Providing Father's Day deals at restaurants are a great way to draw in the crowds. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spend about $20 billion on the holiday each year and about 76% of U.S. adults plan to celebrate in 2022. To create a successful program, your promotion ideas should work for both you and your guests. Here are 10 ideas to get you started on crafting the perfect promotions and deals that will help drive Father’s Day traffic:
1. Offer a special Father's Day-only menu
Creating a special dish, prix-fixe option or full menu is a perfect fit for Father's Day. A special dad-centric menu helps to create excitement around coming into your restaurant to celebrate and makes those who do come in feel special and appreciated. Be sure to craft your Father's Day deals at your restaurant in a way that works for your kitchen and staffing level. A prix-fixe menu for high volume days can help you keep food costs down and the kitchen running smooth.
2. Develop drinks or offer specials that appeal to dads
Even if you don't mix up your food menu, you can still do something around drinks to honor dads. Whether it's simply renaming a bar classic or offering a discount off beer pints to all the papas in the house, there are plenty of ways to give dads a boost on your Father's Day drink menu. While whiskey and beer are traditional go-to's, don't forget about dads who don't drink (a craft-brewed root beer in a cold mug or an alcohol-free Moscow mule, perhaps?).
3. Create a special takeout or home catering menu.
If you have the staff to back it up, offer special takeout options for Father's Day. Not everyone wants a sit-down restaurant experience, and offering takeout options—from your regular to-go menu to picnic-style fixings to a cook-at-home meal plan can help you capture customers who otherwise don't want to, or can't, come into your restaurant on Father's Day.
4. Give dads a small, gratis parting gift
Maybe you offer every dad a small jar of your restaurant's signature barbecue sauce or extra spicy mustard. Or, perhaps you pass out branded swag items to the dads at every table. Some restaurants choose to give dad a dessert on the house at the end of the meal or hand him a small box of chocolates or other treats as he leaves. An unexpected but thoughtful parting gift can create a great experience for the customer that'll have the whole family coming back again soon.
5. Pull together additional paid gift items
Buying gifts for dads isn’t always easy (would you like a tie to go with those new barbecue tongs?). If your restaurant has merchandise for sale, wrap it up in a dude-centric way. You might put together a package of a branded T-shirt, ball cap and a $25 gift card that you offer every reservation at a discounted rate when booking.
6. Make sure the day is family-friendly.
Dads will have a better time when everyone in their party has fun. Expect lots of young kids on Father's Day, so it's not the time to run out of high chairs, crayon boxes or stickers. Plan ahead to make sure you’ve got enough for all the kids visiting your restaurant too. And make sure the menu works for everyone, with enough children's options and perhaps some smaller portion options for the grandparents in the group. Speaking of grandpas — they're dads too. Make sure you draw a wide net in the dads you appeal to, from step-dads to adoptive dads to papas to father figures.
7. Add an event for fun and extra draw.
There are all sorts of ways to add pizzazz to a Father's Day brunch, lunch or dinner. You might do something more complicated like booking a musical guest or adding a whiskey or beer tasting. Your Father's Day promotion ideas can also be as simple as putting out card decks or board games for families to play while they eat and introducing cornhole or giant Jenga to your back patio area.
8. Take reservations.
If your restaurant doesn't usually accept reservations, you might amend that policy for the holiday by accepting a limited amount of reservations to ensure that the dads and families that show up are well taken care of. Also, be sure all of your systems, from reservations to your hand-held point of sale devices, are up to snuff to handle the larger-than-average crowd you may see on the big day.
9. Promote your deals
You'll want to put all your marketing ideas into all your usual promotional channels, including your social media, website, newsletters, flyers, window signs and in-restaurant promotional materials like tabletop displays. If you can piggyback on other nearby businesses' Father's Day promotions, that can help. Get name-dropped in the florist's social media account or ask for your Father's Day deals to be included in the email promotion of the nearby brewery, for example. And while starting earlier is better, a week is a lifetime on the internet, so even a few days' promotion to the procrastinators in your following can help.
10. Make it a Father's Day weekend or full-week special
Sure, Father's Day is officially celebrated on Sunday, but why not expand your restaurant's special offers to the entire weekend—or even the whole week. You'll allow more people to take advantage of the special food and drink deals you've cooked up (and save money since you can streamline ingredients purchases and batch prep). Bonus: If families come on Monday and love what you've done with the menu or drink specials, they'll talk the restaurant up to their friends. You'll be able to take advantage of the word of mouth for this year, and not just next.
No matter which Father's Day promotion ideas for restaurants you choose for your business, keep the day fun for both staff and patrons. It is a celebration, after all.