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A Year of Holiday Promotions for Restaurants

January 12, 2021
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Thanks to national food and beverage holidays, there is always a reason to celebrate. Use this calendar as a yearlong reference for how to enliven your grocery, restaurant, bar, healthcare or c-store menu. With this list, you’ll never run out of inspiration. 

Remember, your celebration is only as good as your promotion. Utilize outdoor signage, online social media accounts or e-newsletters to get the word out about your menu specials. To encourage more mobile or takeout orders, offer a special discount in honor of the holiday.

 

January

 

January 1 — Bloody Mary Day

Start the year off right with an epic Bloody Mary recipe. Bacon-infused vodka? Extra spicy tomato sauce? Pickled vegetables instead of celery? The sky’s the limit.

January 13 — Gluten-Free Day

Your wheat-intolerant customers will thank you for adding variety to your menu through zoodles, cauliflower crust pizza, or a hearty, gluten-free lentils and kale soup.

January 20 — Cheese Lover’s Day

You don’t need an excuse to feature an exquisite charcuterie board and cheese plate on your menu, but now you have one. Your diners will love the opportunity to toast over their favorite wine and cheese pairing. 

January 31 — Hot Chocolate Day

Why does coffee get all the credit? Hot chocolate is a sweet pick-me-up for fast-traveling customers. Feature your hot chocolate mix with a special twist like peppermint or large marshmallows to keep the holiday spirit alive.

January 23 — Pie Day

Why wait until March 14 to celebrate Pi day when you can capitalize on this national holiday? Dedicate an end cap to your bakery’s finest selection of whole, half or hand-held pies.

January 15 — Bagel Day

College students run on bagels and schmear. Who has time to sit and eat a hot breakfast? Feature a coffee and bagel special at your dining hall or cafe to show appreciation to this dynamic duo. 

January 28 — Blueberry Pancake Day

Something healthy in something sweet is always a nice compromise for healthcare patients or staff.

 

February

 

February 22 — Margarita Day

If you don’t already have a signature margarita recipe, today is your day. Classic margaritas deserve praise any time of year, but have you considered a strawberry mango margarita for your menu? Or spicy cucumber? Play with the possibilities. 

February 25 — Clam Chowder Day

Chowder is a casual dining staple side dish. Dress it up as a main entree with shaved cheddar and bacon bits or serve traditionally with a slice of hearty, homemade bread. 

February 8 — Drink Wine Day

The only thing better than drinking wine is to drink with friends. Celebrate National Drink Wine with a specialty small plate menu to pair with your signature wine list.

February 9 — National Pizza Day

Customers are flocking to C-stores for grab ‘n go dinners. Serve pizza whole or by the slice or with a drink for a fast and cheap combo meal. 

February 27 — Strawberry Day

Strawberry season is January through November. Showcase this superfruit in your displays or online menus in February on top of angel food cake, inside a strawberry rhubarb pie, freeze-dried as a to-go snack or in savory dishes like strawberry basil chicken or bruschetta. 

February 24 — Tortilla Chip day

Food holidays can raise morale in the workplace. Leverage national Tortilla Chip Day as an opportunity to serve a hearty Mexican feast in the cafeteria. 

February 28 — Chili Day

We love chili for its possibilities. Turkey chili, white bean and chicken chili or traditional ground beef — serve what’s best for your patients or with items you already have on hand. 

 

March

 

March 13 — Ginger Ale Day

Ginger ale is a classic mixer, from rum and ginger to vodka ginger and classic whisky ginger. 

March 31 — Tater Day

Move over french fries and onion rings. Offer tater tots as a crunchy side dish or baked into a hearty tater tot casserole. 

March 19 — Ravioli Day 

Homemade pasta is a canvas for creativity. How will you showcase your artistic flavoring in ravioli dough and filling? 

March 18 — Oatmeal Cookie Day

Today, your doughnuts get a day off. Bring the oatmeal cookie front-and-center as a healthy (ish) bakery option. 

March 1 — PB Lover’s Day

Peanut butter is versatile. It’s a beloved children’s condiment on PB&Js, but also can be used as a butter substitute, smothered over a burger and even blended into hummus. Expand your customer’s horizons on PB Lover’s day. 

March 7 — Cereal Day

Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy. Display your entire cereal collection and give your kitchen a day to rest its ovens. 

March 14 — Potato Chip & Reuben Day

Sometimes, nostalgia is the best medicine. A classic reuben sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, rye bread, and thousand island dressing is a crowd-pleasing comfort food. 

 

April


April 7 – Beer Day

Serve up a classy beer flight or advertise $2 tallboys. Both will draw a crowd!

April 12 — Eggs Benedict Day 

Your menu likely features this breakfast staple. Dress it up with some smoked salmon or make it southern with pulled pork. 

April 27 — Prime Rib Day

You’re the experts on prepping, cooking and serving the perfect prime rib. Today is the day to deliver on your diners’ high expectations. 

