Why your independent restaurant should be promoting national food days

Oct 6, 2023

We all know the importance of promoting holidays, sports events and long weekend specials to drive traffic to your food service establishment—after all, you want your independent restaurant to be the place your community gathers with family and friends. But there’s another opportunity that sometimes gets overlooked—national food days. Today, we’re going to talk about what these days are, why you should have them on your calendar and how to make the most of them. For personalized advice from our team of experts, please contact us. Your local Morton rep would be glad to help!

What are national food days?

A national day is an annual day of significance. Some are formally recognized, like holidays, and others are regional or celebrated by smaller groups. An example of the latter would be National Hot Dog Day or National Sushi Day. While you won’t see these events celebrated widely, they do exist—in fact, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of them every year! Here’s a good resource—or, just use Google to search “national [menu item] day” to find out if specific foods on your menu are celebrated annually.

Why you should be promoting these events

National Shrimp Day may not be a date you remember offhand, but it’s a great opportunity for your restaurant to create an interesting, engaging promotion around that food item. You can develop special menu items or work with existing dishes—the idea is to highlight the food you’re celebrating and encourage customers to order it. Celebrating these days also makes for great social media content and consumer engagement. Here are a few more reasons to pay attention to these opportunities:

  • Increased Foot Traffic and Sales: National food days attract attention and create excitement among customers. By offering special dishes or discounts related to the featured food, restaurants can entice more people to visit, resulting in increased foot traffic and sales during what might otherwise be slower periods.
  • New Customer Acquisition: Promoting food days can attract new customers who are interested in trying the highlighted food. People may be more likely to visit a restaurant they’ve never been to before if they see enticing promotions related to a food they enjoy.
  • Menu Innovation: National food days inspire creativity in the kitchen. Chefs can experiment with unique dishes, flavors, and presentations that showcase their skills and set the restaurant apart from competitors. Innovative menus attract curious diners who are eager to try something new.
  • Customer Loyalty and Repeat Business: Offering promotions during food days can create a sense of exclusivity for regular customers, encouraging them to return and take advantage of the special offers. This builds loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat business.
  • Local and Community Engagement: Participating in national food days provides an opportunity for restaurants to connect with their local community. Hosting events, workshops, or tastings related to the highlighted food can foster a sense of community and loyalty.
  • Cross-Promotion Opportunities: Collaborating with local suppliers, food producers, or nearby businesses can lead to cross-promotion. For example, a restaurant could partner with a local brewery for a beer and burger pairing event during National Burger Week.
  • Media Coverage and Publicity: Restaurants that actively promote national food days may attract the attention of local media, leading to coverage in newspapers, TV segments, and online publications. This exposure can significantly enhance a restaurant’s visibility.
  • Boost in Online Reviews and Ratings: Positive experiences during food days can lead to an influx of positive online reviews and ratings, impacting a restaurant’s online reputation and encouraging more people to visit.
  • Foster Brand Personality: Participating in and promoting food days shows that a restaurant is up-to-date with trends, fun-loving, and engaged with its customers’ interests. This can help shape a restaurant’s brand personality and attract like-minded patrons.

National food days allow you to offer menu items that are slightly outside of your usual wheelhouse, which lets you test new items while gauging customer interest and response. If the response is good, you may be able to diversify your revenue by adding more of these items (or simply introducing more one-off promotions of different foods). 

By capitalizing on national food days, independent restaurants can create memorable dining experiences, establish themselves as active and exciting local venues, and ultimately drive business growth. We’ve made a list of national food days that might be a good fit for your establishment—if you’d like to brainstorm additional ideas with our team, please let us know. Thanks for reading and please share this information with any colleagues, friends or community members who may find it useful!

National food days to put on your calendar

National Pizza Day (February)
Promotional ideas: Special pizza flavours, buy-one-get-one deals, create-your-own pizza events, pizza-making contests.

National Burger Day (May 28)
Promotional ideas: Unique burger creations, special grinds, limited edition burgers, burger-themed trivia contest, loyalty card rewards.

National French Fry Day (July)
Promotional ideas: We’ve got lots—please read our blog!

National Seafood Month (October)
Promotional ideas: Seafood buffets, seafood cooking classes, seafood-themed happy hours, seafood dinner specials.

National Taco Day (October 4)
Promotional ideas: Taco sampling platters, build-your-own taco nights, special hot sauce offerings, chef-inspired taco and margarita pairings.

National Sandwich Day (November 3)
Promotional ideas: Sandwich loyalty cards, limited edition sandwich options, create-your-own sandwich contests, sandwich-themed photo contests.

National Chicken Wing Day (July 29)
Promotional ideas: Limited edition sauces, chicken wing flights, all-you-can-eat wing specials, wing and beer pairings.