President’s Day Restaurant Specials and Promotions for 2024
President’s Day is an annual holiday to celebrate George Washington’s birthday and the many presidents that led America after him. So, why should this day matter to you as a restaurateur? President’s Day is often a missed opportunity for small business owners, as many focus on the highly saturated holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. However, this February holiday actually provides a lucrative opportunity for small businesses, specifically restaurants. In fact, running a few President’s Day restaurant specials is the perfect way to take advantage of the post-holiday season, especially since President’s Day is an American holiday historically known for shopping and end-of-season deals.
To help get your creative juices flowing on how to celebrate President’s Day, we’ve come up with 14 restaurant marketing ideas that go beyond President’s Day social media posts.
From crafting the perfectly themed menu to cross-promoting with a local business, you’re sure to find something you want to incorporate into your President’s Day restaurant specials for 2024. Let’s get to it!
1. Host a Trivia Night
Hosting a trivia night, specifically a themed one, can be a great way to attract people to dine-in and boost your restaurant sales this President’s Day. Spend some time creating a set of questions tailored to American history and the past U.S. presidents. An evening filled with food, drinks, and friends, paired with a little bit of friendly competition, can serve as the perfect ingredients to ensure your guests choose your restaurant as their holiday destination.
2. U.S. Presidents-Themed Drinks
Speaking of drinks, a President’s Day celebration is not complete without a special drink menu. To craft the perfect themed drinks menu, consider drawing inspiration from past U.S. presidents’ favorite alcoholic beverages. Did you know that George Washington’s go-to was a dark English-style beer? If this is a beer you already serve at your restaurant, you can highlight it as your featured beverage for the long-weekend.
It’s also important to remember to include non-alcoholic beverages for guests who are underaged or non-drinkers, so they feel included in all the festivities. And, to stay on theme, you can also consider incorporating a fun drink with red, blue, and white colors to match the American flag.
3. Create a President’s Day Themed Food Menu
What are festive drinks without themed President’s Day food to pair with them? Take this opportunity to get creative with your back of house staff to create some special President’s Day food for your menu.
Does your restaurant serve breakfast or brunch? This could also be the perfect chance to serve Southern Hoe Cakes (Johnny Cakes), made with corn meal or fresh fruit, specifically melons – some of Washington’s absolute favorites!
4. Red, White, and Blue Restaurant Decorations
Once you nail your President’s Day food specials, it’s time to spruce up your restaurant’s atmosphere with red, white, and blue decorations. Incorporate these colors into your table settings, including the napkins and centerpieces. Perhaps you can even hang an American flag or two!
5. Encourage Staff Members and Diners to Dress Up
If it matches the atmosphere and vibe of your restaurant, encourage your staff to have fun and dress up for the President’s Day long-weekend festivities by wearing red, blue, and white. And if your restaurant’s uniform already incorporates those colors, staff can accessorize with some Lincoln-style hats. You can also encourage guests to join in on the fun and dress up as well. As an incentive to participate, offer a free dessert on the house or a discount off their next visit.
Don’t miss the opportunity to take photos with your guests (with their permission) and share those photos on your social media. With social media conversations around President’s Day on the rise, this is a great way to create buzz around this holiday for your restaurant.
Social media conversations around President’s Day have grown 50.79% over the past year and, according to BrandMentions, in mid-January the hashtag #presidentsday already has 896 interactions online based on one week alone. A great way to be a part of this conversation and encourage engagement on social media is to host a contest. Share a President’s Day social media post describing the contest details, including asking participants to use a specific hashtag and tagging your restaurant’s handle.
For example, one restaurant Instagram marketing contest idea could be your audience sharing a photo of their home-cooked dish featuring apples (one of the fastest growing ingredients for President’s Day), for a chance to win a free meal for two.
7. Host a Giveaway
To keep the President’s Day social media posts going, you can host a giveaway for your followers, asking those who want to participate to like your post, follow your account, comment on the post, and share your post. By keeping the rules simple and easy, you can boost participation and ultimately increase engagement simply by having your followers interact with your President’s Day social media post.
