2024 National Food Holidays: How to Increase Restaurant Sales

It’s no secret that holiday seasons bring an influx of patrons and sales. For instance, with 63% of adults dining out during the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day boosting restaurant sales by 65%, themed trends underscore the importance of seasonal marketing strategies in the restaurant industry.

What if restaurateurs could benefit from celebrations year-round—monthly, weekly, or even daily? Successful restaurateurs recognize that incorporating national food holidays into their marketing efforts throughout the year is crucial for creating brand awareness, attracting new customers, and driving revenue. Considering that 80% of guests try a new restaurant based entirely on receiving a discount or promotion, national food holiday promotions are the perfect strategy to attract new patrons and keep them coming back.

Whether it’s promoting your fan-favorite tacos on October 4 or introducing a new waffle menu item on March 25, there’s always a day on the 2024 calendar to enhance offers and increase sales. Let’s explore the impact of food holidays on restaurants, ways to incorporate them into your marketing strategies, and some popular national food holidays in 2024.

2024 National Food Holiday Calendar for Restaurants

Implement National Food Holidays into your restaurant’s marketing strategy with this 12-month calendar to attract new customers, build brand awareness and drive sales.

Download Resource

Benefits of Incorporating Food Holidays into Your Restaurant

  1. Boost foot traffic and sales: Draw in new customers curious about your special offerings and delight regular patrons with unique, themed dishes, turning occasional visitors into loyal customers.
  2. Reduce unnecessary waste: Utilize perishable inventory items that are nearing their expiration dates in last-minute specials that fit the bill. 
  3. Strengthen supplier relationships: Partner with local food suppliers or producers for special ingredients related to the food holiday. This is a great way to support local businesses and offer fresh, unique dishes.

How to Use Food Holidays to Boost Restaurant Sales

1. Highlight Special Menu Items

When there’s a national food holiday almost every day of the year, it can be difficult to select which ones to use in your restaurant business strategy. Choose just a few and you may miss out on impactful sales, but select too many and your customers will be confused by your overall brand. 

It may be tempting to jump onto the popularity of National Cheese Pizza Day (September 5), but if your restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine, it won’t be the best fit. Select food holidays that fit into your restaurant’s identity and general menu offerings to ensure relevancy and consistency. 

Start by asking yourself:

  1. Which dish(es) align(s) with our restaurant brand?
  2. Are there any new recipes we’ve been wanting to try with customers?
  3. Are there any ingredients that are nearing their expiration date?
  4. What’s the most ordered menu item on any menu we’ve created?
  5. Which items do guests order the least that we can offer specials on?
  6. Which ingredients need to be re-ordered to meet upcoming customer demand?

Utilizing MarketMan for your inventory management needs will help you gain visibility into your stock levels, answer the above questions, and make well-informed decisions. Use predictive analytics to forecast item demand, view the cost of ingredients for every menu item, and craft standardized digital recipes with ease. MarketMan empowers you to pinpoint both your most and least profitable dishes, significantly reduce food waste, and make strategic, data-driven decisions about your menu selections. Request a demo today to see it in action. 

2. Be Online

77% of consumers tend to visit a restaurant's website before they decide to dine in or order out from the establishment. This significant percentage represents a critical opportunity for restaurants to influence the dining decisions of potential new customers through their online presence. Whether it’s on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or a website, your restaurant should be available online so potential diners can easily find and connect with you in the digital space.

Key information to include on your restaurant’s website includes:

  • Up-to-date operating hours and contact information
  • Address of location and a map with directions
  • High-quality photos of the restaurant’s exterior, interior, staff, and dishes
  • Links to other social media profiles
  • Updated menu with descriptions, prices, and allergen information
  • Online reservation and ordering system
  • Special offers and promotions

If your restaurant already has a website up and running, there are several ways to improve foot traffic to your site to increase eyeballs on your published promotions. 

3. Choose Promotion Type

Simply celebrating national food holidays won’t entice new diners unless promotions are part of the deal. An enticing offer can be a key factor in attracting someone to try your restaurant for the first time or in encouraging them to recommend it to others. Choosing the right promotion can boost sales during typically slower periods, create more opportunities for cross-selling, and encourage repeat visits.

