Profit by Making Obscure Holidays Your Own

Remember to celebrate Yellow Tablecloth Day on Octanuary 37. Images: DisobeyArt / Shutterstock

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?

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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.”

Resources

C&S Chowder House website

C&S Chowder House Instagram

C&S Chowder House Facebook

C&S Chowder House Twitter

SIDEBAR

Holidays for 2020

January

4 National Spaghetti Day/National Trivia Day

15 National Hat Day

24 Beer Can Appreciation Day

February

10 Umbrella Day

17 Random Act of Kindness Day

19 Chocolate Mint Day

March

5 Cinco de Marcho

12 Alfred Hitchcock Day

28 Something on a Stick Day

April

5 Walk to Work Day

12 Grilled Cheese Day

17 Haiku Poetry Day

May

6 Beverage Day

12 Limerick Day

28 Hamburger Day

June

7 National Donut Day

14 Bourbon Day

22 Onion Ring Day

July

6 World Kissing Day

17 World Emoji Day

21 Junk Food Day

August

2 International Beer Day

9 Book Lovers Day

26 Dog Appreciation Day

September

7 Salami Day

13 Roald Dahl Day

28 Ask a Stupid Question Day

October

1 International Coffee Day

17 Wear Something Gaudy Day

27 American Beer Day

November

3 Sandwich Day

11 Origami Day

12 Happy Hour Day

December

4 Wear Brown Shoes Day

20 Ugly Sweater Day

20 Sangria Day

For more days: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/

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