May Marketing Ideas for Restaurants


The weather is getting warmer, and it’s time to heat up your sales! It may surprise you how many national observances are in May. And while many of us don’t “celebrate” them, they can be effective tie-ins for creative summer promotions. Here are some May marketing ideas to try in your restaurant:

National Hamburger Month – The entire month of May is dedicated to the burger. The hamburger began in Hamburg, Germany, and the holiday is considered an official “celebratory” month for everyone. Increase your burger sales this month and bump up lunch traffic with hamburger specials. Create different specialty hamburgers each week, including some non-traditional vegan and gluten-free options, and post hamburger trivia for customer contests. Put all the winners’ names into a bowl and draw the grand prize winner at the end of the month. The prize? Burgers for everyone, of course!

National Salad Month – If burgers aren’t your operation’s thing, May is also National Salad Month. Use the same strategies (create specialty salads, schedule different weekly specials) to make the most of this summer promotion. Be sure to include options for people with special dietary needs.

National Strawberry Month – If you’re a family-service restaurant, this holiday is perfect for promoting summer desserts, fruit plates and breakfast and lunch sides. Offer special prices on homemade strawberry dishes and check into local “pick your own” strawberry patches. They may be willing to trade services with you, allowing you to promote “fresh-picked, local strawberries” while you provide your smallest customers with gift certificates to “pick your own quart.”

National Barbecue Month – While many people view this observation as an opportunity to fire up the grill on their patio, it’s also an opportunity to create barbecue promotions for your guests. Or, if you’d like to perk up take-out and catering orders, offer sides that complement barbecued main dishes. Then market it as, “You fire up the grill; we’ll serve up the sides!

International Pickle Week – The fourth week in May International Pickle Week. Deep fry pickles and serve them as appetizers, offer unusual pickles with your deli sandwiches or stick pickles on a stick and promote them at the bar (“Beer and pickles?!” Why not!).

Don’t Over Market and Under Deliver

Great marketing can kill a bad business. Bringing new traffic in the door can back-fire if your staff isn’t prepared to handle it. Follow these restaurant management tips to ensure your staff exceeds guests’ expectations.

  • Make sure your staff knows what your promotion is all about, including exceptional product knowledge on any unique menu offerings.
  • Train your servers to capitalize on new traffic by suggesting items that will complement the guest experience.
  • Encourage repeat visits with bounce-back offers that are good the next time guests come in.

Get More Restaurant Marketing Tips

The restaurant marketing section of our blog is dedicated to helping you effectively promote your restaurant. Check it out!

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