Marketing

8 Canada Day Restaurant Specials to Try in 2023

By Katherine Pendrill

Canada Day flag with poutine and a refreshing drink.

Canada Day is just around the corner! After another classically long Canadian winter, people from coast to coast to coast can’t wait to get out for some good food and good times. The only question is, how can you be sure they’ll visit your restaurant and not the one down the street? By offering irresistible Canada Day restaurant specials, of course.

Leveraging smart Canada Day restaurant marketing tactics will help your venue draw a crowd on the holiday itself and all weekend long. Offering the right specials is a key ingredient in the recipe for success. In this guide to planning and executing your Canada Day restaurant specials, we’ll explore:

  • How to staff your restaurant for Canada Day
  • Which technology to leverage to make the day a success
  • Ideas for decorating your restaurant with festive flair
  • How to plan your Canada Day restaurant marketing
  • 8 Canada Day restaurant specials and promotions to try

Did someone say, “Oh, Canada”?

Canada Day beer garden sign

Preparing Your Restaurant for Canada Day

To make sure your Canada Day restaurant deals put a smile on guests’ faces, it’s crucial to plan for the holiday rush in advance. The last thing you want is for disorganized or slow service to overshadow the festive fun and delicious food. Here are four tips to consider to help you generate big business on Canada Day and wow your customers.

Staffing

Your Canada Day restaurant specials should draw a crowd. You’re also likely to get more takeout orders than normal over the holidays. To deliver top-notch service on this busy weekend, you’ll need enough staff to cover both the front and back of house.

Canada Day is a popular time of year for vacations. If you haven’t already, communicate with your employees about when you’ll be accepting vacation requests – i.e., if you have a cut-off date – and how many requests you’ll be able to accommodate. 

Staffing for success on Canada Day is all about having enough team members, but not too many. You don’t want anyone standing around without a task to complete. Check your POS reports from previous years and evaluate your labor needs in the past so you can make informed staffing decisions for this year.

Technology

In addition to having the right amount of staff scheduled to work Canada Day, you also need the right technology to make the entire long weekend run smoothly. To speed up service, you’ll want a tablet-based mobile POS that servers can bring to guests’ tables to take orders, make upsells, and send orders straight to the kitchen – features that are especially important if you’re also operating a large patio. 

Alongside a mobile POS, it’s also a smart move to have contactless payment terminals. These terminals allow customers to tap their debit card, credit card, or smartphone to pay, minimizing contact with high-touch surfaces.

Some of your customers may want to avoid the crowds altogether and place their orders online, so make sure you have a direct online ordering system set up. This is the best kind of system because it enables customers to order right from your restaurant’s website. You keep 100% of the profits, instead of handing over up to 30% to a third-party app like SkipTheDishes.

Finally, if your restaurant takes reservations, consider using a restaurant reservations system to manage your bookings digitally. This will help you make better use of all of your available tables, which is key on a busy holiday like Canada Day.

Decor

Now that you’ve got the right backup in place for Canada Day, it’s time to get creative. 

Add some festive touches of red and white to your restaurant decor to show your patriotic side. Pick up a few go-to decor items like Canadian flags, balloons, and streamers. Weave the theme into your table settings with red and white napkins, or even a small decoration like a candle or mini flower arrangement. Don’t forget to ask your front-of-house staff to wear red and white, too!

You can even take the red and white concept beyond your restaurant decor and create Canada Day-inspired treats for your guests to savor. Why not try a red velvet cake with vanilla icing as your dessert feature for the weekend, eh?

Marketing and Promotion

What’s the not-so-secret sauce for an enjoyable, profitable Canada Day at your venue? Restaurant marketing ideas, of course. People need to know about what you’re offering before they can decide to kick off their summer fun at your restaurant!

Properly marketing your Canada Day restaurant specials means planning well in advance for any promotions you plan to offer. Throughout the month of June, send a few marketing emails to your list before the big day, create graphics and copy for social media and post them several times (to be sure potential customers don’t miss them), and update your website with all of your Canada Day restaurant deals.

To kick your Canada Day restaurant promotions up a notch, ask your employees to spread the word, invest in digital advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and take a page from the old-school marketing playbook by mailing postcards or flyers to homes in your local area.

Canada Day themed foods like burgers, hot dogs, fries, and ice cream with red and white colors, Canada flags, and maple leafs

8 Ideas for Canada Day Restaurant Specials and Promotions

Make your restaurant the place to be on Canada Day by using these creative promotion ideas as inspiration.

