National food holidays are a great way for operators to build a marketing strategy that engages guests and drives revenue. On social media, anything can be cause for celebration — even if it's a sparkling kitchen sink on National No Dirty Dishes Day or a caffeinated beverage on National Coffee Day. In fact, there seems to be a national food holiday for everything, with restaurants highlighting gorgeous brick oven pizzas on National Pizza Day or offering free cookies on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. These seemingly random holidays offer a fun way to creatively showcase crowd favorites and house specialties.
Keeping track of all of these days can be overwhelming, but don't worry — we've compiled a list of 270 national food and social media holidays to enhance your business's marketing strategy. No matter what kind of cuisine your restaurant offers, there are plenty of opportunities to join social media conversations, connect with guests, and drive restaurant sales this year.
Download your copy of the Restaurant Marketing Calendar and Toolkit today to get social copy templates, photo ideas, marketing promotions, and other tips to map out your restaurant marketing plan. Here's a sneak peek at some of the national restaurant holiday marketing strategies for the year.
1. Launch creative national holiday social media campaigns
Social media is a valuable tool to drive brand awareness and build a loyal following among diners of all demographics. Celebrating national food holidays is a great way to highlight your restaurant's creativity and reach new customers.
Host giveaways of retail products
Do you have a secret sauce that everyone wants the recipe for — and that you just happen to sell by the bottle? Or a spice rub that draws diners in from miles away?
Offer free giveaways of your popular restaurant retail items, letting your guests stock their pantries with your signature flavors while driving delivery sales (like Geno's Steaks does here).
Consider hosting giveaways to boost engagement, as well. On Instagram, this might mean posing a question to your followers and choosing one commenter at random to win a free retail item, or asking followers to tag a friend for the chance to win two of your house favorites — one for them, and one for their friend (National Best Friend Day on June 8 is the perfect time for this).
Just remember to follow relevant laws and requirements when running a sweepstakes or contest promotion.
Offer festive discounts for national food holidays
On National Taco Day (October 4), entice guests to celebrate with a coupon for free guacamole at your restaurant. Or maybe you have the best snickerdoodles in the city, and want to give a free cookie to everyone who orders delivery from your restaurant on National Cookie Day on December 4. These limited-time discounts instill a sense of urgency by encouraging people to order that day — and have the potential to transform new customers into lifelong fans.
2. Capitalize on popular national holidays for food delivery
Some days are more likely to see diners cozying up at home and ordering delivery.
Plan for this on big sports events — when diners will likely be ordering wings, appetizers, and pizza to snack on while they watch — or on cozier holidays, like Thanksgiving Eve, when people have spent all day prepping and want nothing more to do with their kitchen. Deliveries also tend to spike in bad weather, so get your kitchen ready and staff up ahead of cold, rainy nights.
While set holidays can be easily planned out ahead of time, be sure to keep an archive of social images at the ready for days with inclement weather so you can quickly share that your restaurant offers delivery at the first sign of rain or snow — and don't forget to add your delivery link for easy access.
3. Show off your brand personality on national holidays
Brand engagement and recognition is vital in winning over new diners, especially since nearly half of all diners visit restaurants based on posts they've seen on social media. Platforms like Instagram or Facebook are also the perfect space to let guests get to know your restaurant's values, team members, and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks — in addition to your gorgeous signature dishes.
Take Pacific Catch, for example, which used National Seafood Month in October as a way to highlight their dedication to ocean protection and sustainable fishing practices on both social media and their menu all month long.
Once you reel guests in with social media, they can get inspired to post about their experience and share new, captivating photos of your products that you can feature on your business's social media channels.
4. Use hashtags to your advantage
On National Spaghetti Day, feeds are flooded with pictures of twirling pasta, influencers claiming things to be "impastable," and #nationalspaghettiday. Adding these and other more unique hashtags to your posts is an easy way for people to find your restaurant.
Include general hashtags for the holiday, but also be specific so people who live nearby can find you easily — think #sanfranciscofoodguide or #chicagotaco. To boost brand recognition, you can even encourage people to post photos of your food using a hashtag unique to your restaurant, like Playa Bowls does below.
Don't forget to tag other accounts, as well, especially those who may repost your photos. Include the farm you source ingredients from, your neighborhood alliance, or your cheese purveyor. Think of it as building an online community with all the vendors and neighbors who keep your restaurant running.
Reach diners year-round with the Restaurant Holiday Marketing Calendar and Toolkit
With more than 270 national holidays to consider as you craft your annual marketing plan, there are countless ways to reach new customers, expand your brand following, and increase engagement — all while boosting revenue.
When approached in a fun, strategic way, your marketing campaigns can give existing and future guests a sense of your brand personality — and a sneak peek of what they'll experience at your restaurant.
For an illustrated calendar of all the national food and social media holidays — and more marketing ideas from real-world DoorDash merchants — download your copy of the Restaurant Holiday Marketing Calendar and Toolkit today.