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Marketing for restaurant delivery is a tricky mix of strategy and timing. Throw in a need for creativity (who’s going to come up with weekly topics and track what’s relevant) and it can be tough for restaurant owners and operators to find time in their busy schedules to find ways to promote their eatery.

But the fact is, marketing remains one of the most important tasks on your to-do list because it’s the easiest way to keep your diners engaged and your restaurant top of mind. 

For instance, pairing promotions with a boosted social media presence can help generate business and put guests in seats. Or, as this case may be in modern times, directing them toward your online ordering platform so they can score some delivery.

Restaurant delivery is on the rise. Grubhub Delivery Drivers delivered more than 189 million orders in 2021, and Statista predicts the number of people using smartphone delivery apps in the U.S. will increase to 53.9 million by 2023. That’s nearly 10 million more accounts than there were in 2020.

So, how can restaurants freshen up their marketing while also drawing in diners who might be looking to see what they can order for their next meal? 

National holidays to consider in your restaurant’s food delivery marketing strategy

It’s all about national holidays — and we don’t just mean Fourth of July or Easter. National food holidays and unofficial top restaurant delivery days like mega sporting events are primetime for restaurants looking to amplify off-premise orders.

Here’s a look at some existing restaurant delivery trends and holidays along with a few tips on how you can make them work overtime for your restaurant’s bottom line.

1. Football’s Biggest Night

When two of the best teams in professional football square off on the sport’s biggest night, it calls for a party. In fact, 43.3 million Americans plan on throwing a party during the big game, and 48 million will order takeout or delivery.

Compete with neighboring restaurants by creating a game day menu that includes trending dishes like lettuce chicken wraps, Korean fried chicken wings, and mini corn dogs. Add a few specials that reflect your restaurant’s overall theme and double up on personnel needed to execute delivery and takeout orders.

If you’re in NYC, brush up on the rules regarding alcohol delivery. Restaurants on Grubhub with alcohol on their menu have seen, on average, a 43% higher order value than orders with alcohol, so this could be the perfect time to either add to-go cocktails or revisit your existing drink list and promote accordingly.

2. Valentine’s Day

Restaurant insiders call Valentine’s Day a two-by-two holiday because of the prevalence of two-person reservations. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday for dining out, with 25% of Americans heading to restaurants with their sweethearts. Even fast-food restaurants like White Castle have been known to take reservations, and fine dining establishments often fill their books months in advance.

Because of that, many couples are opting out of the chaos and instead choosing to have a romantic dinner at home or a picnic at the beach. That way, they can control everything from what music is playing to how their dinner is paced.

To keep up with the volume on this major restaurant delivery holiday, consider offering a streamlined three-course menu you can execute en masse. Keep options limited to dishes you know transport well and advertise the menu along with a special gift for the happy couple, like a single long-stemmed rose or some branded chocolates for dessert.

3. Mother’s Day

For years, Mother’s Day has been the most popular day for people to dine out. Now experts are predicting the holiday is going to get even crazier, with reservations expected to soar 64% over pre-pandemic levels. Families are eager to celebrate the ladies in their lives with delicious food that nobody in the house has to cook themselves.

Read our blog post to see the plethora of ways to play into that excitement, including Mother’s Day restaurant specials and promo ideas like tucking kid-friendly extras such as stickers and Mother’s Day coloring sheets into delivery bags. Don’t forget to use social media and your email list to let people know what you’ve got planned, too.

4. Memorial Day

Most people associate Memorial Day parties with cookouts and backyard BBQs, but not everyone has a grill or wants to man the steaks rather than chatting with guests. It’s no coincidence that May is also National Barbecue Month, and Memorial Day also kicks off hot dog season, with Americans downing 818 hot dogs per second (for a total of 7 billion) between the last weekend in May and Labor Day.

Adjust your delivery promotions accordingly. Focus on barbecue, if that makes sense for your restaurant, and emphasize cookout friendly foods like shareable plates and handheld items. This is also a good time to promote your catering options. You can use Grubhub’s promotion and loyalty tools to share catering discounts with consumers looking for affordable ways to feed a crowd.

This is another opportunity for NYC-based restaurants to offer alcohol delivery. Restaurant delivery orders that contain alcohol tend to have a total price point $14-$15 higher than average.

5. Father’s Day

An estimated 50 million people dine out for Father’s Day, with 67% choosing to indulge in dinner at a restaurant followed by 24% eating lunch and 11% opting for breakfast. This is one holiday that restaurants tend to under-leverage, meaning there’s an opportunity to cater to dads using a little creativity.

In addition to focusing on classic dad meals like steak, potatoes and BBQ, consider offering delivery kits for DIY meals dads can make with their kids. This could be the steaks, sides, and dessert ingredients necessary to whip up a meal for four. Or, you can do an interactive kid-friendly kit like cookie decorating or mini pizzas that’s as much about the food as they are about the experience.

6. Labor Day

Labor Day is when we all say goodbye to summer and start to look forward to all the fun that comes with fall. Many people are taking a minute to indulge in a last-minute burst of warm weather by barbecuing poolside or taking a picnic to the park or the beach.

Tailor your Labor Day promotions to what customers are already feeling. A Farewell to Summer Celebration allows for tons of great promo ideas on social media. Imagine brightly colored graphics, snapshots from the restaurant’s summer events, and a few strategic mentions of your Labor Day delivery deals like offering 15% off with a themed code like BYEBYESUMMER.

7. Halloween

Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins — oh my! While some people are fine with just having candy for dinner on Halloween, others take the smart route and order restaurant delivery. This way, they have a nutritious food foundation to hold up all those mini candy bars and lollipops.

