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 his family will be pulling out all the stops to make him happy.
That’s where you come in. On Father’s Day, it’s your duty to provide dads with epic meals. Succeed, and your restaurant could become the spot for not only Father’s Day feasts but also repeat business on many other days throughout the year.
If not, they probably won’t rush back anytime soon.
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:
- Why Father’s Day is an important holiday for restaurants
- How to plan your Father’s Day service
- 17 ideas for Father’s Day specials for your restaurant
Let’s give Dad a Father’s Day experience to taco ‘bout. (Let the dad jokes begin!)
Don’t Go Bacon Dad’s Heart: Why Father’s Day Is an Important Holiday
For restaurants, Father’s Day is a lucrative holiday. You can expect more reservations and larger check sizes.
In fact, restaurants experience a 22% increase in revenue on Father’s Day compared to a regular business day. Steakhouses, fine dining, Cuban, seafood, and BBQ joints see the highest increase in revenue on Father’s Day.
Does your restaurant fall outside of those categories? Don’t worry – Dad will have no eggscuse not to choose your restaurant when you implement our Father’s Day preparation and marketing tips.
How to Plan for an Un-beet-able Father’s Day
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 some special offers, like seasonal dishes, a prix fixe menu, or a buffet.
Plan your Father’s Day menu several weeks in advance so you can prepare recipes and 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 Mother’s Day (May 12). This gives you about a month to create collateral (like graphics and flyers for the campaign), spread the word on social media, and take reservations.
If your restaurant doesn’t typically accept reservations, consider making an exception for Father’s Day. Reservations will help you forecast your labor needs.
You’ll also want to give your front-of-house staff special training in preparation for the holiday. Emphasize hospitality principles to ensure that guests are happy, even if your restaurant is crowded.
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. 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.
Not Taking Dad Here Would be a Mis-Steak: 17 Ideas for Father’s Day Specials
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 hosting a restaurant special, or you just want to spice things up, these 17 ideas are a great place to start.
1. Piggyback Off Mother’s Day
Take advantage of your Mother’s Day audience and convince them to celebrate Father’s Day with you. Offer customers who dine with you on Mother’s Day a discount or freebie – 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 to get a discount on Father’s Day specials. This will help you grow your email marketing list.
2. Create an Outdoor Dining Experience
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 hosting a Father’s Day pop up at a local park. You can increase the number of customers you serve on Father’s Day by keeping your restaurant open while you host your outdoor celebration.
3. Screen a Film Outdoors
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 buffet or picnic baskets for pre-order.
4. Brunch-atize me, Captain!
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 for Father’s Day. Offer favorites from your classic menu and add in some fun brunch options like omelettes, steak and eggs, or French toast.
5. Play Ball
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 (restaurant gift card and baseball tickets) or discounted game tickets for customers who take advantage of your Father’s Day restaurant deal.
6. Upgrade Your Takeout Game
Don’t miss out on customers who may not want to eat out but want the convenience of a restaurant meal. Create a special takeout offering and attract customers who are looking for great options to bring home to Dad.
With a minimum order, include freebies or throw in a free dessert!
If you want to do this but don’t normally have takeout, make sure your packaging gets the food from door to door in the same state you would serve it in your restaurant.
7. Create a Father’s Day Drink Special
Create a special cocktail for the manliest of men on the manliest day of the year. If you don’t think whiskey and beer go well together, check out these sophisticated Father’s Day cocktail recipes for inspiration.
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.
8. Run a Social Media Contest
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, gift card, or something similar) for the dad who gets the most likes. Let the best dad win!
9. Host a Giveaway
Who doesn’t love freebies?
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!
10. Treat Dad to a Buffet
Why limit Dad when you can give him an all-you-can-eat buffet.
If your restaurant has never hosted a buffet before, you’ll need to plan in advance. Include favorites from your classic menu that are cost effective, and easy to create and serve in bulk.
For a luxury buffet experience, offer a carving station. And don’t forget dessert!
11. Plan a Prix Fixe Menu
If a buffet would be difficult for your restaurant to pull off, consider showing off the best of your menu – plus Father’s Day specials – with a prix fixe menu. Offer several options per course to please every guest.
With a limited menu, your back-of-house team can really focus on quality to get first time customers to come back after Father’s Day.
12. Offer Dinner and a Show
Jazz up Father’s Day with a live band or performance. If you don’t already offer live entertainment, this Father’s Day promotion will make your restaurant a must-visit for the night.
13. Give Dad a Souvenir
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.
14. Don’t Forget Grandpa
Don’t forget to include Grandpa in your 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.
15. Celebrate Dad All Weekend Long
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.
16. Let Dad Eat for Free
Dad should be rewarded for choosing to celebrate his special day at your restaurant! Offer dads a free meal on Father’s Day. To make sure that this 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.
17. Create a Father’s Day Bundle
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 Father’s Day destination in your area by offering specials for the big day. 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.