April 7 — Burrito Day

Whether you’re feeding emergency workers during COVID or satisfying a truck driver passing through your store, you can do it with a burrito. 

April 4 — Ramen Noodle Day

Will you use this day to feature the low-cost, instant ramen noodle products or authentic ramen preparation? You choose! 

April 12 — Grilled Cheese Day

Another comfort food that you can serve as a classic or with an upscale twist like gouda cheese and hearty sourdough bread. Don’t forget the tomato soup or, if you’re adventurous, chutney.

April 29 — Shrimp Scampi Day

Shrimp scampi is an easy-to-prepare favorite that is packed with protein. Substitute butter for a serving of olive oil to give this recipe a healthier bent. 

 

May

 

May 4 — Orange Juice Day

Craft the perfect orange juice-themed drink menu with bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers and tequila sunrise to name a few. 

May 28 — Hamburger Day

Feature your favorite burger recipe, allow customers to build their own, or make it all about the small plate sliders. 

May 31 — Macaron Day

These delicate, meringue-based cookies are great on their own or on top of cake or apple crisp for an epic desert experience. 

May 5 — Hoagie Day

Stock your to-go cooler with premade hoagie sandwiches to satisfy your on-the-go customer. 

May 13 — Hummus Day

Hummus is an appetizer, afternoon snack or sandwich spread. Display your vast hummus selection next to crackers, in the deli and alongside select produce like carrots, broccoli and grape tomatoes to encourage new sales. 

May 15 — Chocolate Chip Day

Mix them in cookies, banana bread, pancakes or on top of an ice cream sundae to sweeten up your campus foodservice today. 

May 14 — Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Remind your patients and staff of home with warm, buttermilk biscuits, served at breakfast with sausage gravy or during dinner alongside fried or roasted chicken. 

 

June

 

June 10 — Iced Tea Day

Long Island Iced Tea and boozy Arnold Palmers are a perfect summer drink for your bar’s specials. 

June 22 — Onion Rings Day

Add onion rings as a topper on your favorite burger recipe, stack them into a tower to serve as a crunchy appetizer or prepare oven-baked for a low-calorie option.

June 15 — Lobster Day

Lobster is a fine-dining staple. Serve in bisque, sous vide or more traditionally with melted butter and lobster crackers so your guests can get their hands dirty.

June 7 — Doughnut Day

Use your beloved fresh doughnut display to entice pump customers in-store with a doughnut and beverage special. 

June 17 — Eat Your Veggies Day

Showcase vegetables’ infinite range by offering a vegetarian or vegan cooking class (virtual or in-person), hosting a special “Eat Your Veggies” health seminar or by offering free samples of an easy meatless recipe in-store. 

June 18 — Sushi Day

Sushi has become a popular to-go meal for its portability, relatively clean and simple preparation and high-protein nutrition. Feature a sushi special in your grab ‘n go cooler to celebrate this international dish and ease the burden of other kitchen staff like your made-to-order sandwich station. 

June 21 — Smoothie Day

Smoothies combine nutrition, flavor and portability, making it fun for staff and patients alike. Celebrating smoothie day will also benefit those in your care who are on a liquid diet.

 

July

 

July 10 — Piña Colada Day

No matter where you are located, Piña Colada Day will transport your patrons to their favorite tropical destination in the heart of summer.

July 4 — Caesar Salad Day

Legend says chef and restaurateur Caesar Cardini improvised with limited kitchen supplies and invented the salad during a July 4 party in his Tijuana restaurant. Pay homage to this origin story by serving your caesar salad with a twist — whatever you have on-hand.

July 30 — Cheesecake Day

Cheesecake is dessert bliss. Serve as mini, small bites in a dessert sampling tray or as a decadent main attraction. 

July 17 — Hot Dog Day

Load up the rollergrills with hot dogs and offer a range of condiments for hot dog day. Or, serve as a bundle for an easy, family-style meal with chips and a drink.

July 6 — Fried Chicken Day

Many supermarket chains have award-winning fried chicken. Showcase your signature recipe to your drop-in lunch crowd with warm sides or sell as an easy-to-go dinner. 

July 13 — French Fries Day

Experiment with the fry itself by selling sweet potato fries, steak fries, curly fries or seasoned fries. Or, play with the dipping sauce: ketchup, spicy ketchup, garlic aioli, mayo and sriracha or ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.

July 29 — National Lasagna Day

One-pan meals like lasagna are efficient for kitchen staff and satisfying for patrons. Plus, they freeze well with leftovers. 

 

August

 

August 1 — IPA Day

India Pale Ale is often praised for its high alcohol content or criticized for being too bitter. Neither is fully accurate. Use this holiday to educate your newbie IPA audience while satisfying faithful hops lovers. 

August 20 — Bacon Lover’s Day

Not to be confused with Bacon Day, Bacon Lover’s Day is meant to be celebrated with friends, family and fellow bacon fans. Create a group dining special, like two for $10 BLTs or a special on shareable bacon small plates, like bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers or bacon hushpuppies. 

