In October there’s World Egg Day, National Dessert Day, and Wear Something Gaudy Day. Moving into November, you’ve got Sandwich Day, World Kindness Day and Button Day.
These are all whacky, to be sure, but they’re something else, too—they’re a chance to have some fun with your guests and your staff, to break up the same-old and create excitement, offer up some challenges, and perhaps do a little good in the world.
They’re also a chance to boost your bottom line, incidentally, and who wants to turn that down?
Every March, C&S Chowder House in Roswell, Ga., makes sure to celebrate National Clam Day, and has done so for the past three years, ever since the location opened.
On these days, revenues are boosted by at least 50 percent, says owner Rich Clark.
“Obscure and strange holidays are the perfect time to stand out from the crowd,” says Arlene Spiegel, a restaurant consultant in New York City. “Most operators and their social media reps work with traditional calendars—both food related and national holidays—so they are already out there in a very crowded field. By being bold and standing out, the restaurant or bar who celebrates unknown and uncelebrated holidays and events has the field to themselves. It’s a great chance to express your 'personality' and forward-thinking brand.”
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Every year, Clark offers food and drink specials for National Clam Day: $5 draft beer specials and a $5 wine pour; and the food all (of course) revolves around clams. He’s discovered small plates are what work best and offers them for $8 to $12. The location serves dishes such as clam pizza, stuffies (baked stuffed clam with linguica sausage, and clam fritters. He’ll also bring in a DJ for the evening. “It makes it more classy and they play to the crowd rather than having a band, when you get what you get,” he explains.
It’s important to offer different things on National Clam Day, which is tricky for a restaurant that specializes in clams, but 60 percent of his food revenue on these special days comes from the small plates. Drink sales typically increase by around 20 percent on this day.
“We have to do things that are different to encourage people to come, and they do, and we’re packed,” he says. “We’re in a pretty conservative area but on that day, everyone lets their hair down.”
Clark started celebrating obscure holidays at one of his other locations, with National Lobster Day. “It happened out of necessity when the recession hit,” he says, adding that he was simply hoping to bring in more people that night.
Clark doesn’t necessarily celebrate National Clam Day on the day it falls (March 31 for 2020) but on the closest Friday, when he has the best chance of big sales.
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Marketing is via social media, table tents, banners in the venue, and local media. But a lot comes from word of mouth, he says. “It’s mostly regulars who come and they really like it.”
Today's 'experience-seeking' consumers are always looking for the next best thing to share with their friends, Spiegel says. “These customers will proactively and aggressively want to be the leaders in their group to discover and broadcast the event. Of course, it’s also great for employees who may get new guests, as well as challenge the culinary team to develop special menus and drinks to complement the theme.”
At C&S Chowder House, the staff loves this day as much as everyone else, Clark says. “It means more money and it’s a party atmosphere, and different from the day to day.”
Holidays for 2020
4 National Spaghetti Day/National Trivia Day
15 National Hat Day
24 Beer Can Appreciation Day
10 Umbrella Day
17 Random Act of Kindness Day
19 Chocolate Mint Day
5 Cinco de Marcho
12 Alfred Hitchcock Day
28 Something on a Stick Day
5 Walk to Work Day
12 Grilled Cheese Day
17 Haiku Poetry Day
6 Beverage Day
12 Limerick Day
28 Hamburger Day
7 National Donut Day
14 Bourbon Day
22 Onion Ring Day
6 World Kissing Day
17 World Emoji Day
21 Junk Food Day
2 International Beer Day
9 Book Lovers Day
26 Dog Appreciation Day
7 Salami Day
13 Roald Dahl Day
28 Ask a Stupid Question Day
1 International Coffee Day
17 Wear Something Gaudy Day
27 American Beer Day
3 Sandwich Day
11 Origami Day
12 Happy Hour Day
4 Wear Brown Shoes Day
20 Ugly Sweater Day
20 Sangria Day
For more days: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/