In May, most restaurants know to dust off their brunch menu for the traditional Mother’s Day Brunch, but things aren’t quite as straightforward for Father’s Day. With the nicer weather, it’s easy to assume that most families would forgo a meal out for a BBQ in the backyard – right?
At Upserve, we wanted to find out, so we surveyed 629 people from around the U.S. to find out how they spend their Father’s Day.
The surprising results offer some great tips for restaurateurs planning for Father’s Day 2019. Restaurant owners shouldn’t plan to sit back and relax on Sunday—families are just as likely to go out to eat (23 percent) as they are to host a family gathering (24 percent).
Here are a few other tips you should know.
Make Sure The Staff Is Ready For A Dinner Rush
Looks like Dad will be sleeping in on Father’s Day because 51 percent of respondents plan to take their father out to dinner. With another 28 percent planning to eat out for lunch, most restaurant owners won’t need to worry too much about crafting a Father’s Day brunch menu like they may have done a few weeks ago when celebrating Mom.
When brainstorming Father’s Day menu ideas, stick to basics
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: 32 percent of respondents say Dad wants to eat “good old-fashioned steak and potatoes” for dinner. If you have a great seafood distributor, fresh fish also ranked in the top three, so you may want to consider a fish special.
No need for wine and cocktails: Dads are looking for beers
It’s no surprise that most dads want a cold beer to celebrate: 37 percent do in fact. What is surprising is how few want to drink anything else: 28 percent would prefer nothing before drinking something off of your summer cocktail menu or ordering a glass of wine. Sunday will be a better night to introduce a new craft brew than to open up your wine cellar.
Regional Father’s Day Trends
If you own a restaurant in one of the regions below, you may want to keep these statistics in mind when thinking of Father’s Day restaurant ideas. There are some other key points that could drive dads to your business:
- New England: Nationally, 51 percent of families prefer to take Dad out to dinner, but New England is more likely than any other region to celebrate Dad in the morning: 36 percent of local respondents say they plan to eat brunch of breakfast together. Looks like local chefs may need to focus on a brunch menu after all.
- West Coast: Nationally, most dads prefer “good old-fashioned steak and potatoes” for dinner (32 percent) but fathers on the West Coast are more likely to have a more refined palate – only 20 percent want a traditional meal, with other cuisines like Mexican (12 percent), fresh seafood (8 percent) and Italian (9 percent) outpacing other regions. Keeping your audience in mind, you have a bit more creative license with your menu.
- Tri-State (NY, NJ, PA): Nationally, fathers across the board prefer a cold beer to celebrate (37 percent) but dads in your area are the most likely to enjoy a cocktail (15.4 percent). Maybe bartenders will think up a creative signature drink for Dad on Sunday?
Still drawing a blank?
Here are some more Father’s Day restaurant ideas.
- A little bit of everything – try a buffet-style special! Instead of creating several different options for a new father’s day menu, go the simple route. Have your chefs make a ton of food and let dads choose what they want.
- Forget brunch, do lunch! A fancy brunch may be too much for dads in the morning, so why not try a special Father’s Day lunch menu? Creating new lunch specials, offering a great beer selection, and putting the afternoon baseball games on the TV might just be the perfect combination for families who want to celebrate more casually.
- Fathers love free! There are plenty of creative ways to promote a restaurant on Father’s Day, but nothing gets dads going like free stuff. Whether it’s a free $25 gift card, a free sample of a menu item, or something more fun like a free bottle opener or coozie, restaurants can get some long-lasting promotion and credit with dads whenever they get something free of charge.
- Get your game on! Adding some friendly competition to your restaurant’s father’s day festivities is a great way to keep families entertained. If you have an outdoor space, think about adding an area to play corn hole. Restaurants that want to include everyone can think about doing something even larger, like Father’s Day Trivia or Father’s Day Bingo. Restaurants with games are trending right now, so this may be the perfect excuse to see if it could be a regular part of your concept!
With no clear tradition for Father’s Day, giving Dad exactly what he wants this weekend could set in motion a new custom for years to come: a great dinner at your restaurant.