Restaurant Special Ideas: Creatively Promoting Your Business

Marketing 17 minute read 28th April 2023

Restaurant special ideas are one of the best promotion ideas you can utilize. The premise of this strategy is to organize special events that target customers excited to experience these’ opportunities.’ Special events can be anything from happy hours to a food truck event or DJ set. Restaurant promotions like this are fabulous at drawing crowds in. And if you provide a memorable experience, you’ll add loyal customers to your existing customer base.

Ready to use some creative events to promote your business? Fantastic. You’ll have so much fun with this marketing strategy - it is easily one of the most entertaining. In this guide, we’ll take you through all the essentials. From what exactly the strategy is to specific ideas to use, you’ll leave with details that form a comprehensive understanding.

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What Are Restaurant Special Ideas?

What are restaurant special ideas? Restaurant specials are just promotions that create exciting or tempting events that draw more customers in. What actually counts as a ‘special’ is entirely flexible. It could be seasonal menu items (think pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks) or an event, like a DJ performance.

The best rule of thumb is brainstorming everything your customer base would enjoy. For instance, adding a special coffee to a cafe for coffee lovers will surely be a hit. And a DJ performance at a rooftop bar will appeal to those wanting an experience-oriented dining experience with good views.

Restaurant specials are usually special events that happen occasionally or as one-off experiences. However, they can also occur weekly, annually, or seasonally. There is a benefit to hosting special events at regular intervals, too, as you can attract loyal customers. For example, having happy hours on Wednesdays can attract regulars who mark Wednesdays in their calendars.

In short, restaurant specials are anything that entertains and attracts customers. And precisely what or how you organize them is entirely up to you and your brand image.

Why Get Creative With Restaurant Special Ideas?

restaurant special ideas 2 Restaurant special ideas are perfect for unleashing all your creative potential. Seriously. Now is the time to get creative. Classic special events like happy hours are a treat for attracting regulars looking to save a few dollars. But it pays to stand out. By standing out or adding novelty to your restaurant specials, you make your restaurant promotions more attractive to customers.

For instance, you could organize a happy hour every Sunday afternoon. But you could also offer a make-your-own-Margherita masterclass with complimentary nibbles to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Or a pull-your-own Guinness event on St Patrick’s Day.

Or even an all-dogs welcome Day to celebrate International Dog Day. You get the idea. The more outlandish and the more topical, the better. It pays to stay on trend as well. For instance, using the rise in puppy yoga, pet cafes, and cappuccinos to create dog-themed special events.

As a business owner, being creative with your restaurant promotions also benefits you. Rather than milking the same tired events, you can approach your business with a new lease of life.

Your restaurant is exciting! And you should be able to enjoy brainstorming spectacular special events and restaurant promotions. Investing in creativity is a fantastic way to hype yourself up as a business owner with some fun challenges.

Lunch Special Ideas for Restaurants to Wow Sociable Customers

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Lunch special ideas for restaurants are classic special events to organize. They are also some of the best entry-level restaurant special ideas. The critical thing to note here is the difference between lunch and dinner.

Why are your customers attending lunch rather than dinner? Are they young mums looking to catch up with friends while their kids are at preschool? Or older couples, retired, and dining out for a treat? Or school friends on their summer holidays? Get clear about who you will be targeting with lunch specials.

Next, let’s brainstorm. You could use any of the following ideas as lunch ideas for your restaurant:

  • Calendar Event-Inspired Lunches

One of the best ways to create lunch specials is to play into upcoming calendar events. If Thanksgiving is coming up, serve a Thanksgiving-inspired meal. If St Patrick’s is coming, make a traditional Irish meal with a selection of whiskies. If Easter is coming, why not add special desserts to your menu?

  • Offer Discounts

Offering discounts always goes down a treat. And targeting customers wanting to dine at lunch with discounts is a brilliant idea. In school holidays, you may get lots of students, for instance. So offer student discounts and let the news spread by word of mouth, like wildlife, about your bargain rates. Similarly, you could provide pensioner discounts or even mum and baby discounts. Get creative and keep your target demographic in mind.

  • Organize Competitions

We aren’t talking Man vs. Food here (at least not necessarily) but introducing competitions is a brilliant way to create lunch specials. Since lunch is about daytime fun and socializing, it’s perfect for competitions. You could do anything from blind wine or coffee tasting to quizzes.

Dinner Special Ideas for Restaurants To Impress Customers Wanting To Indulge

restaurant special ideas 4 Regarding restaurant special ideas, there is a special niche that surrounds dinner out at restaurants. Dinner special ideas for restaurants are in a league of their own. Planning special events at dinner is not for the faint-hearted. Dinner is often romantic, indulgent, and social. It can involve large groups of friends or attract couples wanting an intimate dining experience. So you’ll need a firm understanding of your demographic and ideal customer to execute dinner specials effectively.

