On America’s birthday, it’s time to celebrate! In addition to showcasing their patriotism, businesses who plan ahead are able to capitalize on Fourth of July festivities and provide a memorable day for guests. Here are some creative ways to capture the spirit of Independence Day this year.
Host a Fourth of July Event
Throw the best party in your city.
Don’t simply offer a table and reservations; think about hosting a party, too, like the Red, White & Blue rooftop dance party previously held at Sky Terrace lounge in New York City’s Hudson Hotel, complete with a live DJ. Sell tickets in advance with festive attire required to get in the door. Don’t forget to take a lot of photos to promote the party next year.
Start a viral eating contest.
Independence Day isn’t just for fireworks; it’s also notorious for barbecues and good food. That’s why bold restaurants hold annual food eating contests, like Nathan’s Hotdogs on Coney Island, whose televised hotdog-eating contest attracts about 40,000 contestants and contest-watchers every year.
Pamper beachy guests.
While your restaurant can focus on selling cold drinks to firework- or parade-watchers, consider partnering with other businesses, like salons and spas, to offer themed specials like “firework facials” to moisturize over-sunned skin, or flag nail art manicures. Holiday urgency and exclusivity will bring customers in to celebrate with you.
If your restaurant offers any type of view watching the fireworks, capitalize on your prime location by upping the ante on your celebration. Take the lead of Boston’s Dante, which hosts an annual Fourth of July Italian-American barbecue with all reservations guaranteed a seat on the patio for the big show.
Furry friends often join in on outdoor Fourth of July celebrations, so why not include them in your marketing? Some restaurants welcome pets with water bowls and treats on Independence Day. Meanwhile, the pet-centric Tuleh Pet Boutique in Palo Alto, California, writes a Fourth of July blog post to help pet owners celebrate with safety in mind.
Not everybody is up for crowds and loud bangs, so consider an anti-fireworks party where anybody wearing red, white, and blue gets free admission or a free drink. Not into a dress code? Consider offering specials on red, white, and blue Jell-O shots or special cocktails.
Participate in a parade.
If you can’t host an event, you can participate in one of the local Fourth of July parades either by submitting an entry or helping to sponsor the event. Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce to find out more.
Fourth of July Restaurant Specials
- Coffee Shop: Create a unique coffee drink for one day only. Make it something special: Maybe it’s a play on the Americano or, if you have more equipment, a frozen strawberry blueberry lemonade. In any case, give passersby a reason to buy a coffee from you and leave with a thoughtful impression of your business.
- Restaurant: Even if you have no intention of ever being a catering company, try to make an exception just on this one day of the year. Not everybody likes to cook, but everybody needs to bring something to their July Fourth barbecues. Offering great take-out trays that feed 20 to 30 people is a great idea. Ribs, chicken wings and salads are all must-haves for the day.
- Deli: What better day of the year to offer finger sandwiches than the Fourth of July? You may already offer them, but it’s important to get it on your customers’ radars ahead of time. When your customers come in, make sure you have special Fourth of July menus for them to bring home and reference. Buy some American flags in bulk to add flare to all the sandwiches. Try creating a tray beforehand and taking a photo for the flyer so that people can be inspired.
- Bakery: Everybody needs something to bring to their Fourth of July barbecues, but when it comes to pastries and cakes, not everybody knows where to go. Create a unique Fourth of July pastry, like red, white and blue cannolis, or a white icing cake topped with strawberries and blueberries. Whatever you create, make sure you promote it, especially on the street, to remind folks on the way to their parties. Here are some more bakery marketing ideas to help!
- Cupcake Shop: This one’s easy: red, white and blue cupcakes! Of course, you’ll need to rename them for this special occasion to make them unique. How about “Americakes”? Go ahead and steal it, I won’t tell. And while you’re at it, make sure to come up with a volume discount so that folks will have no problem feeding dozens of guests without breaking the bank.
Fourth of July Ideas for Bars
- Serve American classics: When it comes to the Fourth of July, cocktails work best when they look like Betsy Ross designed them herself.
- Pub Crawls: Some pubs join in on local pub crawls, while others advertise special cocktails only served on that one day of the year. Try greeting anyone in flag attire with a free drink, and then throw dogs and burgers on the grill so that anyone passing by can follow their noses.
- Red, White, and Blue Drinks: Whip up red, white, and blue Jell-O shots and you’ve got solid gold. Not so good with the layered gelatin? Standard red and blue cups with a dollop of white whipped cream will work just fine. In fact, make welcome drinks for anyone who walks in and decides to celebrate with you. Mix that with a barbecue out back cooking up hotdogs, hamburgers and other classic American fare and you’ve got yourself a Fourth of July party.
Promote your Fourth of July Event
Whatever you decide to host, make sure you get the word out. With all these once-a-year offers and red, white, and blue promotions, that means making the most of photos and social media. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A photo of a demo batch of your upcoming special posted on your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and beyond.
- A tray of Jell-O shots arranged in an American flag shape as your new Facebook Timeline photo.
- A photo of happy flag-wavers in your Eventbrite invitation.
- Holiday-themed recipes and pictures of your restaurant posted to your Pinterest page.
- An email newsletter mailing to your list, inviting subscribers to celebrate with you.
- Use restaurant reservation websites to promote holiday-themed specials.
- Online advertisements can be placed on Facebook or on Google. These can help target local web users who may be unfamiliar with your business currently.
- Restaurant apps, which are currently part of your branding strategy, can host holiday-themed content and promotion
You get the idea. And, if you’re hosting an event, make sure to take lots of pictures to use in promoting real-time—people will tag themselves in your Facebook albums—and in promotions for next year’s event.