Sign up for restaurant insights

Memorial Day signifies that summer is just around the corner, which means customers are in the mood to celebrate. If you’re looking to boost holiday foot traffic at your restaurant, a special menu can help — it allows guests to enjoy delicious, festive meals without the need to cook. From juicy burgers and pasta salads to patriotic desserts, the right Memorial Day menu ideas can keep your business buzzing all weekend long.

Memorial Day menu ideas

For many people, Memorial Day evokes memories of backyard barbecues and classic American foods — hot dogs, classic potato salad, and fruit pies for dessert. Some other popular Memorial Day recipes include:

  • Fruit salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled corn
  • Deviled eggs
  • Hot dogs
  • Burgers
  • Spinach artichoke dip
  • Strawberry lemonade
  • Baked beans

Need recipe ideas? Here are some suggestions to help you craft a compelling Memorial Day menu.

Meat, meat, and more meat

Nothing screams Memorial Day like grilled meat. Fire up the grill and offer a selection of grilled chicken club sandwiches, hamburgers, steak, and barbecued chicken. For your vegetarian customers, consider offering recipes that incorporate grilled mushroom caps or vegetable skewers. Meat is easy to package in to-go containers, so you can include takeout and food delivery customers in the fun.

Lots of delicious sides

Side dishes are the best part of any Memorial Day gathering; make sure every main dish comes with an equally exciting side. Go traditional with recipes including BLT pasta salad, Italian pasta salad, macaroni and cheese, and delicious baked beans cooked in a Crock-Pot or Instant Pot. If you want to get into the patriotic spirit, add a salad topped with red, white, and blue toppings; strawberries, blueberries, and feta cheese deliver both flavor and color.

Elevated classics

If BBQ-style food doesn’t suit your restaurant’s vibe, why not put your own gourmet spin on classic Memorial Day recipes? Instead of hot dogs and regular potato salad, serve grilled bratwurst with German dill potato salad and roasted asparagus. Or take your everyday burgers to the next level with garlic aioli and caramelized onions. It’s an effective way to set a festive tone while providing customers the culinary excellence and elevated recipes they expect.

Fun drinks

Embrace the summery weekend vibe with a menu packed with limited-edition Memorial Day drink recipes. Start with fresh, fruity options, such as strawberry margaritas, sangria, micheladas, and mint juleps. If it suits your menu, consider a few craft cocktails — blueberry bourbon smash, for example, or a watermelon Moscow mule. Remember that diners are increasingly interested in alcohol-free drinks; fill that need with refreshing drinks, including watermelon slushies, minted lemonade, and blueberry-mint iced tea. If possible, add a few packaged beverages or cocktail kits so customers can order drinks for delivery, too.

Fresh desserts

Memorial Day is the perfect time to try out new summer dessert recipes. Keep it bright and fruity with offerings such as lemon meringue pie, blueberry pie, and strawberry shortcake. You can also lean into the casual vibe of the holiday with traditional Memorial Day recipes, such as homemade ice cream sandwiches and apple crumble.

How to promote your Memorial Day menu

Once you finalize a list of recipe ideas, it’s time to start promoting your Memorial Day menu. In addition to posting your dishes on social media, try these marketing tips:

  • Host a cookout. If space allows, recreate a classic Memorial Day barbecue in your restaurant. Break out the grill, cover the tables in gingham cloths, and decorate the outdoor dining area with red, white, and blue streamers. It’s a great way to attract customers who don’t have yards of their own.
  • Offer special freebies. Get people in the door on Memorial Day with summery promotion ideas. You could offer a free cocktail or dessert with every entrée or give a free kid’s meal with the purchase of two adult dinners. 
  • Patriotic drinks. Make your Memorial Day cocktails feel special with a patriotic color scheme. Use blueberries to garnish red cocktails, and toss a few strawberry slices or raspberries onto white or blue drinks. They’ll photograph beautifully and stand out on social media.
  • Discount for veterans and active military. Celebrate the meaning behind Memorial Day by honoring current and former troops. It’s a small but meaningful way to thank them for their service.

Help your customers celebrate every holiday with Grubhub

A Memorial Day menu is a fantastic way to attract customers who want to celebrate with friends and delicious food. By going out of your way to offer tasty, summery meals, you can boost revenue for dine-in and delivery orders. Grubhub for Restaurants can help you get the word out; our platform makes it easy to showcase special menu items or set up limited-time promotions.

Whether you’re celebrating with classic grilled chicken or gourmet salads, partner with Grubhub and make Memorial Day a day to remember. To explore your options — and discover more restaurant insights and tips — get started with Grubhub today.