Of the roughly two-thirds of Americans who celebrate Halloween, 66% celebrate by staying home and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Target that demographic with delivery promotions that promise food brought right to consumers’ front door. No tricks, only treats, and no need to navigate streets already flooded with costumed kiddos either.

8. Thanksgiving

Americans consume a whopping 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving Day, and a surprising amount of that poultry is anything but home cooked.

Many restaurants are helping consumers eliminate some of the stress surrounding the holidays by offering meal packages like Thanksgiving Dinner in a Box that can be picked up for carryout or even delivered. While some eateries stick to the classics like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole, others tweak traditional Thanksgiving dishes to better reflect their normal style. 

For vegan restaurants, this could look like an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms followed by roasted beets over creamy polenta and a kale salad studded with toasted nuts and pomegranates. For a restaurant in New Orleans, a Thanksgiving menu might include a gumbo starter, alligator sausage stuffing, and blackened chickens instead of turkey.

It also helps to keep in mind that it’s pretty common for people to skip the cooking on Thanksgiving Eve as they’re busy preparing dishes for the next day’s feast. Thanksgiving Eve happens to be National Pizza Day as well as Friendsgiving. 

Craft your own seasonal menu that speaks to the consumers who either don’t want to cook or who don’t have the space to, then add in a night-before promo like package deals for pizza and drinks to entertain friends enjoying the calm before the storm.

9. New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve in 2019 brought a 36% uptick in takeout orders versus the week prior to the holiday, with most customers choosing to skip over the fancy stuff in favor of comfort food like burgers, sandwiches and wraps, pizza, and fried chicken.

To better prepare for the onslaught, consider offering customers an incentive for placing their order early, like 15% off if they order a week in advance for delivery on New Year’s Eve (pre-paid, of course). Family-style platters of classic NYE appetizers like charcuterie and shrimp cocktail along with sandwich platters are also safe bets for catering to larger crowds. 

Don’t skimp on the sweets — for a lot of people, this is the last day to indulge before New Year’s resolutions kick in, so promising a free dessert with the order of two entrees or a special selection of cookies or chocolates good for NYE only could be a big attraction.

How Grubhub can help you make the most of the biggest restaurant delivery days in the biz

Partnering with Grubhub gives restaurant owners and operators just like you access to a wide array of tools and educational resources designed to help you maximize engagement, traction, and profits. 

Grubhub’s promotions and loyalty tools guide you through the process of targeting your ideal customer, using smart marketing and plug-and-play promotions that have seen other Grubhub partners generate an average of 72% more new customers.

With Grubhub Marketplace, your restaurant gets in front of local diners who otherwise may never have heard of your food or who may have forgotten how delicious your menu truly is. Seasonal promotions are an excuse to remind everyone that you’re there, you have something incredible to offer, and that they can sample it again at a discount.

For more tips on how you can use Grubhub to promote popular holidays along with a list of the social media holidays of summer 2022, check out our post on holiday promo ideas.

What’s the best food delivery service for your restaurant?

Curious which food delivery service is best? With so many food delivery apps on the market, there are endless potential partners for you to consider. But not all restaurant delivery services offer the same access to potential diners or the same tools to help you scale your business and achieve your goals. 

Using the best food delivery service available can help you tap into promotional opportunities like major holidays. Here are a few things to consider as you decide which food delivery platform is right for you.

Brand name and customer reach in your area

It’s no use joining a third-party delivery service if it won’t get you in front of the diners that truly matter. With nearly 163 million Americans eating out each week — 64% of the country’s adults — it’s crucial to reach as many potential guests as possible. 

Grubhub Marketplace is the largest marketplace of its kind, connecting restaurants with more than 33 million diners eager to find the source of their next delivery order. In fact, in our 2022 restaurant industry report, nearly 9 out of 10 independent restaurant operators surveyed who use Grubhub agree that the platform delivers high ROI to their restaurant – higher than the competitor average.

To gauge how Grubhub is doing in your area, log onto the marketplace and check out nearby restaurants already using Grubhub and see their success for yourself.

Restaurant fees and profit margins

You’re joining a third-party food delivery service to help bolster your profits, not hurt them. Some delivery partners are primarily interested in their own bottom line, but Grubhub believes in joint success, empowering restaurants so we can all share in a more bountiful future.

Grubhub Marketplace offers restaurants three different levels of membership, ranging from Basic to Premium. You control what you pay and which marketing tools you access so you can tailor your investment to the needs of your restaurant. 

In addition to reaching your share of those 33+ million diners, you also get an Account Advisor and access to delivery services so you’re well on your way to reaching the next level of success.

Your customers, your data

It’s hard to take your online delivery and takeout services up a notch unless you have access to key data points used in strategic decision making. 

Grubhub Direct not only helps you launch your own ordering site, it also helps generate diner data you can use to fuel your marketing efforts. And it’s all free, with no commissions ever. Just promote your unique food service delivery link and watch as the customers and data roll in.

Delivery boundaries

One way to save on delivery fees is to use your own in-house team. Though this approach won’t work for everyone, restaurants that do have the bandwidth to oversee self-delivery can add that to the other delivery service options including Grubhub delivery, supplemental delivery, and pickup.

Grubhub delivery is a proven system, too. As of 2022, 77% of consumers surveyed who use Grubhub highly rate Grubhub’s delivery speed. 

Make the most of major delivery days with Grubhub

Top restaurant delivery days hold major promise for restaurants looking for ways to broaden their customer base and increase revenue, but sometimes it takes a strong partner to make those goals a reality.

Partnering with a third-party delivery app gives you access to tools, knowledge, and a built-in audience. At Grubhub, that means joining a platform that’s already a proven success. Now it’s your turn.

To experience the power of Grubhub firsthand, sign up today and get ready for your next round of holiday delivery promotions.