Everyone knows the big holidays: Christmas, Halloween, New Year’s and Fourth of July. Chances are your bar or restaurant has certain gimmicks around those days to entice your customers to both come into your location and make purchases. Those holiday promotions are a great way to cash in on the festivities, but it does not really differentiate your location from your competitors down the street. Practically every bar or restaurant will have some sort of special holiday tradition for the major celebrations, but what if you could create your own?
Every year in March, C&S Chowder House in Roswell, Georgia, makes sure to celebrate National Clam Day. They offer food and drink specials, put up cool decorations, and hire a DJ to honor the not-so-historic holiday. Owner Rich Clark estimates that on National Clam Day, revenue goes up by at least 50% and drink sales go up by at least 20%. On what could be just another day in March for C&S Chowder House, a tradition has been born — one that has proven to be very successful over the course of the five years since it began. In an article on barandrestaurant.com, Arlene Speigal, a restaurant consultant in New York City, is quoted as saying “... the restaurant or bar who celebrates unknown and uncelebrated holidays and events has the field to themselves.” By celebrating holidays in your venue that your customers may not have ever heard of, you create an experience for them and your staff that gives you a needed competitive advantage in an oversaturated market.
So how do you go about implementing an obscure holiday celebration into your business? It starts with commitment to the event: update your menu, utilize on-theme decorations, create cool promotional draws, etc. Do your best to make your unknown holiday a real experience for your customers. For example, on the first Saturday in September, you could celebrate World Beard Day. For World Beard Day, you could offer half-off drink specials to anyone with a beard or do a judging contest where whoever has the best beard gets a $100 gift card. On December 17, your location could honor Ugly Sweater Day where you could do food and drink specials for everyone wearing an ugly sweater and have all your staff dress on theme as well. You could celebrate Cinco de Marcho on March 5 with a mariachi band, along with special Hispanic food and drink. The possibilities are truly endless. It all comes down to the commitment you are willing to put in to make sure your events will be successful and hopefully a new tradition. Do your best to really make a unique holiday your own.
Promoting your obscure holiday is key. As with any event at your bar or restaurant, marketing effectively will be vital for your success. Posters, banners, social media posts, local media and positive word of mouth are absolutely essential in order to inform your potential customers about your special holiday plans. Again, it is necessary to really commit to your unknown holiday — both before the event and during — in order to achieve the desired outcome. However, should you promote and create the event in a way that helps make the holiday more than an event but rather a true tradition, you will achieve a competitive advantage over your competitors, while also dramatically increasing your profits on what could just be a regular day at your restaurant or bar.
Following are links to websites where you can see the wide variety of unique and unrecognized holidays to help you pick the one you would like to implement in your restaurant or bar: