Spring is upon us. As a restaurant owner, you know all the big holidays and you know what most restaurants do to attract customers. But you’re not most restaurants and there’s nothing like some unexpected marketing ideas to get customers through your doors and ready to celebrate the season’s events, both big and small.
Lent (Between Mardi Gras and Easter)
Everybody does a Friday fish fry, but you’re not everybody. Sure, you’ll probably increase your seafood order during Lent, but here are some other ways to turn the days of doing without, go off without a hitch.
How about the master of all super foods, kale? With some olive oil, sea salt and pepper, you’re always just a few tosses of a pan away from something delicious. Then there are the other nutrient power players, like pomegranate, quinoa and flax seeds. You don’t have to be a vegan to devour the dishes these ingredients create. Plus, this will add variety to your customer’s Friday options.
Rather stick to the seafood arena? You can still make your restaurant stand out from the pack. Do a simple Lent promotion that “rewards diners for good behavior” during Lent. Play off the “mom’s running out of ways to cook during Lent” idea. Or, simply create a fun menu that celebrates Spring and offers more variety and something unexpected at your restaurant. Maybe some trivia about the holiday if you think your customer base could appreciate that.
More To Love About March Madness
Sure, your restaurant may just be a kitchen filled with buffalo wings and pizza away from a great night, but it’s easy to mix it up a bit, too. For a community building initiative, how about adding a FUNdraising spin on the events? March 14 is World Kidney Day. Maybe you can match donations to go to your local hospital. And there’s always special March Madness drink specials you can sample, or give every 10th customer a special March Madness surprise.
Pre-St. Patrick’s Day Party!
Why chase the leprechaun when you can simply arrive before he does? Throw a week-leading-to-St. Patrick’s Day Party. Depending on the crowd your restaurant attracts, you could have a contest for the best leprechaun costume or have a green menu that plays off the environmental “green” as well as the actual color green. Use all recycled paper for your menu, decorations, etc.
One Spring Break Deserves Another
Depending on where your restaurant is located, add options to your menu that plays up the “staycation” idea for families that are staying home. Many families will be looking for day-outings with the kids even if they live in the Midwest or out East. How about a Spring Break Week Daily Break? Every hour someone gets a free dinner. You can create a special Spring Break menu (hot chocolate with an umbrella sticking out is so much more fun)!
If you’re located where Spring Break travelers actually go, do something to make your restaurant stand out from the pack. Depending on your restaurant, you can get a Spring Break Bike out on the streets or beaches and hand out promotional items like water bottles, totes, etc. and incent vacationers to come to your restaurant for happy hours, lunch specials or a special event you are holding.
Whatever holiday or event you opt for, the one thing you can do to make any program a success: train and pump up your staff for whatever is coming their way. And a little reward goes a very long way to inspire them to make your guests happy and coming back, season after season.