Some offers to implement on national food holidays include:

  • BOGO: Allow customers can receive a second item for free or at a discounted rate when they make a purchase.
  • Combos: Bundle complementary items at a special price. For instance, on National Spaghetti Day (January 4), offer a pasta dish with a side salad or garlic bread at a discounted combo rate.
  • First-party discount: Offer free delivery when someone places an order for cherry pie (February 20) directly through your online ordering platform. 
  • Percentage-off:
  • Dollar-off: Give a fixed dollar amount discount on purchases. On National Burger Day (May 28), you might offer a $2 discount on all burger orders.
  • Free item with purchase: Give customers a specific free item when their purchase reaches a certain dollar amount. 
  • Loyalty points: Provide extra loyalty points or special rewards for customers who visit on food holidays.

4. Share the News

Once you’ve chosen your national food holidays and the type of promotions you’ll run, it’s time to spread the word to generate buzz and give diners time to plan their visits.

Announce your national food holiday promos by:

  • Utilizing social media to share engaging content, photos of dishes, behind-the-scenes preparations, customer reactions, countdowns, or contests.
  • Sending email newsletters to remind your subscribers about the upcoming food holiday specials and potential early bird specials.
  • Sharing press releases to local media about your unique offerings to attract new customers and free publicity.
  • Publishing a monthly calendar on your website or in your restaurant to keep customers informed and excited about upcoming events and specials.

5. Enhance Customer Experiences with Themed Events

Beyond menu offerings, consider hosting themed events around your chosen national food holidays for an added layer of excitement and engagement. From decor and themed music to interactive activities, these elements further elevate customer experiences. 

Host a live cooking demonstration of dough preparation on Pizza Pie Day (February 9) or a tasting event for National Wine Day (May 25). Encourage staff participation with themed uniforms or host quizzes and trivia nights to create an immersive atmosphere. These events not only make dining out more enjoyable but also encourage customers to share their experiences on social media, further promoting your restaurant.

2024 National Food Holiday Calendar

Below are some of the food holidays for the year ahead to help you start planning your profitable promotions.

January Food Holidays

  • January 2: National Cream Puff Day
  • January 6: National Bean Day
  • January 12: Curried Chicken Day
  • January 30: National Croissant Day

February Food Holidays

  • February 3: National Carrot Day
  • February 9: National Bagels and Lox Day
  • February 16: National Tartar Sauce Day
  • February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

March Food Holidays

  • March 9: National Crabmeat Day
  • March 14: National Potato Chip Day
  • March 20: National Ravioli Day
  • March 25: National Waffle Day

April Food Holidays

  • April 4: National Burrito Day
  • April 12: National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
  • April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day
  • April 29: National Shrimp Scampi Day

May Food Holidays

  • May 2: National Truffle Day
  • May 13: National Hummus Day
  • May 24: National Asparagus Day
  • May 28: National Hamburger Day

June Food Holidays

  • June 4: National Cheese Day
  • June 12: National Falafel Day
  • June 18: National Sushi Day
  • June 22: National Onion Rings Day

July Food Holidays

  • July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
  • July 13: National French Fry Day
  • July 14: National Mac & Cheese Day
  • July 25: National Chili Dog Day

August Food Holidays

  • August 2: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • August 10: National S’mores Day
  • August 19: National Potato Day
  • August 31: National Bacon Day

September Food Holidays

  • September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
  • September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
  • September 25: National Quesadilla Day
  • September 26: National Dumpling Day

October Food Holidays

  • October 4: National Taco Day
  • October 6: National Noodle Day
  • October 14: National Dessert Day
  • October 27: National Potato Day

November Food Holidays

  • November 3: National Sandwich Day
  • November 6: National Nachos Day
  • November 22: National Kimchi Day
  • November 28: National French Toast Day

December Food Holidays

  • December 9: National Pastry Day
  • December 14: National Biscuits and Gravy Day
  • December 25: National Pumpkin Pie Day
  • December 30: National Bacon Day

2024 National Food Holidays: How to Increase Restaurant Sales

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It’s no secret that holiday seasons bring an influx of patrons and sales. For instance, with 63% of adults dining out during the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day boosting restaurant sales by 65%, themed trends underscore the importance of seasonal marketing strategies in the restaurant industry.

