren’t just for breakfast anymore. With consumers demanding all-day breakfast options, restaurants are responding. This holiday is an opportunity to cash in on the breakfast food trend by promoting the waffles already on your restaurant’s menu or creating new waffle-themed specials. Give your customers the option to customize their order with a variety of waffle topping choices, or infuse waffles with flavors like red velvet or lemon.
Waffles are also great canvases for your kitchen team to use in creating unique specials, whether they’re sweet or savory. You can use waffles as a bread option for sandwiches, the base for a Benedict, or crumbles on a dessert.
Want to incorporate one of these ideas into your marketing plan but need cash to support it? Explore our restaurant funding options to find one fit for your business: