Father’s Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years, honoring fathers, stepfathers, bonus dads, foster dads, grandpas, uncles, and others that influence our children as they grow up.

Sure, we can rely on the traditional beer, BBQ, and steak dishes. Why not liven it up this year? Engage with your regulars to discover ways to create new Father’s Day experiences for your restaurant. Not only will you give dads a break from the grill on Father’s Day, but you’ll also expand your outreach and sales throughout the summer.

Here are 8 ideas to benefit your restaurant on Father’s Day, as well as throughout the summer:

  1. Encourage reservations for Father’s Day (as well as Memorial Day weekend, July 4, and Labor Day weekend). This alleviates any question about the number of guests, and staffing concerns can be addressed prior to the date.
  2. Create a poll (or a few) on your social media accounts over the next couple of weeks. Discover what your guests are looking for, whether it’s extra dollars on gift cards, creative cocktail specials, or a family entrée special. Post the winning special on social media and ask customers to sign up for a discount (just their name and email). You’ll not only increase how many people show up on Father’s Day, but you’ll also grow your email list for more promotions, summer menus, and special events.
  3. Create a gift basket for purchase with some of your house specialties, BBQ tools, fun novelties such as sunglasses, or local brewery specials. Be sure to include a gift card for your restaurant to ensure a repeat visit before the summer’s over.
  4. Create a theme day. Take a cue from one of those polls; create a themed brunch or dinner combined with a movie or decorations. For example, with the new release of the Top Gun sequel this summer, create a cocktail menu with names from the original. Or get inspired by some of the funniest dads on television shows—there are lots of options out there!
  5. Dinner’s always a great option, but let’s not forget that people love a tasty brunch menu! Craft a Father’s Day menu with some of Dad’s breakfast favorites (and a few surprises!), such as Bacon Cheddar Waffles, Strawberry French Toast, Breakfast Tacos, or Sausage Casserole. Pair them with a cocktail such as a Moscow Mule, Cherry Bourbon, White Russian, or Sangria. Then, take the favorites from Father’s Day and rotate one of them into your brunch menu each week.
  6. Institute a “Father Knows Best” theme. Have each server ask the father a trivia question (choose from sports, history, or food categories), with a prize like a free dessert or an appetizer for the winning answer (maybe a basket of fries even if it’s the wrong answer!).
  7. Create a prix fixe menu with a family bundle of an appetizer, entrées, sides, and dessert so the whole family can enjoy. We’re celebrating the dads, but it should feel like a celebration for all. Incorporate this concept into your brunch menu each weekend in June, or even throughout the summer.
  8. Gift card bonus—gift cards purchased during that week get 20% additional card funds, or buy two, get one free. Either way, customers are encouraged to return.

Father’s Day is celebrated in many ways and encouraging some dads to go out can be a daunting task. By engaging with your guests and understanding what tips may work to get dads out of the house, you’ll set your business up for a profitable Father’s Day and summer.

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