August 5 — Oyster Day

Whether served raw, broiled, chargrilled or added to a warm stew, oysters make a statement and are fun to share. 

August 4 — Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

You know your customer is guilty of impulse food purchases. Create a chocolate chip cookie display near the register, combining fresh baked or pre-packaged options from their favorite brands like Famous Amos or Lenny and Larry’s.

August 3 — Watermelon Day

Watermelon season is a beloved time of year. Sell watermelons 2 for $5 or advertise your best-selling watermelon drink mixers.

August 23 — Cuban Sandwich Day

Cuban bread, yellow mustard, ham, swiss cheese and dill pickle chips bring this grilled sandwich together with your students’ favorite chips and a drink.

August 29 — Chop Suey Day

Chop Suey is a sneaky way to integrate more vegetables into your customers’ diet. Plus, it’s a flavorful way to use up leftover pork tenderloin.

 

September

 

September 28 — Drink Beer Day

Not to be confused with Beer Day, Drink Beer Day celebrates the act of drinking. Advertise this understated holiday online with a special hashtag to spread the word. 

September 12 — Chocolate Milkshake Day

Not much can compete with the trifecta of a burger, fries and a chocolate shake. 

September 15 — Linguine Day

Linguine is traditionally served with pesto, tomato or fish-based sauces. Break the rules or honor tradition on this pasta holiday.

September 5 — Cheese Pizza Day

Sell by the slice or with a drink special to make an easy meal for those traveling through.

September 16 — Guacamole Day

Create an end-cap with avocado, red onion, limes and plum tomatoes with featured chips to encourage shoppers to make this simple, sharable dip. 

September 18 — Cheeseburger Day

Fire up the grills and prep your favorite condiments for this classic favorite. 

September 26 — Pancake Day

Substitute white flour for wheat or buckwheat flour for a healthful spin on this breakfast class. 

 

October 

 

October 4 — Vodka Day

Invite a local distillery to feature their signature vodka on Vodka Day to introduce your customers to a local brand. 

October 4 — Taco Day

Pair your taco menu with a special on margaritas for a festive celebration.

October 1 — Vegetarian Day

Most people associate fine dining with expensive meat and fish. Redefine upscale vegetarian dining on this fall holiday. 

October 27 — American Beer Day

People love reasons to celebrate America. Promote the holiday on your social media accounts to draw customers to your featured domestic selection.

October 22 — National Nut Day

Advertise specials on trial mix or raw nuts. Be sure to place nuts near the salad fixings and in the snack section, as well. 

October 9 — Submarine, Hoagy, Hero and Grinder Day

Today is the day for all-things sandwich. Challenge your kitchen to craft their best sandwich recipes to uplevel your lunch menu.

October 12 — Gumbo Day

Spice up your kitchen with the warm, cajun flavors of gumbo for a hearty, one-pot meal.

 

November

 

November 23 — Espresso Day

Experiment with coffee or espresso-themed drinks like Irish coffee, mocha margarita or the Nutty Irishman. 

November 3 — Sandwich Day

Give your customers options by selling a lunch special of half a sandwich with a half portion of soup or salad with chips or bread and a drink. 

November 30 — Mousse Day

Experiment with sweet and savory mousse recipes, such as parmesan mousse, salmon mousse or classic chocolate mousse. 

November 6 — Nachos Day

Create a build-your-own nacho bar that complies with sanitation requirements to satisfy your patron’s salty cravings. 

November 1 — Vegan Day

Vegan food doesn’t have to be intimidating. Create accessible vegan food displays with taste testing to encourage new customers. 

November 10 — Vanilla Cupcake Day

Add food coloring to the vanilla icing to celebrate your campus colors for this food holiday. 

November 11 — Sundae Day

Create a sundae station with sugar-free chocolate or dairy-alternative ice cream to satisfy your patients’ unique dietary needs.

 

December

 

December 10 — Lager Day

Celebrate this crisp, malty beer for Lager Day with local and national brands. 

December 20 — Fried Shrimp Day

Crispy, fried shrimp is crowd-pleasing with sides of tartar sauce, french fries or hushpuppies. 

December 5 — Comfort Food Day

Serve classic winter comfort food with an upscale twist that is both adventurous and familiar to your diner. 

December 9 — Pastry Day

Partner with a local bakery or retailer to feature their pastries and cross-promote each others’ brands through marketing. 

December 30 — Bacon Day

Prepare a “tips for buying bacon” flyer that distinguishes the different cuts and flavors to educate your customers for this beloved food holiday.

December 4 — Cookie Day

Invite students or employees to submit their favorite cookie recipes and select a winner to feature on this holiday to drum-up excitement and participation on campus. 

December 6 — Gazpacho Day

Gazpacho is a Spanish-styled soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables that is traditionally served cold. It is rich in antioxidants, making it a festive dish to celebrate in your foodservice operation.

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