We all know the American dream: life, liberty, and the pursuit of the best 4th of July celebration.
As the long weekend approaches, Americans across the country are gearing up in the best possible ways – large purchases of beer, fireworks, and flags.
Have you started getting ready at your restaurant?
Luckily, it’s not too late to join in on the festivities! By breaking out some specials at your restaurant, you can make your business the hub for a celebration that spans from coast to coast.
Before we provide you with a list of the best 4th of July specials to try at your restaurant this year, we’ll tell you why this holiday is such a huge business opportunity and what you want to consider before getting ready for, arguably, the biggest birthday of the year.
Put on your party hat! Let’s dive in.
The Red: Why 4th of July Matters to Your Business
Did you know 46.9 million Americans travel over 50 miles from home for the 4th of July weekend?
That’s 46.9 million Americans away from their own kitchen, and a ton of new diners to bring into your restaurant over the long weekend.
Having 4th of July restaurant specials will help you pull in this traffic and – with the right special – stand out among the other options out there.
But, with that many people out in a sea of stars and stripes, how do you get them to come to your restaurant?
We’re glad you asked.
The White: Planning Your Patriotic Promotions
What’s red, white, and blue all over?
Hopefully your restaurant soon!
Let’s go over everything you need to know to get your restaurant ready.
Break out the silly string, balloons, flags, and sparklers – it’s time for a makeover!
Within reason, of course.
While you’ll definitely want to incorporate the stars and stripes into your restaurant for the day, consider your business before going overboard. If you’re a fine dining establishment, chances are diners coming to celebrate with you aren’t looking for streamers falling from everywhere. Look into more subtle ways to create a nod to the holiday, like flower arrangements in America’s favorite colours.
If your restaurant is more casual, look at some more stand-out decor to make a statement. Look at balloons, colored napkins for the day of, or streamers as a place to start. Since 4th of July is such a large holiday, it’ll be fairly easy to find decor inspiration at any major party store.
Do you have enough mobile POS systems for staff to take tableside on the packed patio? What about ensuring you have enough chilled beer mugs for the extra mouths? If you’re expecting a rush of people, you want the tools to handle it! Go through what you want your guest experience on the day-of to be, as a way to gauge your needs.
If you know what you want to deliver, you can work backwards and determine how you deliver that – and the right equipment is a big part of that.
If only it were as easy as scheduling your best staff for your busiest days and calling it a night.
The 4th of July is a major holiday – for your business and for those celebrating. While you want to have your best hands on deck to handle the masses, you also have to consider time off. Chances are, you’ll get a decent amount of requests for this day off.
Set time-off expectations early with your team. Let them know when you’ll be making this schedule and give a black-out date for time-off requests. That way, when you’re building the schedule you know exactly who will be available to work.
You’ll also want to check your POS reports to make sure you aren’t overscheduling staff. By looking back and seeing your labor needs from the year before, you can make a more informed staffing decision – you won’t have too many staff with nothing to do or not enough staff scrambling.
Marketing and Promotions
If you have the best staff on the floor, out-of-this-world decor, and 4th of July restaurant specials that have Lady Liberty herself trying to get a table, but nobody hears about any of it, did you really have a promotion?
You’ve put time and effort into planning these specials, so make sure people know about them! Your restaurant marketing plan should have some marketing tactics you use regularly, but break out some special ads for this holiday.
You’ll want to start advertising at least a few weeks before July 4th. People need time to make plans around coming to your restaurant, of course, so have your promotions ready to share by mid-June.
With so many people – and businesses – pulling out all the stops to celebrate America’s big day, getting traffic through your doors isn’t going to be as easy as throwing some streamers up.
Stumped on where to start for your specials? Here’s the top 10 4th of July restaurant specials to get you started.
Take it Outside
Sixty two percent of Americans will attend a picnic this 4th of July weekend, why not make it yours? If you have access to an outdoor space, make use of it! Bring the picnic feel to your customers. They get to relax while you take care of all the cooking.
Make Some Epic Menu Tweaks
Throw some food specials that scream “USA!” on your menu to celebrate. While hot dogs are one of the most iconic 4th of July foods – with Americans consuming 150 million each Independence Day weekend – consider some other iconic American foods like some delicious mac and cheese. You can even change these classics depending on your restaurant concept.
If you’re a high end, add a high-end truffle mac and cheese for the weekend
If you’re a fast casual, you could do a pulled pork mac and cheese
If you don’t want to add anything new, see if there’s any way to add patriotic colors to existing dishes. Maybe your cheesecake is red, white, and blue this weekend!
Join a Pub Crawl
If there’s a celebratory pub crawl going on, get your restaurant on the list of stops. You can offer drink specials or a signature shot to those participating in the crawl. Give them a discount if they choose to make your restaurant their stop for some eats.
Embrace Your View
Good weather means patio season is already in full swing. But imagine how much of a pull your patio could have if its a perfect viewing spot for one of the amazing firework shows that happen across the country? Look into what firework shows are happening – you may be able to promote your restaurant as the best view in town!
Offer a Signature Cocktail
There’s no limit when it comes to the amount of red, white, and blue you can have at your restaurant. Consider a signature cocktail as part of your 4th of July menu. Let your talented bartenders get creative – have them create a signature drink that captures the holiday!
Add Some Pricing Specials
Offer some dishes for $7.04 (America’s birthday!), or maybe a bucket of beers is $17.76 as homage to the year America was born. This is a fun and easy way to incorporate the 4th of July into your menu.
Red, White, and Brew
A cold beer isn't just a classic for the summer. It’s a must for this celebration. Since Americans spend over $1 billion on beer for this day alone, you’ll definitely want to consider a beer deal as one of your 4th of July restaurant specials.
4th of July Merch
Did you know 27% of Americans will purchase patriotic merchandise for the 4th of July? Why not go for a piece of that pie! If you already have merchandise at your restaurant, see if you can get anything done in the iconic red, white, and blue, and offer it to diners. Start selling early so people can wear your brand for the big day. For people who come to your restaurant and want to buy the day of, offer a special 4th of July deal – they’ll feel great getting a deal and you move through more product!
Bring in Entertainment
Nothing breaks out the patriotic feels like a live band performing “Kids of America” for a full house. See if you can bring in any local entertainment for a special Independence Day performance! You can even have your entertainers perform the best of American music – is a night even complete if people don’t leave your bar with “God Bless the USA” stuck in their head?
Social Media Shoutout
Having some red, white, and blue on your Instagram page is never a bad plan. You can use social media to shoutout your 4th of July specials or just as a nod to the holiday. Hey, why not both?
People will be out in the masses to celebrate the long weekend, and the right 4th of July restaurant specials can bring the masses to you. Use these specials to set you apart from the competition, have your business packed from open to close, and maybe win over some new regulars.
About the AuthorMore Content by Katie McCann