You can maximize repeat business by paying attention to National Food Holidays.
As unbelievable as it may seem, there is a food holiday for every single day on the calendar. Have you celebrated National Nutella Day, National Hot Dog Day, or even National Rice Pudding Day? Some dates even sport more than one food item or sport a food theme, such as National Junk Food Day.
While it's uncertain when the very first food holiday was declared, there's been a plethora of them created, all generated by special interest groups. The strawberry farmers lobbied for Strawberry Day while food manufacturers are mostly responsible for Junk Food Day. Not sure whose idea it was for Greasy Food Day. Although it was probably cooking oil producers.
And as if food days aren't enough, groups can lobby to take over entire weeks or even months. This post is being written on August 5th, National Oyster Day. We also happen to be in National Brownies for Brunch Month and National Sandwich Month.
These are just holidays for the United States. Many other countries celebrate their own cultural foods and produce with food holidays.
For restaurants who can think well in advance, food holidays can make your menu more exciting.
An example is how Sacramento plays up National Hamburger Month in May. Many restaurants will put a feature burger on their menu for the month. De Vere's Pub publicizes a different burger for each week of May. Not only does this add variety, but it encourages repeat customers to come back week after week to try each new offering.
Keeping with the burger theme, National Cheeseburger Day is on September 18th and that is the official date for Sacramento's Burger Battle. A selection of 15 restaurants compete for the titles of Sacramento's Best Burger and the People's Choice Award. The Best Burger winner then moves on to compete at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
You don't have to follow the food holiday calendar. You can always create your own. The Selland Group has a number of restaurants and each month they change the theme for their downtown location, Ella. This month is their Lobster month with special lobster menu items for their lunch, happy hour, and dinner menus. They have created a means to keep that customer coming back - for the lunch specials, then the happy hour items, and finally, dinner. Ella devotees will often return several times a week. Add on their Loyalty Card and you have customers racking up points as well.
So gear up your menu. You still have time to plan a month in advance for that next food holiday. Don't forget the social media campaign to promote it and you'll see those specialty food lovers coming in your door.