The 2020 General Election is coming up in just a few short weeks on Tuesday, November 3rd! What will your restaurant be doing to join the festivities?
Fun and Festive
No matter which candidate you personally support, Election Day is a great opportunity for restaurant owners. Election Day events or promotions can bring in new customers, boost sales, and help promote the importance of voting in your community. The tone and theme of your event is entirely up to you, but we advise that you try to keep your festivities bipartisan or neutral. Your guests may show up wearing shirts to support their candidate, but this is perhaps not a good idea for your staff to do. It would be best to keep a stance of bipartisanship. You wouldn’t want to exclude a portion of your clientele or cause any undue tension between your customers and staff. Keep it neutral and you can host an Election Day event at your business that will be sure to please.
Timing is Everything
One benefit to planning an Election Day event at your restaurant is the day: Tuesday. Almost all restaurant owners would agree that the beginning of the week is the slowest for business. At the start of a new work week, business slows down as people shake off the post-weekend blues and hunker down at home. Tuesday is arguably the slowest day of the week for some restaurants, simply because some people do decide to dine out on Mondays when they feel overwhelmed and tired from the start to their week.
With that said, Tuesday seems to be the perfect day to inject some activity in your restaurant. You can plan a fun, festive Election Day event at your restaurant by implementing a few of the following ideas.
In past elections, have you noticed the growing trend of displaying “I Voted” stickers? People love to wear these proudly on their shirts or post about it on social media. This is an excellent starting point for an Election Day promotion at your restaurant. If people already display their prized stickers, then take advantage of it! For coffee shops, cafes, lunch spots, etc. you can offer incentives for people who vote earlier in the day. For restaurants and bars, offerings could be discounted food or special drinks. Possible discounts or perks for people wearing “I Voted” stickers include:
- Free coffee
- Percentage off your latte or equivalent beverage
- Free donut or pastry (you could make a special batch of smaller offerings if you expect the influx to be high)
- Percentage off your bill
- Free topping on a pizza
- Free appetizer
- Special price for a beer on tap
- Free dessert (again, might be a good idea to make a special batch of smaller offerings if you expect the influx to be high)
Whichever perk or discount you decide to go with, make sure to prepare your staff on the terms so that there is no confusion.
Now that you’ve attracted customers with your Election Day incentives, you’ll want to make sure that your business is decorated for the occasion. The classic choice would be red, white, and blue decorations. This can be in the form of bunting, pennant banners, centerpieces, table cloths, pins or buttons for staff, streamers, posters, and more. You could even decorate different tables with subtle themes, such as stars, stripes, presidents, etc. Printing a special menu with current offerings adds a certain feeling of novelty that can boost sales.
Your Election Day event will be hinging on the creation of special drinks and one-day-only menu items that will keep your guests entertained and satisfied.
You can’t go wrong with American fare such as cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, fries, hot dogs, biscuits and gravy, ribs, etc. Add some regional favorites, depending on your area. Keep it fun and festive with patriotic titles or election-themed puns for your menu options.
For dessert, you can get creative with red, white, and blue ideas with berries and cream, or hit it on the nose with something “American as apple pie.”
You may want to promote patriotic or presidential themed beers, such as:
- Presidential IPA, Diamond Bear Brewing Co.
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Ale to the Chief Avery Brewing Company
- Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch
- Brew Free! Or Die IPA, 21st Amendment Brewery
If your restaurant has a bar with TVs, then set the channel to live updates of the election. You may even want to create an election-themed drinking game, bingo, or other table games that will keep the tone lively and fun for guests.
Make sure to advertise well ahead of time so that your event has a good turnout and is well worth the effort of planning. Ideas include:
- paid ads on social media
- colorfully-printed posters
- email blasts to your subscribers
- SMS text campaigns
As you can see, a little planning is all it takes to host a fun, festive Election Day at your restaurant. Plan with your team, offer perks and discounts for voters, decorate on theme, prepare festive menu options, and advertise well. This is a great opportunity for your business. People love a good reason to have a drink, have a laugh, and spend time with friends or family. Whether their favorite presidential candidate wins or loses, it will be a memorable experience for your guests, and your restaurant will boost Tuesday sales in the process.
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