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How to increase restaurant sales with 2022 National Food Holidays

When it comes to marketing, national food holidays and restaurants are the perfect match. Every year, there are hundreds of national food holidays that encourage people across the country to band together and share affection from everything from tater tots (February 2) to tacos (October 4).

These famously fun foodie days are a fantastic opportunity to reach out to new customers while also re-engaging with the people who may be familiar with your restaurant but haven’t visited or ordered take-out in awhile.

Dig into how celebrating national food holidays can boost orders and build brand awareness.

Why celebrate national food holidays?

The great thing about national food holidays is that there are dozens of different cuisines to pick from and center a marketing strategy around. Whether your restaurant has great quesadillas, baklava, or everything in between, acknowledging these holidays gets diners excited about your menu.

The best chance restaurants have to be relevant all year-round is to connect with their diners in real-time through real-life happenings – like national food holidays. Embracing these food-centric celebrations adds an element of fun and excitement to the restaurant scene while cooking up a sense of appreciation for different cuisines. 

So how can you incorporate national food holidays into your marketing strategy?

How to incorporate national food holidays into your restaurant marketing strategy

To make your national food holiday promotions as effective as possible, tie them into a larger restaurant marketing strategy that focuses on selling certain parts of your menu. Strategically picking a few food holidays to promote throughout the year can help you prepare a marketing campaign, stock necessary inventory, and adjust your staffing to create a successful event.

1. Find the food holiday that fits

Incorporating national food holidays into your marketing strategy is a huge opportunity for growth and engagement, but it can also damage your brand if you aren’t careful about which holidays you choose. Every holiday you opt to promote should fit not only your brand, but your menu.

For example, it doesn’t make much sense to launch a huge National Hot Dog Day campaign (July 23) if your menu serves classic Mexican cuisine. Start with your own concept and see which food holidays feel like an authentic fit.

2. Pick your promotion

Food holidays are prime time for freebies and discounts. Nothing motivates a diner to press ‘order now’ more than a good deal.

Some offers you may consider running during a national food holiday include:

  • Free menu item: Allow customers to redeem a specific free item with their purchase, such as a free chocolate chip cookie (August 4) with every entree.
  • Free menu selection: Highlight a certain area of your menu by offering a discount on dishes with a specific ingredient, like offering 15% off all cheesy dishes on National Cheese Day (June 4)
  • Dollar-off: Offer a fixed amount of money off for new customers during a national food holiday, like giving $1 off everything with fries in honor of National French Fry Day (July 12).
  • Percentage off: Choose a fixed percentage off orders during a national holiday, like advertising 20% off all caffeinated drinks on National Coffee Day (September 29).
  • Free delivery: Offer free delivery to everyone who orders the most popular dish to order on Grubhub, burritos, on National Burrito Day (April 4).

3. Spread the word

Once you’ve decided what deal you’re offering on a national food holiday, it’s important to make sure diners are aware of any great promotions you’re running.

Social media is a powerful tool for restaurant owners because it gives immediate and direct access to customers. Sharpening up your business’ social media accounts on platforms like Instagram and TikTok can get your cuisine in front of a wider audience. Straightforward food content performs well on social media. Creating short videos showing off a dish or posting photos of your devourable dinner spread will capture scrollers’ attention.

Grubhub can help you reach more customers during food holidays by tapping into promotional tools that attract new diners and build loyal fans. Grubhub Marketplace puts your restaurant’s menu in front of hundreds of hungry diners looking for the best deal. Embracing national food holiday promotions will help your restaurant stand out.

Remember, the goal is to find ways to build brand awareness, attract new customers, expand your market, and nurture customer loyalty.

The Power of promotions

The most important part of celebrating food holidays is pairing them with a promotion. If you want diners to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (August 4) at your business, you need to create a unique value prop that will motivate them to try your dough.

The best part? Promotions actually help increase profit. A great deal can get a diner in the door and potentially spend more than just getting the one featured item. In fact, 80% of companies that monitor the ROI of their loyalty programs and promotions see an average of 4.9% more revenue than their expenses. 

Better yet, 81% of diners say they would switch where they order from if they saw a good deal. Picking the perfect promotion can guarantee new interest from hungry diners.

