Every Friday after Fat Tuesday and before Easter morning, you can find other restaurants pushing the catch of the day…and guests loving it.
The forty days before Easter mark Lent in the Christian calendar. A time to give up something specific or luxurious. A caveat of that is that every Friday if you are participating, you don’t indulge in meat- just fish.
41% of Americans say they have observed Lent. With abstaining from eating meat on Fridays, that leaves a lot of people searching for the perfect fish fry to end the week.
It’s no coincidence that large chains like McDonald’s pushed out the Filet-O-Fish during Lent. Lou Groen, owner of a McDonald’s restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, realized he was losing money on Fridays because being a burger joint, the Catholics in the area would go elsewhere during Lent.
If you don’t have fish on your menu, you probably notice a drop in sales for over a month, which is not sustainable. But you’re in luck if you are a place known for seafood, while a meal could be vegetarian and still be alright for those doing Lent, the habit of Friday fish day is deeply ingrained.
Nothing fishy here, Legal Seafoods reported 20 percent higher daily sales than the preceding 40-day period during lent. And that is daily sales, not just Fridays, which could be because people not only stick to the Friday practice but also give up food based things for the duration of the time.
In the first week alone, salmon sales go up 30%, tilapia 32%, and cod swims up 60%. So if there is nowhere around you that offers up the chicken of the sea, that doesn’t mean you’ll be the one to convince them to eat actual chicken. People will just go home and make some salmon and rice, as opposed to eating your chicken and rice.
With a forty-day time span, this gives you an opportunity to try something new and go bass to the walls and push a lot of unique fish heavy dishes. Something not settle well with your guests? Pull it from the menu after Easter, and state it as a Lent special. If it works out then, like the Filet-O-Fish, keep it year round.
Do you notice a change in your guests dining patterns for Lent? We want to know!