Regular holidays like Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Diwali and New Years are great pegs to pitch the tent of your marketing plan around. However, as restaurateurs, you are in an exceptional position to create or celebrate unique food holidays. These special days can catch the imagination of the public if it is well researched to be culturally appropriate, well planned to make it appealing and well executed to garner maximum support.
Food holidays, like any other special holidays are usually created or leveraged by a company’s PR or marketing department and pushed further through lobbyists, associations and social media. Perhaps, no other country has done this with the vigor and ambition like the United States. National Taco Day (October 4), National Beer Day (April 7) are just some of the examples in the long list of celebrated, albeit lesser known food holidays. There are no fewer than eight individual days and two whole months celebrating peanut and peanut driven snacks.
So how do companies create a food holiday? The first reference to National Meatball day in the US was in 2010 as an event listings and local news in Kansas City. It gained momentum in 2011 when a marketing firm, The Door issued a press release for its client Mama Mancini’s which boasted of gourmet prepared meatballs and "Sunday sauce." Mama Mancini's was offering all kinds of meatball freebies in honor of the holiday, and they garnered a fair amount of media attention. By 2012 it was as though National Meatball Day always existed.
World Nutella Day celebrated on 05th February was founded by a blogger Sara Rosso and Nutella fans loved the idea and has since become a global phenomenon. Of course, there are days which have religious or spiritual significance. For example, Pancake Day has many names including Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday is celebrated a day before Ash Wednesday (13th February). It is celebrated as carnival day or the last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before the fasting period of Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods.
Food days which has social relevance resonates with people more than arbitrarily naming food days. Eat what you want Day, on May 11th is one such celebration started by Thomas and Ruth Roy to help people break away from the frustrating health and diet trends of our times. If only for one day, just let go and enjoy life a little.
Here’s a thought starter. With the theme ‘Hotter the Better’ offer your customers a variety of offers and challenges on spicy savory food celebrating ‘International Hot and Spicy food day’ on the 16th of January 2018. Food challenges like finishing a spicy burger or pizza in 10 minutes are very popular among the youth. Let your cuisine include those delicious eye watering, tissue grabbing dishes your customers crave on the menu. Create a website and promote it through emails and social media.
If you are keen on creating your own path, you can always be inspired to start your own food holiday. Find a cause that is befitting and support it with the celebration. National Beer Day (April 7) started as a celebration to the end of Prohibition. Donut Day was started by the Salvation Army during the Great Depression to raise money and commemorate the female volunteers who brought comforts from home, including donuts, to soldiers on the front lines during WWI.
As we enter the New Year, let us give some serious thought on celebrating food in new and better ways. Get in touch with your customers and connect with their causes through food.
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