Check out these promotion ideas to start planning your strategy today:

1. Highlight a less-ordered menu item

If one selection of your menu is often ignored, show it some love with a special discount. Make the deal even sweeter by using the deal to celebrate a food holiday that correlates with the dish.

You can also use national food holidays to create a seasonal menu for your restaurant. Food holidays often correspond with what’s in season, giving your chef an opportunity to incorporate local ingredients and seasonal flavors.

December is filled with festive food holidays that you can use to highlight different items on your holiday menu. You can give away a free cookie to all orders of $25+ on National Cookie Day (December 4), offer 15% off your hot cocoa on National Cocoa Day (December 12), and 20% off all eggnog related items on National Eggnog Day (December 24). 

2. Offer takeout and delivery deals

In 2023 alone, Grubhub delivery partners delivered for over 365,000 restaurants. This just goes to show how popular flexible dining options are with consumers. With that in mind, celebrate popular food holidays like National Fettuccine Alfredo Day (February 7) or National Pretzel Day (April 26) with reduced delivery or takeout prices.

You can also slip coupons for upcoming national food holidays in delivery orders. This is a guaranteed way to reach your customers and motivate them to place another order.

3. Celebrate with BOGO

There’s nothing better than free food, and a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal is a great way to get new customers in the door and show some appreciation to your loyal diners. It also ensures that your business will still generate some revenue while running a sale. 

Let diners know that your cafe will be giving away a free donut with every coffee purchase on National Donut Day (June 7). Generate some buzz by posting Instagram countdown slides that show off your donut flavors and remind diners to order on the big day.

If you’re looking for a lower effort marketing strategy, gift diners with a free treat in honor of a national food holiday. Surprising diners with something special is a great way to show your appreciation and build brand loyalty. You can throw in or comp all guac on National Guacamole Day (September 16)

4. Partner with a local business

Food holidays can be a great excuse to partner with another local business. Connect with other local businesses and ask if they’d be interested in collaborating for a food holiday event. You can give coupons to all the local stores in your area on National Sundae Day (November 11) that highlight your free sundae deal. Customers who present this coupon on the national holiday can redeem a free sundae, encouraging patronage to your restaurant. Return the favor by offering to give incentives to your customers to go visit the business you are partnering with.

Collaborating with other local business owners is a great way to build community and encourage shopping locally, boosting the local economy.

5. Sponsor a community event

Another way to connect with your community is by sponsoring a local event. Does a hometown football game line up with National Nacho Day on November 6? Create a nacho based off your local mascot and offer a 10% discount to anyone who orders nachos that day.

You can also use a national food holiday to give back to your community. Create a free ice cream bar for students at an after-school program on National Ice Cream Day (July 21) to help brighten their day. Donate a few batches of your signature linguine to a local shelter on National Linguine Day (September 15) to share the joy of a well cooked meal. Giving back to your community not only helps you build more local connections, but it also can make a difference in peoples’ day, reflecting positively on your brand.

6. Run a selfie sale

Are you looking to reach a younger audience? Incorporate social media into your promotion by giving a 25% discount to anyone who posts your chai on their Instagram story on National Chai Day (September 21). Word of mouth marketing is powerful; research shows that consumers are more influenced to purchase something by friends and family than by strangers. Give your customers the opportunity to do some organic marketing for your restaurant in exchange for a sweet deal.

Incorporate the latest TikTok and Instagram trends into your national food holiday marketing strategy to catch attention. If your business appeals to younger customers, keeping up to date with social media trends is a must. Start by creating a profile for your business, and post frequent video-centered content to gain a following. Scroll through trending hashtags to explore popular posts. Don’t be afraid to get creative–unexpected content can often be the most eye catching to customers.

Celebrate your menu with Grubhub

The best thing you can do when using national food holidays to promote your restaurant is to create a solid plan. That way, you’re ready and prepared to give your diners the best reason to indulge in your delicious food – daily!

Download our free National Food Holiday Calendar for a full 12 month calendar you can use to create a new marketing plan or amplify your existing one. National food holidays could be your next step toward increased sales and wealth of new customers.

Already eager to create a food holiday promotion? Sign up for Grubhub today to access powerful promotion and loyalty tools to support your business.

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