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By Katie McCann
On the third Sunday in June, families around across North America will be celebrating Father’s Day.
Dad is king for a day, which means millions of families will be on the hunt for Father’s Day restaurant specials to mark the special occasion.
That’s where your restaurant comes in. Plan the right Father’s Day restaurant specials and your venue could become the spot for not only Father’s Day feasts, but also repeat business on many other days throughout the year.
Are you up for the challenge?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to do this alone. We’ll give you the scoop on how to maximize the holiday – and more! We’ll share:
Let’s give dad a Father’s Day experience to taco ‘bout. (Let the dad jokes begin!)
For restaurants, Father’s Day is a lucrative holiday. You can expect more reservations, more takeout and delivery orders, and larger check sizes.
In fact, prior to the pandemic, restaurants could typically expect a 22% increase in revenue on Father’s Day compared to a regular business day. And even in the thick of COVID-19, restaurants still saw a spike in Father’s Day traffic in 2020 and DoorDash reports that Father’s Day was the seventh busiest holiday of 2020 for delivery orders.
And now, with vaccinations on the rise and looser restrictions in place, Father’s Day 2021 presents a perfect opportunity for your restaurant to go big. Just follow our Father’s Day preparation and marketing tips, and dad will have no eggscuse not to take advantage of your Father’s Day specials.
Knowing that Father’s Day is coming up, you’ll want to ensure that you not only fill the tables but deliver the best experience possible. Plan ahead to keep diners happy and coming back for seconds.
Here’s what you’re going to want to look at to get ready for Father’s Day:
Father’s Day planning begins with your menu. What dining options will you be offering guests? Consider whipping up some Father’s Day specials, like seasonal dishes, a prix fixe menu, or takeout meal kits.
Plan your Father’s Day menu several weeks in advance so you can perfect recipes and ensure you have enough inventory. Check out our 17 Father’s Day restaurant specials below for ideas for how to amp up your menu for the special day.
Once you know what’s on the menu for Father’s Day, it’s time to build your marketing plan around it. Spread the word!
We recommend starting Father’s Day promotions right after you’ve wrapped up your Mother’s Day restaurant promotions. This gives you about a month to create collateral (like graphics and flyers for the campaign), spread the word on social media, and take online restaurant reservations.
If your restaurant doesn’t typically accept reservations, consider making an exception for Father’s Day – especially if you have a lot of Father’s Day restaurant ideas in the works. Reservations will help you forecast your labor needs.
You’ll also want to give your front-of-house staff (especially any new hires) special training in preparation for the holiday. Emphasize hospitality principles to ensure that guests are happy, while also maximizing sales through techniques like upselling and cross-selling.
Does your restaurant have the equipment it needs to handle the Father’s Day rush?
Arming staff with the right tools helps them deliver the best guest experience – whether it’s on-premise or off-premise. Find out what extras you’ll need, whether it’s more silverware or audio equipment for live entertainment.
You’ll also want to check with your POS provider if there are seasonal upgrades available. Big holidays mean things will be moving fast. Ensuring you and your team have enough iPad terminals running to stay on top of orders, inventory, and payments can make or break the guest experience.
You may also want to consider investing in a direct online ordering system like TouchBistro Online Ordering, which helps you handle high volumes of takeout and delivery orders, while allowing you to keep 100% of the profits (unlike third-party apps).
Did you know that 80% of diners will try a new restaurant based on a discount or promotion?
Use this to your advantage to bring in new traffic on Father’s Day. Whether this is your first time offering Father’s Day promotions, or you just want to spice things up, these 17 Father’s Day restaurant ideas are a great place to start.
Take advantage of your Mother’s Day audience and convince them to celebrate Father’s Day with you as well. Offer customers who dine with you on Mother’s Day a discount or freebie – like 10% off or a free round of drinks – when they bring their Mother’s Day receipt with them on Father’s Day.
Alternatively, you could ask customers to sign up for your mailing list when they dine with you on Mother’s Day in order to get a discount on Father’s Day specials. This will help you grow your email marketing list – an excellent tool for promoting repeat visits.
Take advantage of the summer weather by doing something outside for Father’s Day. Fire up the grill, turn your patio into a temporary beer garden, or set up a few cornhole sets.
Don’t have outdoor space? Consider partnering with another business, such as a neighboring brewery, to host a Father’s Day pop-up on their patio. You can increase the number of customers you serve on Father’s Day by keeping your restaurant open while you host your outdoor celebration.
Another way to take advantage of outdoor space is to host a film screening. Play a classic film that dads will love and offer an outdoor diner service or picnic baskets for pre-order.
Dinner may be the most popular meal for dining out on Father’s Day, but there’s no reason why dad can’t indulge in two memorable meals on his special day.
If your restaurant typically serves only lunch and dinner, try offering a brunch special for Father’s Day. Your Father’s Day promotion can include favorites from your classic menu, along with some fun brunch options like omelets, steak and eggs, or French toast.
