National Doughnut Day. National Cheeseburger Day. National Tequila Day. National Chocolate-Covered Bacon Day. The list goes on. If you’re in the restaurant business, there’s an overwhelming chance that some of these faux food holidays have made their way onto your plate. Two questions arise: how to leverage these holidays to your advantage, and more importantly, whether the attempt is worth it in the first place.
Do Faux Food Holidays Matter?
The short answer is that faux food holidays can be a fun business booster for both new customers and loyalists, so long as you make a big enough commitment and market your efforts correctly. Easier said than done, which is why if you’re not prepared to sink a lot of time and resources into a faux holiday menu and/or event, chances are that you won’t see the positive ROI you’re looking for.
If you’re thinking about pulling the trigger for a faux food holiday, consider these points:
If you are dedicated to ‘celebrating’ a faux food holiday, target one that at least has broader appeal. A gastropub will have a much better time making the most of National Burger Day than they would National Shrimp n Grits Day. Bars can do a lot more with National Rum Day than National Daiquiri Day.
Second, paint a clear picture of what you want your ‘celebration’ to look like. Here’s some pointers on that end:
From there, getting the word out is imperative, otherwise you’ve gone through all that effort just to have people who would otherwise pay full price stumble through your front door and take advantage of the discount.
"These tactics only work if the holiday and promotion are relevant to your brand"
How to Run Marketing for Faux Food Holidays
Your marketing plan is entirely dependent on the type of promotion you’ve decided to create. In any case, be sure to have that plan set 3–6 months in advance and communicate with all your stakeholders—chefs and front-of-house staff, managers, investors, etc.—to both fill them in on your plans and leverage their own networks for additional reach. From there, consider a few options:
These tactics should provide valuable assistance should you decide to embark on a faux food holiday endeavor. At their core, however, these tactics only work if the holiday and promotion are relevant to your brand and can actually generate value for your business.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.