What if restaurateurs could benefit from celebrations year-round—monthly, weekly, or even daily? Successful restaurateurs recognize that incorporating national food holidays into their marketing efforts throughout the year is crucial for creating brand awareness, attracting new customers, and driving revenue. Considering that 80% of guests try a new restaurant based entirely on receiving a discount or promotion, national food holiday promotions are the perfect strategy to attract new patrons and keep them coming back.

Whether it’s promoting your fan-favorite tacos on October 4 or introducing a new waffle menu item on March 25, there’s always a day on the 2024 calendar to enhance offers and increase sales. Let’s explore the impact of food holidays on restaurants, ways to incorporate them into your marketing strategies, and some popular national food holidays in 2024.

2024 National Food Holiday Calendar for Restaurants

Implement National Food Holidays into your restaurant’s marketing strategy with this 12-month calendar to attract new customers, build brand awareness and drive sales.

Download Resource

Benefits of Incorporating Food Holidays into Your Restaurant

  1. Boost foot traffic and sales: Draw in new customers curious about your special offerings and delight regular patrons with unique, themed dishes, turning occasional visitors into loyal customers.
  2. Reduce unnecessary waste: Utilize perishable inventory items that are nearing their expiration dates in last-minute specials that fit the bill. 
  3. Strengthen supplier relationships: Partner with local food suppliers or producers for special ingredients related to the food holiday. This is a great way to support local businesses and offer fresh, unique dishes.

How to Use Food Holidays to Boost Restaurant Sales

1. Highlight Special Menu Items

When there’s a national food holiday almost every day of the year, it can be difficult to select which ones to use in your restaurant business strategy. Choose just a few and you may miss out on impactful sales, but select too many and your customers will be confused by your overall brand. 

It may be tempting to jump onto the popularity of National Cheese Pizza Day (September 5), but if your restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine, it won’t be the best fit. Select food holidays that fit into your restaurant’s identity and general menu offerings to ensure relevancy and consistency. 

Start by asking yourself:

  1. Which dish(es) align(s) with our restaurant brand?
  2. Are there any new recipes we’ve been wanting to try with customers?
  3. Are there any ingredients that are nearing their expiration date?
  4. What’s the most ordered menu item on any menu we’ve created?
  5. Which items do guests order the least that we can offer specials on?
  6. Which ingredients need to be re-ordered to meet upcoming customer demand?

Utilizing MarketMan for your inventory management needs will help you gain visibility into your stock levels, answer the above questions, and make well-informed decisions. Use predictive analytics to forecast item demand, view the cost of ingredients for every menu item, and craft standardized digital recipes with ease. MarketMan empowers you to pinpoint both your most and least profitable dishes, significantly reduce food waste, and make strategic, data-driven decisions about your menu selections. Request a demo today to see it in action. 

2. Be Online

77% of consumers tend to visit a restaurant's website before they decide to dine in or order out from the establishment. This significant percentage represents a critical opportunity for restaurants to influence the dining decisions of potential new customers through their online presence. Whether it’s on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or a website, your restaurant should be available online so potential diners can easily find and connect with you in the digital space.

Key information to include on your restaurant’s website includes:

  • Up-to-date operating hours and contact information
  • Address of location and a map with directions
  • High-quality photos of the restaurant’s exterior, interior, staff, and dishes
  • Links to other social media profiles
  • Updated menu with descriptions, prices, and allergen information
  • Online reservation and ordering system
  • Special offers and promotions

If your restaurant already has a website up and running, there are several ways to improve foot traffic to your site to increase eyeballs on your published promotions. 

3. Choose Promotion Type

Simply celebrating national food holidays won’t entice new diners unless promotions are part of the deal. An enticing offer can be a key factor in attracting someone to try your restaurant for the first time or in encouraging them to recommend it to others. Choosing the right promotion can boost sales during typically slower periods, create more opportunities for cross-selling, and encourage repeat visits.

