Think Pink in October: Promos for a Good Cause

Mary PickfordAny type of promotion is good for your bar, but what about promotions that are good for the community? Showing an altruistic streak in planning promotions can get people through the door while also helping a good cause. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and your restaurant, bar or nightclub can benefit both itself and this important cause with a few quick changes to the menu. From serving pink drinks to getting your servers to wear pink ribbons, a few easy promotions can get people in the door.

For example, Kabuki Japanese Restaurants is honoring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by offering Pink Ribbon Saketini (fresh strawberry juice, Nigori sake, hint of cranberry, $7.95) at its 14 locations in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The Saketini, created by Master Sake Sommelier and Beverage Director Yuji Matsumoto, is available on the menu throughout October; 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this specialty cocktail go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

That’s not all you can do. Here’s a look at what other venues are doing in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

The Happ Inn Bar & Grill, Northfield, Ill.
The Happ Inn’s “Think Pink” menu runs throughout October with proceeds going to the Northwest Healthcare System in honor of the Susan Harris Memorial Fund. Travis Binns, the front of house manager at The Happ Inn, says the Think Pink menu, designed by Chef Sam Luna, Proprietor Carlos Nieto and the management team, is an important element in the business model because “everyone is directly affected by cancer personally or through someone they care about.” With a connection to Susan Harris, a close personal friend of the owners, they thought offering the Think Pink menu was a “way for them to continue to pay their respects” Binns says.

The menu consists of five drinks including The Royal Flush (Crown Royal, peach schnapps, cranberry juice), Tropical Storm (Southern Comfort, Malibu Coconut Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, Disaronno Amaretto and pomegranate juice), French Pear Martini (ABSOLUT Pears, St-Germain, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, sour mix and Chambord float) , all priced between $7 and $11, with 40 percent of the proceeds donated to the Susan Harris Memorial.

Binns says planning the menu only took a couple of weeks, with a strong emphasis on getting the right products and creating drinks up to The Happ Inn’s standards. Through internal POS marketing such as distributing daily special cards showcasing the drinks to every table, as well as using an outside PR company to spread the word, the Think Pink menu will undoubtedly attract attention to The Happ Inn and this worthy cause.

Pensiero Ristorante, Evanston, Ill.
Think PinkLocated in the Margarita European Inn, Pensiero Ristorante’s Breast Cancer Awareness menu features cocktails inspired by, named for or created by famous women around the world or those who were influential to Pensiero’s success. One dollar from each cocktail ordered off this menu will be donated to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, a peer support program that empowers women with breast cancer. As a take off on Pensiero’s “Historic” cocktail list, which features famous traditional cocktails, the Think Pink menu takes its place for the month of October; each of the 10 drinks that grace the Think Pink menu tells an interesting story about the namesake of the drink. The Hanky-Panky (gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca; $12), for instance, was the brainchild of Ada Coleman, predecessor to Harry Carddock at the American Bar at the Savoy, mixing drinks for Mark Twain and people of similar ilk at the turn of the 20th century, or The Vesper (gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, lemon peel; $13), an homage to James Bond’s ill-fated love in the first Bond novel Casino Royale. Also on the menu are a drink named for Scarlett O’Hara (Southern Comfort, cranberry juice, lime; $11) and the Gloria Swanson Champagne Cocktail (Cognac, very dry, very cold Champagne; $12) named for the cocktail connoisseur of New York café society who started her day with this drink. A kickoff party was held on Oct. 1 at the Margarita European Inn, with appetizers and cocktails served to guests wanting to honor the many great, pioneering and influential women in their lives.

Running a breast cancer fundraiser promotion was important to the team at Pensiero because the effects of the disease hit close to home — and the legacy of strong females runs deep in Pensiero’s and Margarita European Inn’s histories, explains General Manager Emlyn Thomas. Owner Michael Pure’s mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, while his close family friend Susan Rosenberg lost her battle with cancer.

Thomas and the management team came up with the idea to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month only a few weeks ago and had the drinks rolling out within two days; securing the support of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength gave the team added momentum. Digital platforms such as e-blasts, Twitter and Facebook complement the community outreach Thomas and his team are doing through the Chamber of Commerce, North Shore Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and local hospitals. Also, staff members are wearing ties with a pink ribbon pattern throughout the promotion.

With a creative drink menu that honors women, a managerial team deeply affected by the disease and a staff uniform signifying the restaurant’s support, Pensiero is a standout place to go to this October. Like Thomas says, “This is a great way to raise money for a great cause, get your friends together and have some fun.”


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