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After all the bottles of champagne have been popped and the ball has dropped in New York City, many American spend New Year’s Day recovering from the year before and preparing for the year ahead. Nothing pairs better with a day of recovery than good grub, and that’s why New Year’s Day is one of the most popular takeout and delivery holidays of the year. But it doesn’t stop there – there are 17 more January food holidays so your restaurant can keep the celebration going all month long.

Food holidays are micro holidays that center around a certain cuisine. They are often celebrated on social media and encourage diners to band together to show appreciation for everything from swiss cheese (Jan 2) to green juice (Jan 26). As a restaurant owner, a food holiday is the perfect excuse to offer an irresistible promotion that will encourage diners to place an order.

What food holiday promotions should your restaurant run?

Nothing encourages a customer to place an order more than a deal. Whether you are offering a cocktail discount on New Years Eve or a free bagel on National Bagel Day (Jan 15), your diners will appreciate getting more bang for their buck. Promotions are central to national food holiday celebrations and what will get your diners excited about what you’re cooking.

Some offers you run to promote food holidays include:

  • Free item with purchase. Promote a free slice of cake on National Chocolate Cake Day (Jan 27).
  • Discounted items. Offer 20% off a bowl of spaghetti on National Spaghetti Day (Jan 4).
  • Discount themed ingredients. Take half off any menu item with cheese on National Cheese Lovers Day (Jan 20).
  • Discount dollar amounts. Run a promo for $5 off pancakes on orders of $25 or more on National Blueberry Pancake Day (Jan 28).

No matter what promotion you run, building excitement around a specific menu dish can give diners an extra reason to order from your restaurant. 

Three online channels to promote food holidays

Once you select the promotion that fits your cuisine, the next step is to get the word out. If you serve the best hot pastrami sandwich but don’t boast about it online, you won’t have any eager customers ready to sink their teeth into your creation on National Pastrami Sandwich Day (Jan 12).

According to Upserve, 90% of diners research a restaurant online before dining, and 57% of those guests view the restaurant’s website before deciding where to eat. The majority of diners will give your restaurant a quick Google Search before dining. If you don’t have a website or social media account that shows off your restaurant, you may miss out on capturing curious customers. 

Before you dive into food holiday celebrations, it’s important to double check your restaurant’s online strategy to make sure customers can find you virtually. Once your strategy is in line, you should go ahead and share your promotions on these three channels:

1. Showcase your restaurant’s website

Your restaurant’s website should be the go-to spot to learn everything about your restaurant from your menu and hours to your deals and promotions and everything in between. Highlighting food holiday promotions on your website will let diners know you’re celebrating. You can create website pop-ups or event banners centered around a specific food holiday to make sure your customers can’t pass up the deal. Create an events calendar on your website with information on special deals and events to let your customers plan ahead.

No matter what you feature on your restaurant website, it’s essential that you feature an avenue for customers to place orders online. Don’t have an online ordering platform? When you partner with Grubhub you gain access to Direct, a custom branded online ordering site for your restaurant. With Direct, you can drive commission-free orders directly to your restaurant without a middle man. Integrating Direct into your restaurant’s website is easy, allowing you to build a branded ordering experience for your diners.

Once your website is up and running, you want to make sure it’s searchable. When potential diners search a restaurant on Google, their Business Profile is usually the first thing to pop up. Claim your restaurant’s Google Business Profile so that you can make sure it correctly displays your hours, address, pricing and website link. When your Business Profile features the correct info and links, it’s far more likely a customer will place an order or come in to check you out.

2. Engage with diners on social media

We’ve all been there – you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed when you come across a delectable photo of a cheesy mac and cheese that makes your mouth water and all you want is to chow down on the dish in the photo. Showcasing your enticing food photography on social media can have the power to get a customer to place an order.

Social platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook offer an easy way to build buzz for your food holiday promotions, reach customers and promote your brand. They also provide a great avenue to build loyalty amongst your customers. Fostering active social media accounts will allow your brand to stay fresh in diners’ minds.

Looking for some tips to make your restaurant pop on social media? Try these ideas:

  • Showcase your dishes by posting delectable photos and videos of them on national food holidays.
  • Use trending hashtags like #NationalBeanDay or #NationalTempuraDay to reach a larger audience beyond your social media followers.
  • Use local hashtags like #BostonFoodie or #NYCeats to connect with customers nearby.
  • Create a quiz about your dishes to boost engagement with your national food holiday promotions.
  • Launch a contest with prizes that relate to your restaurant and tie in with your national food holiday promotion.

Want more advice on how to create a stand out social media presence? Take a look at these tips to grow your online presence.

3. Use a third-party delivery service to expand your reach

As the colder weather sets in and the days get darker, more diners will be looking to cozy up inside and opt for delivery to get their next meal. As an independent restaurant, it can be hard to reach all these customers organically. That’s why over 300,000 restaurants are turning to online marketplaces like Grubhub to reach hungry virtual customers. Featuring your restaurant on marketplaces while promoting food holiday discounts can help your restaurant stand out.

Listing your restaurant on an online marketplace like Grubhub gives you instant access to new customers. Platforms like Grubhub make online ordering easy for customers, and our Grubhub Guarantee helps to make sure your diners are satisfied so that they’ll come back for a second helping.

With Grubhub, you can run targeted promotions around food holidays. Try running promotions that offer a price or percentage off or target a certain segment of your customers. You can also implement Smart Promotions and loyalty tools to leverage customer data and increase your ROI.

January food holidays:

  • Jan 1: New Year’s Day
  • Jan 2: National Swiss Cheese Day
  • Jan 4: National Spaghetti Day
  • Jan 6: National Bean Day
  • Jan 7: National Tempura Day
  • Jan 12: National Curried Chicken Day
  • Jan 14: National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day
  • Jan 15: National Bagel Day
  • Jan 19: National Popcorn Day
  • Jan 20: National Cheese Lovers Day
  • Jan 21: National Hot Sauce Day
  • Jan 23: National Pie Day
  • Jan 24: National Peanut Butter Day
  • Jan 26: National Green Juice Day
  • Jan 27: National Chocolate Cake Day
  • Jan 28: National Blueberry Pancake Day
  • Jan 30: National Croissant Day
  • Jan 31: National Hot Chocolate Day