Independence Day—the Fourth of July—is without a doubt America’s big summer holiday. And that goes double for the bev-alc industry. In 2021, Americans planned to spend $1.4 billion on beer and wine to celebrate the holiday. Officially, Independence Day commemorates when the U.S. became free and independent states, no longer subject to Britain and King George III (who you most likely know as the show-stealer from Hamilton), but in neighborhoods around the country, it’s a great excuse to hit up cookouts, live music and spend some of that $1.4b at your local watering hole for some special, 4th-themed events.
If your bar or restaurant is looking for some promotional ideas to attract clientele this Independence Day, look no further than these bar and restaurant promotions for the Fourth of July.
1. Customize the Menu with Themed Cocktails and Eats
Locals and regulars like their bars and restaurants for the quality service, friendly atmosphere and the reliable menu items that keep them coming back again and again. But when it comes to holidays and big events, everyone loves a little custom flair. Get your patrons excited about the holiday with a Fourth of July-themed menu.
Serve up some Patriotic Frankfurters alongside a Stars and Stripes cocktail, then follow it up with a slice of Grandma’s Old Glory Apple Pie. If you go the custom route for the day, it can help you turn out orders faster for the larger crowds, while keeping everyone happy with a little something fresh and fun for the holiday.
2. Do a Tap, Kitchen or Food Truck Takeover
Don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning and customizing a Fourth-themed menu yourself? Bring in someone else to do the work for you! Hosting a tap or kitchen takeover is a great way to partner with like-minded local businesses to co-host a big holiday party like the Fourth of July. Whether you partner with a brewery to add a session draft to the drink menu or get a local restaurant to park a food truck on the curb outside, there’s a lot to be said for diversifying your regular offerings on a big holiday like the Fourth of July.
3. Bring on the Band!
You could stock the jukebox (or prep the Spotify playlist) with Mellencamp, Parton, Petty, Springsteen and a whole host of other classic Americana. But why do that when you can get a live band? Everyone’s in a good mood during a holiday celebration to begin with, and a band only takes that up a notch. Enlist a local fan-favorite group to take the stage and you can bank on a good following to come along with them. The crowd will be sure to stick around and order more drinks and food as the band keeps the tunes coming.
If a band isn’t something you can facilitate because of layout or lack of equipment, maybe opt for a karaoke set up. And if that can’t work? There’s always the playlist!
4. Hold a Costume Contest
The easiest way to fill your bar or restaurant with Fourth of July vibes is to hold a holiday-themed costume contest. Most of the patrons will opt for the classic stars and stripes tank tops or face paint, but if you promote it on social media with incentives like free bar tabs and appetizers for the best-dressed, your establishment will be bumping with George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Betsy Ross look-alikes in no time.
5. Host Americana Trivia
If you hold a costume contest to see who’s got the best American vibes on the outside, then you should also put together a trivia contest to see who’s got the best American knowledge on the inside!
Take it back to high school history class with questions like “What was the first American state?”, “Which presidents are represented on Mount Rushmore?”, and of course, “What is Joey Chestnut’s hot dog eating record?” Offer some more prizes and incentives and your bar will be like a summer school exam room, only with more booze, food and fun.
Don't Forget to Promote Your Promotions
Planning all these awesome Fourth of July events for your bar or restaurant is a lot of work so make sure not to let it go to waste. Get the word out early to your customers and the general public by staying active on social media, setting up a special email newsletter to your subscribers and update your website with event dates and information. Consider doing a hashtag to amp up the event and tease out additional details in the weeks and days leading up to it by tagging guests, co-hosts and including anything else exciting for what you might have planned.
Bonus: Invite all the dogs!
Man’s best friend really makes every situation better. If your bar has a sizable patio or outdoor seating, it’s a no-brainer to allow the four-legged friends to tag along.
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