As summer comes to a close, your customers are busy with getting their kids back to school and winding down with all the summertime fun. As one season ends and another begins (and with the holidays still several weeks away), you don’t want to lose sight of your promotional strategies to increase your restaurant sales. Try out some of these bar and restaurant promotion ideas in September to help bring traffic – and more dollars – through your doors.
National Breakfast Month
Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but breakfast continues to be one of the most important meal types all day long. 72 percent of all adults wish restaurants would offer breakfast items throughout the day. Since September is National Breakfast Month, why not look at how you can use restaurant promotion to supply this demand? Pancakes, waffles, omelets, and Benedicts continue to be top sellers on restaurants’ breakfast menus, but this month-long celebration is an opportunity to explore limited-time specials with more unique breakfast options and trending flavor profiles.
Ethnic-inspired breakfast items ranked fourth on the National Restaurant Association’s culinary trends for 2018. So it’s not just cool to add some international flair to your breakfast dishes, but it can also help heat up your restaurant sales. From the acai bowls of Brazil and congee (rice porridge) of China, to the North African shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce) with a za’atar kick, you can draw inspiration from across the globe and across the savory-sweet spectrum.
September 4: Eat an Extra Dessert Day
One of the only four ways to increase restaurant sales is to increase your customers’ average ticket. Upselling your guests to order dessert helps boost that ticket average, and getting them to order an extra dessert gives your restaurant sales an extra boost. So why not use this quirky holiday for your restaurant promotion? Entice your customers to get a sugar rush with appetizing social media posts of your current dessert offerings or special dishes you create for this special occasion.
As we predicted, Thai rolled ice cream is one of the top trending desserts of 2018. While it does take some skill and extra equipment to accomplish, this trend can help bring customers rolling through your doors to try the hottest ice cream treat. We’ve also seen ube, the bright purple yam commonly used in Filipino food, popping up more on Instagram’s most popular food photos. Ube has been blended into ice cream, glazed on doughnuts, and baked into cupcakes, bringing an extra splash of color to restaurant dessert menus.
September 10: TV Dinner Day
TV dinners don’t need to be the radiated cuisine of yesteryear, and they don’t even need to be consumed at home in front of the TV! San Franscico’s quirky bar Butter has made TV dinners a part of their brand! Your restaurant can pay homage to this American creation with specials inspired by TV dinner classics like mac and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or spaghetti and meatballs. Or your new restaurant promotion can be a spin on the first successful TV dinner, which was offered by Swanson in 1953: a Thanksgiving-themed meal with turkey, cornbread dressing, peas, and sweet potatoes.
Your restaurant promotion around this special day be presented as a challenge to your kitchen team. Let them flex their creative muscles to craft a gourmet TV dinner for your restaurant. Pick your main dish, a couple of complementing sides, and a dessert, served up in a compartmentalized tray for the nostalgia factor. If your restaurant already has TVs, you can also tune them to show classic TV shows like “I Love Lucy” and “Happy Days.”
September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
Few dishes are as iconically American as the cheeseburger. When it comes to restaurant promotion ideas for National Cheeseburger Day, shake things up with new flavor combinations. Maybe take some inspiration from Bob’s Burgers, the FOX cartoon whose titular burger restaurant has creative burgers of the day with fun pun names listed behind the register. What flavor combinations can you think of that would work perfectly in burger form?
Have your kitchen staff come up with their own burgers (and punny burger names) and then have the whole staff taste test the entries. The winners get their burgers featured for National Cheeseburger Day, as well as a gift card or other prize. Your customers will be excited to try the winning dishes, and your staff will be more engaged with their job and the menu.
September 22: Start of Oktoberfest
Don’t be fooled by the name of this holiday: Oktoberfest actually starts in September. Originally held in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese in Munich, this German festival runs annually from mid- or late September to the first weekend in October.
Today, the emphasis for Oktoberfest has been placed more on the beverages, specifically of the beer variety, which makes this a great promotional idea for bars or restaurants that serve beer. If your restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, though you can still celebrate Oktoberfest with German-inspired specials like sausages, schnitzel, and spaetzli (German egg noodles). And don’t forget about the pretzels!
September 28: National Drink a Beer Day
Fittingly, this holiday falls within Oktoberfest, which makes even better buzz for beer-related restaurant promotion. There are also plenty of German beer brands to feature in your drink specials for this holiday, from Ayinger and Beck’s, to Paulaner and Weihenstephaner. And there are even more beer styles within those brands, like the Hefeweizen and Leipziger Gose wheat beers, the Koelsch and Pilsener pale beers, and the Dunkel and Schwarzbier dark beer.
You don’t have to limit your National Drink a Beer Day specials to only German beers, though. There’s a whole wide world of beers out there to explore! Your customers can take a trip around the globe by trying out beers like Redd’s from South Africa, Kirin from Japan, or the Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic. You also can’t go wrong with a good ol’ American beer – especially a local brew!
Looking for other promotional ideas during that awkward time in between summer and the holidays? Download our Restaurant Marketing Strategies for Slow Times ebook today!