Summer is baseball season. Even if dad doesn’t know a run from a strike, he’ll appreciate spending time outdoors at the local ballpark with the family.
Partner with your city’s baseball team to offer a bundle (a restaurant gift card and baseball tickets) or discounted game tickets for customers who take advantage of your Father’s Day restaurant deal.
You can also appeal to those who aren’t yet able to attend games in person by creating take-home meal kits that can be enjoyed while watching the game at home.
Don’t miss out on customers who may not feel ready to dine-in, but still want to enjoy the experience of a restaurant-quality meal. Create a special takeout offering and attract customers who are looking for great options to bring home to dad. This can be anything from grill-at-home BBQ kits, to a gourmet takeout dinner.
You can even sweeten the deal with freebies or throwing in a free dessert with a minimum spend.
If you are offering takeout and delivery, ensure you’re able to keep all the profits from your off-premise Father’s Day sales by setting up a direct online ordering system. This will ensure you’re still able to accept any Father’s Day takeout orders, but you’ll avoid paying hefty commission fees to third-party app providers like Uber Eats and DoorDash.
Create a special Father’s Day cocktail for the men who appreciate a good cocktail. If you don’t think whiskey and beer go well together, check out these sophisticated Father’s Day cocktail recipes for inspiration.
Just make sure to check your local liquor laws before you discount drinks to keep your liquor license safe. Some areas restrict selling alcoholic beverages at a discounted price.
Everyone thinks their dad is the best. Now you get to be the judge!
Host a social media contest for Father’s Day and ask your followers to explain why their dad is the best. You can ask them to comment on your restaurant’s post or to upload a photo of dad to Instagram and nominate him by using your contest’s hashtag. Award a prize (free dinner on Father’s Day, a gift card, or something similar) for the dad who gets the most likes. Let the best dad win!
Who doesn’t love freebies?
Another great restaurant contest idea is to give raffle tickets away at the door or enter customers into a draw as they’re seated. Partner with a local business to give away an amazing experience like a round of golf or a beer tasting.
Advertise these giveaways ahead of time so it brings in customers!
Why limit dad when you can give him an all-you-can-eat special.
If your restaurant has offered an all-you-can-eat special before, you’ll need to plan in advance. Stick to one menu item that’s are cost-effective, easy to create, and can be served in big quantities. For example, pasta makes a great all-you-can-eat Father’s Day special.
If a all-you-can eat Father’s Day promotion would be difficult for your restaurant to pull off, consider showing off the best of your menu – plus any Father’s Day specials – with a prix fixe menu. Offer several options per course to please every guest.
With a smaller menu, your back-of-house team can really focus on quality to get first-time customers to come back again, even after your Father’s Day restaurant promotions have ended.
Jazz up Father’s Day with a live band or performance – if you can do so safely, that is. If you don’t already offer live entertainment, this Father’s Day restaurant promotion will make your venue a must-visit for the night.
Make sure dads leave your restaurant with a full belly and memories. Offer a keepsake like a Father’s Day glass or a family photo taken by a professional photographer. A souvenir will preserve sweet memories from Father’s Day and will keep your restaurant top of mind whenever dad sees the memorabilia.
Don’t forget to include Grandpa in your Father’s Day restaurant promotions and your overall marketing efforts. Encourage families to bring multiple generations of dads to their Father’s Day meals. Not only is the gesture sweet, but larger parties also equal larger check sizes.
Who says Father’s Day can only be 24 hours long? Make your Father’s Day restaurant specials a weekend-long celebration. When you start Father’s Day celebrations on Friday or Saturday, you can bring in more holiday revenue when customers are primed to splurge, and you’ll ease day-of crowds.
Dad should be rewarded for choosing to celebrate his special day at your restaurant! Offer dads a free or discounted meal on Father’s Day. To make sure that this Father’s Day promotion increases your profits instead of biting into them, place reasonable restrictions on the deal. Offer one free entree from a pre-selected list and make dad bring several family members with him so that you profit from each table.
What do you give the guy who already has everything? A bundle of goodies from your restaurant!
Package together a gift card and swag from your restaurant – like a glass, cookbook, or t-shirt – and sell them for a discounted price. Start promoting the bundle in your early marketing efforts so gifters can make reservations at the same time.
Father’s Day can be a lucrative holiday for restaurateurs who plan for and promote properly. Make your restaurant the premiere holiday destination in your area by offering Father’s Day restaurant specials that no dad can resist. Align your staff, menu, equipment, and marketing efforts around your Father’s Day restaurant deals to get customers to come back for Father’s Day for years to come.
Katie is a former Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she writes about food and restaurant experiences. She doesn’t shy away from the finer things in life, but no matter how much success she continues to acquire, she stays true to her roots and still considers imitation crab as gourmet. If she isn’t writing, you can find her on a patio with friends and a pitcher of white wine sangria.
By Jackie Prange
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