Guests love a good celebration, so if your restaurant can get in on the fun, food holidays offer a chance to draw in a new crowd and offer your regulars a unique experience. You can use the festivities to try out new promos, experiment with your menu, change the ambience, and start building a following for these events – all while filling your tables and upping your revenues!
Here are some of the fun holidays your restaurant can feature this month:
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that goes far beyond your menu, incorporating décor and music into the festivities. You can adopt a full menu for the day with tacos, burritos, margaritas, and more, or you can adapt some of your signature dishes. For example, if you have a favourite pulled pork, take the spice up a notch and add a cilantro lime slaw for a more Mexican feel.
Get the whole restaurant into the fiesta spirit by fully embracing this holiday. Add special lighting, colourful decorations, and maybe even live music to get your guests feeling the vibe as soon as they enter your restaurant.
May 10: National Shrimp Day
This holiday may sound like a tricky one to execute, but getting creative is the key. If you don’t want to go all-in on this one, just add a new twist on some of your regular dishes to keep it simple. Simply switching your beef tacos to shrimp, adding shrimp to your Caesar salad or fettuccine Alfredo is enough to count!
If you want a full-on commitment, consider some of the classics like shrimp cocktail, scampi, or jambalaya, for a special treat for your shrimp-loving guests.
May 15: National Chocolate Chip Day
Here’s one almost everyone can get behind, from chocolate chip shakes to ice cream sandwiches to skillet cookies. If you want to raise the bar with some super sweet additions, how about a chocolate chip crust dessert pizza? Or a chocolate chip cheesecake? The sky’s pretty much the limit with this one!
If you plan ahead, you could even tease your dessert selections on social media, hold a contest for suggestions, or build a promo around one of the dishes. This is a great way to get your guests invested in the event before it even starts.
May 24: National Asparagus Day
Although asparagus may seem like an odd ingredient to celebrate it might be just what you need to stand out from your competition. Believe it or not, asparagus lends itself to some interesting savoury options, easily added as a side dish, on a pizza, included in your stir fry, or as part of a salad – and that way you don’t have to make too many changes to your existing menu, while you still make this ingredient the star.
The additional benefit of celebrating National Asparagus Day is that it’s an opportunity to celebrate local and seasonal ingredients, which is something more and more diners are craving.
May 28: National Hamburger Day
Most restaurants have a burger of some sort on their menu, so this holiday allows you to go outside the box and experiment with flavours and toppings you don’t usually offer. It also means you can test out potential menu regulars with different iterations of this classic, like sliders, burger “flights,” gourmet versions, and more.
Some of the seemingly alternative ingredients like peanut butter or siracha have had great results on menus – you might even discover a new fan favourite to feature on your everyday menu.
The goal of celebrating these holidays is to create a buzz and fill your restaurant. Be sure to develop a marketing strategy to advertise the event and talk it up to your guests a few weeks ahead to generate excitement. Food holidays are a great way to try something different, get your guests planning their visit ahead of time, and raise your restaurant’s revenues.