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Father's Day

In 2019, we surveyed 629 people from around the U.S. to find out how they spend their Father’s Day. While not as notoriously hectic as Mother’s Day, we did find that many people opted for a dinner out as opposed to a backyard BBQ—families are just as likely to go out to eat (23%) as they are to host a family gathering (24%).

For Father’s Day 2020, things will obviously look a little different as some states are only partially opened back up. However, our data team has found that while sales are down overall since last year, we are still seeing massive spikes (sometimes 100%) on holidays for takeout, delivery, and limited dine-in. Here are some tips for preparing for your restaurant for Father’s Day 2020, pandemic edition.

Get Creative with Your Online Ordering Options

For the cities still sitting out a dine-in experience, restaurants can offer something special for dads – for pickup or delivery. Upserve customer bywater in Warren, RI is creating a Father’s Day gift box on the Online Ordering menu after they sold out of a similar concept on Mother’s Day weekend. 

“We’re going with a grilling theme,” said co-owner Katie O’Donnell, “A nice cut of meat from a partner butcher, and then bywater sauces. Maybe a bottle of wine and a book about grilling.” O’Donnell wants her regulars and guests to feel like they’re getting something special, if not a last-minute gift idea. “We’re trying to recreate normalcy but have fun with the fact that it’s not normal,” she said. “If people want us in their lives, but takeout gets boring, how do we create an extended experience in people’s homes?” bywater plans to tie the boxes to some kind of interactive digital experience as well – whether it’s a wine tasting or an instructional cooking video. 


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Make Sure Your Staff Is Ready For A Dinner Rush

Looks like Dad will be sleeping in on Father’s Day because 51% of respondents plan to make dinner their celebratory meal with dad. With another 28% planning to dine-in or get takeout 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.

Father's Day Eats Table Two

When Brainstorming Father’s Day Menu Ideas, Stick to Basics

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: 32% 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.

Father's Day Eats Table One

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% do in fact. What is surprising is how few want to drink anything else: 28% 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. Depending on your state, you may be able to offer alcoholic beverages with delivery and takeout, but take a look at local laws first if this is new territory for you.

Father's Day Eats Table Three

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% of families prefer to celebrate Dad during dinner, but New England is more likely than any other region to celebrate Dad in the morning: 36% of local respondents say they plan to eat brunch or 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%) but fathers on the West Coast are more likely to have a more refined palate – only 20% want a traditional meal, with other cuisines like Mexican (12%), fresh seafood (8%) and Italian (9%) outpacing other regions. Keeping your audience in mind, you have a bit more creative license with your menu.
  • Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, PA): Nationally, fathers across the board prefer a cold beer to celebrate (37%) but dads in your area are the most likely to enjoy a cocktail (15%). 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.

  • 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 and offering a great beer selection 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. While patio games like corn hole are out this year, you could offer a low-contact or virtual Father’s Day Trivia or Father’s Day Bingo night. 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, especially when things start to open back up!

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 from your restaurant.

80% of a restaurant’s food sales come from only 16% of menu items. How do you know which ones? The perfect menu is just a click away with Upserve's Menu Builder.

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Ryan McSweeney started his restaurant career as a dish-washer at the Sundae School Ice Cream Parlor in Dennisport, Massachusetts. For five years he served Cape Cod vacationers the biggest scoops of their favorite flavors. He spent many more years in the service industry, and brings his knowledge and love for the restaurant-world to Upserve where he provides the best restaurant technology to restaurateurs around the country.
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