These are some top ideas for dinner specials at your restaurant:

  • Candlelights and Serenades

Lean into the romantic allure of a dinner out by targeting couples with an evening dedicated to romance. You can deck out your restaurant with candlelights and hire a violinist or other romantic music. And for more information on Valentines-style events, skip straight to the section below, where we’ll cover romance in more detail.

  • Tasting Events

When people want to socialize and indulge simultaneously, group-tasting experiences are sublime. Depending on your restaurant, you can target all sorts of food and drink. A popular choice would be wine tasting. But you can twist that by tasting specifically ecological wines or wines from a lesser-known region.

  • Set Menus and Tasting Menus

Feeding off of that idea, tasting menus are also perfect for evenings and sociable indulgence. With a tasting menu, you can add a sense of luxury. The flat rate also appeals to those wanting to relax and enjoy the evening. A tasting menu is an experience that people love.

Valentine’s Day Restaurant Special Ideas for Romance-seeking Couples

restaurant special ideas 4 Finally, what about Valentine’s Day restaurant special ideas? Valentine’s Day is hugely impactful in the hospitality industry and meant to be the most romantic Day of the year. It is all about intimacy, shared experiences, and fine dining. So when you think about specials, it pays to keep it classy and creative.

Also, remember that for many, Valentine’s Day is stressful with the pressure of arranging or planning something impressive. You must focus on selling a solution with your Valentine’s restaurant promotions. Ready for some ideas? These are our top suggestions:

  • Play Into Classic Tropes

Sometimes, classic wins the Day. But if you can play into classic tropes and create a sense of novelty, you are onto a winner. Traditional things on Valentine’s Day include red roses, romantic music, candles, and poetry. So what if you offer a dine-amongst-100-red-roses experience? Or luxurious candlelit picnics under the stars? Find a classic trope and then twist it to create an unforgettable event.

  • Buy-One-Get-One-Free

A BOGOF deal might not seem the most romantic avenue to venture down, but it is budget-friendly. Remember us mentioning that you want to aim to problem solve for the stressed souls on Valentine’s Day? Buy-one-get-one-free meals are an excellent way to cater to a crowd who are usually less willing to spend on eating out.

  • Provide Special Request Options With Bookings

Despite your fantastic job providing a romantic evening, give guests a chance to go the extra mile. Adding a special requests option upon booking allows you to let guests personalize their own experience. For example, you could offer an additional (paid) service allowing roses to be on the table. Or a piece of jewelry to be placed on the table at dessert.

How To Promote Restaurant Special Ideas

So, you have all the restaurant special ideas you could need. But what about promoting them? After all, you don’t want to go to all that effort only to have a handful of people show up. As you passionately approach brainstorming extraordinary event ideas, get creative with promoting your event.

  • Target Your Existing Customer Base

A significant way to promote your special events is through your existing customer base. Your loyal customers will be immediately interested in your event (if you organized it with your demographic in mind). So take advantage of that. Hang posters around your restaurant.

Mention it to your customers as you are settling the bill. Email out an early bird or exclusive early access tickets to those in your loyalty program. You are on to a winner if you can guarantee about 30-50% of the event attendees from your existing customer base.

  • Advertise Online

Another brilliant way to promote your special events is online. In an ideal world, you will already be using social media marketing. In this case, schedule some posts about the event in its run-up - posting on whatever social media you use. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are all solid platforms. Keep in mind your target demographic when choosing platforms as well. In terms of content, you can do live streams to show prep, link up with influencers, or pay for ads.

  • Advertise Offline

Advertising offline might seem old school, but this traditional promotion strategy is still alive. Get a billboard, post some flyers, or even pay for a poster in your local shops or paper. In an age of digital poverty, advertising offline is essential - since some people have zero access to the internet. Examine your target demographic and assign a proportionate budget to offline marketing accordingly.

Final Thoughts: Which Restaurant Special Ideas To Use

Ready to put your restaurant special ideas to use? Congratulations. Planning special events is one of the best ways to promote and improve your business. It is also exciting - for both you and your customers. Remember to take a step back before acting impulsively on restaurant specials.

First and foremost, they need to resonate with your demographic. Run all your ideas past this little checkpoint in your head. If you need clarification, check with someone who knows your business well to gauge their reaction. Or even send out a survey amongst your loyal customers to see which event they’d prefer.

Are you looking for extra help? At Beambox, we are always happy to assist you with marketing. As experts in content marketing and encouraging restaurant success, we can help start your journey to success. Outsource to us, and let’s take the following steps.

Let’s get the ball rolling today. Beambox offers the best all-in-one wifi marketing platform. We leverage a dynamic approach to connect, capture, and keep more customers. Start your Beambox free trial today, and let us help you maximize your content marketing potential.

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