National Food Holidays: How to Celebrate & Make More Money at your Restaurant
National food holidays give restaurants an opportunity to celebrate and capitalize on a spending trend every year with unique promotions.
But it’s one thing to recognize an opportunity, and another entirely to capitalize on it.
You need to know what to offer your guests, how you’ll organize logistics, and figure out how and what to charge to procure revenue upfront.
Keep reading for:
A list of National Food Holidays throughout the entire U.S. calendar year (plus, a handy infographic to print out)
Ideas for food holiday promotions at your restaurant
2021 National Food Holiday Calendar
Print out this condensed food holiday calendar to spark your team’s creative juices. Scroll down for a full list of national food holidays in 2021.
Pro Tip: Choose at least one national food holiday above to celebrate and offer a unique on- or off-premise experience for it. This can be as small as a social media post or something larger that affects your restaurant’s operations, like a limited-time menu item or a ticketed virtual event with a pre-sale on your website.
Want to up your Instagram game? Check out this scheduling template + 9 examples to copy right now.
National Food Holiday Promotions: Ideas from Your Peers
New Years’ Day – January 1
Offer a New Year’s Day brunch for guests to nurse their hangovers, have a Mimosa or Bloody Mary (or a few), and dine on eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast, and more.
Super Bowl Sunday — February 7th
Offer Super Bowl Sunday experiences on your website: have deal options that include variations of wings, nachos, pizza, and a bucket of beers
Offer takeaway food for guests to bring home apps like wings and nachos
Give guests booking reservations the option to pre-purchase offerings for the table: rose petals, a dozen roses, chocolates, champagne, wine pairing, a parting gift, or aphrodisiac upgrades like oysters
Offer a Valentine’s Day-inspired dessert menu — like red velvet cake, chocolate truffles or a heart-shaped surprise
Create a special “rosé bubbles” menu with Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Perrier-Jouët Blason, and other special sommelier selections
Offer a virtual class in which couples can learn to make a heart-shaped pizza or dessert
Easter — April 4th
Sell an Easter basket for children as part of a brunch at your restaurant
Offer a Mommy/Daddy & Me cookie or egg decorating class
Mother’s Day — May 9th
Give families the option to treat Mom with the addition of a chocolate pairing, photo frame, or champagne flight to a Mother’s Day brunch reservation
Sell tickets to a prix fixe meal for the family, including free champagne for Mom
Create a gift basket for delivery and pickup with goodies and treats for Mom, including a gift certificate to be used for a future online order or on-premise visit
Memorial Day — May 31st | Independence Day — July 4th | Labor Day — September 6th
Sell a “Long Weekend Picnic Essentials To-Go” package including meats, cheeses, and potato salad for those heading to the beach
Offer pre-packaged train, bus, or flight meals for people traveling for the holiday weekend that includes a drink, sandwich or salad, and chips
Provide a ‘Decor & Drinks’ package for guests staying local, with surprise and delights like branded plastic sunglasses or cups
Halloween — October 31st
Pre-sell tickets to a costume party or costume contest on Halloween night. Offer a free cocktail or Halloween shot with ticket purchase
Sell a dinner experience in which guests watch a horror movie while they dine on movie-inspired fare
Host a pumpkin pasta and fall favorites cooking class
Organize a “Creepy Cookies & Cocktails” event: an interactive cookie decorating and cocktail-making class at your venue or available online
Offer upgrades to reservations booked on the nights leading up to Halloween to pre-purchase holiday cocktails
Create a special menu as a takeaway experience (pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, etc.) for guests to pull together at home
Offer a candy bag as an upgrade during reservation-booking on your website for the month of October
Thanksgiving — 4th Thursday of November
Offer a takeaway menu of food to bring home, including a full turkey dinner and seasonally-inspired pies
Provide a turkey tasting menus for families who don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving
Host a pumpkin pie cooking class Monday or Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving
Offer an upsell throughout November during reservation-booking where, with each seasonal cocktail pre-purchased, $2 is donated to a local food bank
Give guests the option to add on a canned food item to their reservation (to be donated); give a free glass of prosecco in return
Christmas — December 25th
Offer a prix fixe menu on your website — one option for Christmas Eve, and one option for Christmas Day. Have your time slot availability only show these experiences.
Christmas party, at-home edition: host a holiday season party-in-a-box for those guests looking to host small family events at home. Include hors d’oeuvres, holiday cocktails and decorations to help make the season bright
Offer a “holiday favorites” virtual cooking class: Master the art of mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted veggies, and more — all in a virtual event format that keeps guests safe
Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice event: partner with a wine company or cocktail brand to do a pairing with popular holiday desserts
New Years’ Eve – December 31
Sell tickets to early and late dinner seatings. Make it prix-fixe and include a bottle of champagne per couple to celebrate.