Some offers to implement on national food holidays include:

  • BOGO: Allow customers can receive a second item for free or at a discounted rate when they make a purchase.
  • Combos: Bundle complementary items at a special price. For instance, on National Spaghetti Day (January 4), offer a pasta dish with a side salad or garlic bread at a discounted combo rate.
  • First-party discount: Offer free delivery when someone places an order for cherry pie (February 20) directly through your online ordering platform. 
  • Percentage-off:
  • Dollar-off: Give a fixed dollar amount discount on purchases. On National Burger Day (May 28), you might offer a $2 discount on all burger orders.
  • Free item with purchase: Give customers a specific free item when their purchase reaches a certain dollar amount. 
  • Loyalty points: Provide extra loyalty points or special rewards for customers who visit on food holidays.

4. Share the News

Once you’ve chosen your national food holidays and the type of promotions you’ll run, it’s time to spread the word to generate buzz and give diners time to plan their visits.

Announce your national food holiday promos by:

  • Utilizing social media to share engaging content, photos of dishes, behind-the-scenes preparations, customer reactions, countdowns, or contests.
  • Sending email newsletters to remind your subscribers about the upcoming food holiday specials and potential early bird specials.
  • Sharing press releases to local media about your unique offerings to attract new customers and free publicity.
  • Publishing a monthly calendar on your website or in your restaurant to keep customers informed and excited about upcoming events and specials.

5. Enhance Customer Experiences with Themed Events

Beyond menu offerings, consider hosting themed events around your chosen national food holidays for an added layer of excitement and engagement. From decor and themed music to interactive activities, these elements further elevate customer experiences. 

Host a live cooking demonstration of dough preparation on Pizza Pie Day (February 9) or a tasting event for National Wine Day (May 25). Encourage staff participation with themed uniforms or host quizzes and trivia nights to create an immersive atmosphere. These events not only make dining out more enjoyable but also encourage customers to share their experiences on social media, further promoting your restaurant.

2024 National Food Holiday Calendar

Below are some of the food holidays for the year ahead to help you start planning your profitable promotions.

January Food Holidays

  • January 2: National Cream Puff Day
  • January 6: National Bean Day
  • January 12: Curried Chicken Day
  • January 30: National Croissant Day

February Food Holidays

  • February 3: National Carrot Day
  • February 9: National Bagels and Lox Day
  • February 16: National Tartar Sauce Day
  • February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

March Food Holidays

  • March 9: National Crabmeat Day
  • March 14: National Potato Chip Day
  • March 20: National Ravioli Day
  • March 25: National Waffle Day

April Food Holidays

  • April 4: National Burrito Day
  • April 12: National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
  • April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day
  • April 29: National Shrimp Scampi Day

May Food Holidays

  • May 2: National Truffle Day
  • May 13: National Hummus Day
  • May 24: National Asparagus Day
  • May 28: National Hamburger Day

June Food Holidays

  • June 4: National Cheese Day
  • June 12: National Falafel Day
  • June 18: National Sushi Day
  • June 22: National Onion Rings Day

July Food Holidays

  • July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
  • July 13: National French Fry Day
  • July 14: National Mac & Cheese Day
  • July 25: National Chili Dog Day

August Food Holidays

  • August 2: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • August 10: National S’mores Day
  • August 19: National Potato Day
  • August 31: National Bacon Day

September Food Holidays

  • September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
  • September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
  • September 25: National Quesadilla Day
  • September 26: National Dumpling Day

October Food Holidays

  • October 4: National Taco Day
  • October 6: National Noodle Day
  • October 14: National Dessert Day
  • October 27: National Potato Day

November Food Holidays

  • November 3: National Sandwich Day
  • November 6: National Nachos Day
  • November 22: National Kimchi Day
  • November 28: National French Toast Day

December Food Holidays

  • December 9: National Pastry Day
  • December 14: National Biscuits and Gravy Day
  • December 25: National Pumpkin Pie Day
  • December 30: National Bacon Day

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