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Fair warning, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 18, 2023.
Consumers will spend $22.9 Billion to celebrate Father’s Day this year. Up from $21.4 last year. It’s a major day for restaurateurs – usually one of the top 5. It’s no Mother’s Day, in which consumers spent a record $35.7B in 2023. But it’s a potentially serious revenue-generating day for restaurants and the National Restaurant Association has consistently ranked it as one of the top revenue-generating holidays in foodservice.
The potential target audience here is huge. There are 72 million fathers in the United States, with 29 million of those fathers also being grandfathers. It’s estimated that there are 1.5 billion Fathers on Earth.
So Father’s Day can be a big day for a food and beverage business if your marketing and promotion game is in gear.
As a way to attract new customers and test out various promotions, Father's Day is a great opportunity for restaurants as well.
Here are some proven effective promotions you might consider running:
A Special Father's Day Menu
Creating a menu with dishes like steaks, burgers, or BBQ is a common, popular, and profitable tactic. Similar to Mother’s Day, many restaurants prep a fixed-price menu or special discounts that appeal to traditional culinary sensibilities surrounding Dads.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar perfectly captures the spirit of the special Father’s Day tweak with “The 3-Course Celebration Dad Deserves” menu. Their website also does a good job promoting their carry-out, delivery, and catering capabilities for Dads who want Father’s Day at home.
Dads Eat For Free
Always popular, the free meal offered on Dad’s special day can dramatically increase business.
One example is at Cafe Mexicano, with multiple locations across New York, Boston, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.. They are offering the crowd favorite “Dad's Entrée Is On Us” promotion.
Father’s Day Gift Card Promotions
Encouraging customers to treat their fathers by offering incentives on gift card purchases is becoming a standard promotion for high revenue-generating holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Father’s Day.
For instance, think about providing a bonus gift card or offering a discount on a future visit when customers buy a certain amount in gift cards. Ruth's Chris Steak House combines a special menu as well as a $25 gift card for Dad to promote customer visits after Father’s Day.
Benihana is always active in making holidays like Father's Day hibachi-licious. They've crafted a promotion landing page on their website for Father's Day as part of their ongoing multi–channel approach to building customer loyalty, and rewarding Dad, with their gift card strategy.
Father’s Day Social Media Promotions
Many restaurants run social media promotions before major holidays to better engage customers and increase traffic. Leveraging your existing social media channels, or using newer channels like TikTok, helps cost-effectively create buzz about your special events.
One example of this is Chick-fil-A, promoting via their website and social media their digital Father’s Day campaign, “Share words of encouragement with Dad this Father’s Day,” which includes an option to send an eGift Card to Dad.
Another is Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, asking customers on their Facebook page to celebrate Dads and their useful advice by asking for submissions for the “best barbecue advice from Dad.” Winners will get a $50 gift card, Dickey's Barbecue Cookbook, and the coveted Dickey's barbecue apron.
A Special Event for Father’s Day
In planning holiday promotions, many restaurateurs use event management platforms and online reservation systems to plan an entire year’s worth of special events. Think about the similarities of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – nearly identical, the marketing tactics and content for Mother’s Day can simply and quickly be edited and repurposed on these platforms to replicate previous promotion successes.
Consolidating all content for event dates and times, descriptions, pricing details, and menus, platforms like OpenTable, Resy, and Eventbrite can help organize, manage, and promote special events for Father’s Day.
Restaurants familiar with online restaurant-reservation services promote well in advance to ensure a bump in traffic and profitability. Using Resy, Pau Hana in Minnesota has been promoting their annual Father's Day Luau & Pig Roast for a few months.
What about a meat raffle for Father’s Day? The Smoking Gun in San Diego is holding a meat raffle, where customers purchase raffle tickets or order specialty cocktail drinks to be eligible to win steaks and meats – perpetual Dad favorites. The Smoking Gun also uses TikTik extensively as a promotion channel.
Father’s Day Brunch
Research shows that Dads prefer dinner, but some Dads might prefer brunch. But some don’t. So read the room to know which camp your Dad falls in. For those pro-brunch Dads, an example of a traditional offering is at Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas. Offering big steaks and chili for Dad… because Texas.
Wishes for a happy and profitable Father’s Day from the MarketMan team!