Pride Month Restaurant Promotions & Marketing Ideas for 2023
This June marks Pride Month 2023! Show your restaurant’s support for the LGBTQ+ community in a meaningful way with 10 Pride Month restaurant marketing ideas that walk the talk when it comes to allyship.
In this article on Pride Month at restaurants, we’ll cover:
Why restaurants should celebrate Pride Month, and how to do so with care
10 Pride Month menu and marketing ideas to try at your restaurant
A range of Pride Month promotion examples to give you real-world inspiration
Why Restaurants Should Celebrate Pride Month
You work hard to serve up rave-worthy eats, but there’s more to a great restaurant than delicious food. Showing your customers what your brand is all about, including what your values are, is just as important to creating a restaurant community where everyone feels at home.
Running Pride Month restaurant marketing initiatives lets both your customers and staff know that your restaurant is a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community – it signals that you value inclusivity. However, you’ve got to walk the talk. Your Pride Month promotions should contribute meaningful support to the community, either financially or by helping to amplify LGBTQ+ voices.
Restaurant Pride campaigns can help drive tangible progress toward creating a more equitable world by raising money for non-profits that actively support the LGBTQ+ community. For example, you could donate part of your proceeds from Pride Month sales to an organization like GLAAD, the GSA Network, or the Family Equality Council.
Of course, you can also get creative with your Pride Month promotions and put your brand’s unique spin on them! Let’s dive into how to do exactly that.
10 Pride Month Restaurant Promotion Ideas for 2023
The key to making restaurant marketing ideas work for you is to keep your customers at the forefront of your mind when considering which Pride Month promotions to run. And, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Select two or three ideas that seem like the best fit for your restaurant and guests, and bring them to life in a thoughtful way.
Here are 10 actionable promotion ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Create a Special Pride Month Menu Item
Have fun with this idea! You could whip up a rainbow-hued drink to serve all month long, like Shake Shack did with its Pride Shake, or serve up a sweet and colorful dish on your dessert menu, like Moon Mist ice cream – a favorite flavor on Canada’s East Coast.
Or, take your menu in another direction entirely and create a dish inspired by a legendary LGBTQ icon like entertainer RuPaul Charles, poet Audre Lorde, or activist and politician Harvey Milk.
Want to do this in a way that also gives back? Famous for its cupcakes, New York City’s Magnolia Bakery created a Pride Pudding and donated 10% of all Pride Pudding sales to The Trevor Project, a non-profit that provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ+ youth.
2. Host a Drag Brunch
You can wait until happy hour to get the party started, or you can kick the festivities into high gear right away by hiring your city’s most fabulous local queens to put on an epic drag brunch. With singing, dancing, comedy, and more, this art form offers something for all of your guests while celebrating the LGBTQ+ community!
Your restaurant doesn’t even have to be a full-service venue to make this idea your own. Fast-casual joints can take a page from Taco Bell’s book and host a drag brunch like this one in Nashville, which was held in support of the It Gets Better Project to help LGBTQ+ youth prepare for the workforce.
You could also invite drag queens in your community to pick their favorite dish on your menu and donate $1 from the sale of each dish to the queen’s charity of choice, like Chipotle did as part of their Chipotle Queen of Pride event.
3. Partner with Local Influencers
Influencer marketing is a way of getting the word out about your restaurant by teaming up with people who have a large (1,000+) and engaged community of followers online, like social media influencers or bloggers. Considering that 72% of Millennial and Gen Z consumers follow influencers online, this kind of marketing is a smart move for your restaurant. In fact, businesses generate an average of $6.50 in revenue for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing.
For your Pride Month restaurant promotions, you could partner with local LGBTQ+ influencers to show that your restaurant is a safe and welcoming place. Here’s an example of how Vancouver, B.C. influencers @foodgays partnered with BCLIQUOR to promote a cocktail by filming a video of the duo mixing up the drink.
A word of advice from the experts? “Partnering with LGBTQIA+ influencers is essential year-round, not just during Pride,” states influencer marketing platform GRIN. “Be sure to offer them as much creative freedom as possible in their brand promotions, as they are the experts on what their audiences like to see and hear.”
4. Raise Money for an LGBTQ+ Charity
Restaurant Pride campaigns can have charitable aspects in a variety of ways (like the examples we’ve already shared), but if you want to go big, host a special event like a live music night or Pride Month trivia and donate a portion of your sales to an LGBTQ+ charity. Or, team up with other restaurants in your local area to make an even larger impact.
More than 80 restaurants and bars in Alberta, Canada did exactly that as part of the fifth annual Shake, Stir & Strainbow! campaign – a fundraising initiative for the Skipping Stone Foundation, which delivers programming and support for gender-diverse and trans youth across Alberta.
5. Create Pride-Themed Merch
If your restaurant already sells merch, consider creating a special Pride Month collection. The best way to do this is to seek out an LGBTQ+ creator like a clothing designer or graphic artist to help you design the collection.
For example, Dunkin’ created Pride-themed digital gift cards, a Pride tumbler, and other merch to support six LGBTQ+ organizations across the United States through the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation.
6. Run a Pride Month Contest on Social Media
Social media contests are an excellent way to get your audience engaged in recognizing Pride Month. Running an Instagram contest specifically can also help your restaurant increase your followers on the platform 70% faster in 90 days than not running a contest would.
Stumped on what kind of contest to run? Try a Pride flag contest on Instagram. Ask your audience to snap a photo of themselves holding a Pride flag (bonus points for extra artsy creations like homemade Pride flags), and follow and tag your restaurant for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Make the contest even more meaningful by offering to donate $100 to the winner’s LGBTQ+ charity of choice in their name.
7. Give Your Packaging a Pride Month Makeover
As part of your Pride Month restaurant marketing, freshen up your takeout packaging. This can be as easy as using rainbow stickers to seal your containers! Or, you can get extra fancy and create an entirely new line of packaging to use for Pride Month every year.
Tank Garage Winery worked with artist Hizze Fletcher-King to “zhuzh up” their packaging (as Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye would say). Fletcher-King created a “queercore” label for the winery’s special “Love & Pride,” a 2018 California white wine.
8. Offer a Pride Month Deal to Your Loyalty Program Members
If your restaurant has a rewards program, your members should get first dibs on all of your Pride Month promotions! An easy way to make this happen is by throwing a special pre-Pride party for everyone who belongs to your loyalty program.
You can host the event in the week or weekend before Pride Month starts. Let all of your guests try your new Pride Month menu items or have access to your Pride merch before it becomes available to the public. Then, donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to an organization in your local area that supports the LGBTQ+ community.
For team members who opt to participate, this can show them you care about amplifying their voices and celebrating diversity in your workplace. Give them the creative freedom to speak about their experience however they feel most comfortable, whether it includes sharing their experience of working at your restaurant or an entirely different story they may have to tell as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Here’s an example of a personal story that Third Culture Bakery, a queer-owned bakery in Colorado and California, shared on their Instagram for Pride Month.
Updating your website and social media channels with Pride Month imagery and graphics is a simple way to indicate to visitors that your restaurant is a safe and welcoming Pride Month destination. As always, be sure you’re backing up the gesture in a real way with financial support to LGBTQ+ organizations that are working to drive positive change.
You now have 10 creative ideas for recognizing, celebrating, and most importantly supporting Pride Month at restaurants in a meaningful way. We can’t wait to see what you cook up. Happy Pride!
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.