Remember to make the prize enticing enough that your followers will want to enter for a chance to win, such as a $100 gift card to your restaurant or a free dinner for two.
8. Americana-Themed Live Music
Kick up the President’s Day long-weekend festivities a notch by playing themed music. If you’re pausing and asking yourself what qualifies as President’s Day themed music? Pro tip: check out this Amazon music playlist. And, if your restaurant venue has the capacity to host live music or even an Americana Karaoke night, even better.
9. Create Kid-Friendly Activities
Create kid-friendly activities geared towards President’s Day, so that your younger guests can join in on the fun. This will definitely be worthwhile, especially if you manage a kid-friendly restaurant and want to encourage families to stop by your restaurant throughout the long-weekend. You can have pictures to color, crosswords to do, and perhaps host a fun dress-up contest just for kids – all while the parents enjoy your delicious food and drinks.
10. Share Discounts Early
Share any promotions your restaurant has for President’s Day early, with plenty of notice, so people can plan accordingly and choose to celebrate President’s Day at your restaurant. This is especially important with Valentine’s Day restaurant promotions running just a week prior, so use this close timing as the perfect opportunity to share any President’s Day promotions early with your guests. For customers who dine-in with you on Valentine’s Day, encourage repeat business the following week by sharing with them a discount they can use on President’s Day long-weekend.
11. Offer a Limited-Time-Only President’s Day Takeout Bundle
Many people may prefer to enjoy their extra day off at home, especially given that this holiday takes place in February – a relatively colder month. To help you capture that audience and boost your sales, instead of drawing them to dine-in at your restaurant, you can offer a limited-time-only President’s Day takeout bundle.
Try and offer at least a few options, so you’re able to cater to those celebrating alone or with a larger group of friends and family. Looking for ideas on what to include? Mix up the bundles to include various President’s Day-themed items off your special menu. It can also be worthwhile to consider adding in your more aesthetically pleasing food items, so customers will be more inclined to share photos and videos of their meals online.
For example, if you’re able to partner with a local brewery, you can offer a coupon to redeem a free 6 pack of beer to tables that spend $50 or more at your restaurant throughout the President’s Day weekend. The local brewery can also cross-promote your restaurant and let their customers know about the deal. Another marketing promotion idea can be partnering with a local kitchen supply store and for every delivery order made over the weekend, customers will be entered to win a free cookware set.
Partnering with a local business, especially one with a similar target audience, can be added fuel for boosting sales over the holiday weekend.
13. Take Advantage of Email Marketing
A happy President’s Day social media post can be sufficient for acknowledging the day. However, to take it a step further, you can also craft a restaurant newsletter highlighting all the exciting promotions your restaurant has coming up and send it to your email mailing list.
Email marketing is also a great tactic to inform people about your President’s Day promotions, such as a sneak peek at your food and drink menu, which can help entice people to plan a visit to your restaurant. Or better yet, start accepting reservations days in advance if your restaurant is equipped with an online booking platform. As a restaurant owner or manager, keeping track of these reservations will help you know how many people to expect and to staff your restaurant accordingly.
Holidays are typically a time spent giving back. Consider asking customers to donate money to a chosen charity at the end of their meal, and your restaurant will match whatever the donation is. You can also dedicate a portion of the proceeds from every item on your President’s Day menu to be donated to the local charity of your choosing.
Now that you’re equipped with 14 of these creative President’s Day restaurant specials, you can hit the ground running. Embrace the American flag colors, get creative with your food menu, and most importantly, have fun! And don’t forget to share a happy President’s Day social media post!
Megan is the Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro, where she uses her passion for food to write about the restaurant industry. She’s a big “foodie” at heart, and you can always find her enjoying a delicious meal at a restaurant with friends and family, or cooking one up at home. She also loves relaxing with a good book and making progress at the gym.