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1. Use Your Patio

After several months of winter, nearly everyone in Canada is eager to spend as much time as possible outside. Make it easy for your customers to do so by hosting your restaurant’s Canada Day events on your patio. This is one of the most effective Canada Day restaurant promotions to draw a crowd of sun-seekers.

Set up an outdoor bar, turn your patio into the best spot in town to watch the Canada Day fireworks, or host a barbecue like Edmonton, Alberta pub Black Dog Freehouse did on its rooftop patio. There are plenty of options – just make sure you don’t crowd the patio with too many guests, which can put a damper on the good times.

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2. Run a Contest

Encourage potential customers to visit your restaurant on Canada Day by running a contest they’ll be itching to win, and promoting it regularly on social media well in advance. People love to get dressed up on Canada Day, so why not offer a prize like a $100 gift card for the most patriotic red and white outfit?

If you prefer food-related restaurant contest ideas, take a page from Alma, Ontario bakery The Right Spot’s book and give away a free treat in exchange for a social media follow. The added bonus here is that this approach will expand your online audience.

3. Cater to Kids

Make sure the whole family can get in on the fun at your restaurant’s Canada Day celebrations. Offer kids a free dessert, or create a special red and white themed menu for them that includes delicious treats like pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream.

Don’t forget about kid-friendly activities, either. If your restaurant has the space for it, set up a table where youngsters can get their faces painted with a sparkly red maple leaf or their favorite animal. If you’d rather keep it simple, Canada Day-themed coloring books are a great option.

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4. Create a Canada Day Menu

Canada Day is the perfect time to shake up your restaurant menu and offer guests something special that’s available on this one day (or weekend) only. The only question is, what should you serve on the big day?

When you think of Canadian food, poutine is often one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s a fitting Canada Day dish for casual restaurants and pubs. However, if your restaurant is more upscale, you may want to take a different approach. Calgary, Alberta-based Cravings Market Restaurant did just that by cooking up a seafood boil featuring ingredients from coast to coast.

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5. Offer a Sweet Deal

What’s better than a long weekend in the summertime? Getting a deal on a long weekend in the summertime! Put a smile on your guests’ faces by offering Canada Day restaurant deals like Earls did with $5 bacon Caesars, available all weekend. 

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6. Entertain Your Guests

Serving up delicious food is just one part of throwing a memorable Canada Day celebration at your restaurant. Entertainment is also a key ingredient in the recipe for a successful event.

Follow the lead of Shenanigans Restaurant & Pub in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland by getting your guests moving and grooving by hosting live music on your patio where they can sip a drink outdoors while they listen to the tunes. Or, try a classic favorite like Canadian-themed karaoke or trivia.

7. Contribute to a Good Cause

Showing your love for a local charitable organization while raising awareness about an important cause is a worthy idea to incorporate into your Canada Day events.

Hudsons, Canada’s Pub did exactly that by raising funds for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund on Canada Day to make a positive contribution toward reconciliation. The restaurant invited guests to donate by purchasing a pint of Tragically Hip Lake Fever beer or adding $2 to their bill. To get more guests in the door, Hudsons also offered all-day happy hour.

8. Partner with a Food Influencer

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCGwlBEp-df/

Working with food influencers is a smart move when it comes to getting the word out about your Canada Day restaurant specials. Do your research on Instagram to figure out who the food influencers are in your local area, then reach out to them or hire an agency to help. It’s essential to do your homework before you team up with an influencer, and ask yourself key questions like:

  • Is the influencer’s brand a good fit with your restaurant and what kind of engagement/following do they have?
  • What information will you provide them with about your restaurant in your pitch?
  • How will you make the experience of working together mutually beneficial (e.g., will you compensate them or be able to provide dishes that photograph well)?

You can what this kind of Canada Day partnership could look like by taking a page from Alvento Winery and influencer Meaghan Peart.

Canada Day is the perfect time to show off your friendly Canadian hospitality and throw the party your guests have been waiting for after lengthy pandemic restrictions. By planning in advance, you can ensure the event is both fun and safe. 

You now have all the information you need to staff your restaurant properly for Canada Day, leverage technology to make the day a success, decorate your venue with festive flair, and promote your restaurant specials with expert-level marketing. You’ve also got ideas for 8 Canada Day specials and promotions to try. Have a happy Canada Day!

Photo of Katherine Pendrill
by Katherine Pendrill

Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.

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