The 4th of July is one of the most celebrated holidays in America. Friends and family gather to eat food, enjoy each other’s company, and join in on the holiday's fun, festive activities. It is also a great opportunity for those in the foodservice industry to engage with their community and drive up their sales while celebrating. From ideas on how to celebrate at your restaurant to marketing tips and even menu inspiration, this guide breaks down how to make this Independence Day a success.
Ways To Celebrate 4th Of July At Your Establishment
There are many ways for your establishment to participate in the 4th of July festivities. Below are some ideas for celebrating this holiday at your foodservice establishment.
Host A BBQ
People love going to a barbecue on the Fourth. But, in some cases, individuals may not want to host one themselves. Having a barbecue at your restaurant gives people in the area a chance to get together to celebrate this holiday without the worry or stress of planning a gathering themselves. If your space permits, you can set up a grill and some tables outside your establishment. This will help guests feel welcomed and at home, as if they were at a friend’s or family member’s event. You can also serve traditional barbecue foods alongside favorites from your regular menu. When guests arrive, they can purchase vouchers or tickets for food and drinks. Having an outdoor barbecue can help foster a sense of community and bring in customers eager to celebrate.
Contests Or Promotions
If there’s one thing that is sure to get customers’ attention, it’s free stuff. People are always looking for an opportunity to snag something for free, so why not give them that chance this 4th of July! There are plenty of ways to do this where it stays on theme and still fosters a sense of community and celebration.
One idea is hosting a costume contest where people have to dress up in their best red, white, and blue attire or most patriotic costume. The prize of the contest can be a free appetizer or a coupon for their next visit. Other contest options can be having guests come up with a 4th of July inspired name for one of your dishes, a hot dog eating contest, or a coloring contest for kids.
Guests will also appreciate promotions and giveaways. You can offer promotions to encourage people to visit your establishment, and they can all still be on theme. For example, you can do $4 off beers or a regular-priced menu item. Some places offer a bucket of beers or seltzers for $17.76 as a nod to the year America was founded, or a raffle to win $50 gift cards to represent the 50 states. Other options can include vouchers for free items, buy one get one free offerings, or kids eat free. As long as it fits into your budget, this can be a great way to drive more foot traffic into your restaurant and show appreciation to your customers.
Special Menu Items
This holiday can be a fun opportunity to showcase your restaurant’s creative side. Some people love the idea of limited time or unique offerings. You can come up with a fun new menu item that is only available the day or week of the 4th of July. For example, you can come up with a new red, white, or blue cocktail or a special menu item dessert that is adorned with festive sprinkles or frosting.
If your restaurant doesn’t usually serve foods traditionally associated with the 4th of July such as hamburgers, hot dogs, or baked beans, you can consider offering them on this day only. You can put your twist on these classics, which stays true to your restaurant but also inspires new menu offerings. Making the recipe your own, combines the feel and flavor your guests love about your establishment with the nostalgic admiration people have for these traditional Independence Day foods.
Put Up 4th Of July Decorations
This may be one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to get into the festive spirit. Decorating your establishment will not only draw attention to your spot, but can also be a fun activity for you and your staff. You can put up American flags, plant flowers in red, white, and blue flower pots, or hang garlands around your dining room. It can also be as simple as opting for USA-themed or red, white, and blue products for your food and drinks. You can get as creative as you want with the decorations to fit your restaurant’s atmosphere. Decorating not only appeals to your customers but can also catch the attention of passersby and encourage them to stop in. It helps show you’re celebrating the holiday and can also become a fun photo opportunity for guests!
People often celebrate all day on the 4th of July; they barbecue, hang out during the day, and typically watch a fireworks show at night. That leaves a full day of opportunities to engage with the community and offer different entertainment options to your guests. You can plan various activities throughout the day — or even just one unique activity your restaurant may not usually offer to get people excited and involved.
You can host a local artist or band to perform at your restaurant; this helps you connect with the artist and their fans, who can become potential regulars at your establishment. Some other options include an open mic event or karaoke. If you’re looking for something that requires a little less planning, you can also have more simple yet still fun offerings. You can provide guests with board games to play, have outdoor activities like cornhole, or host a 4th of July-themed trivia game.
Another special offering you can consider is giving out items to your guests. You can purchase mini American flags and hand them out to those who stop by, as well as buttons, party hats, or any other items that can get customers in the spirit. You want your establishment to stand out and let guests to know they will have an enjoyable time at your place. Additionally, you want to offer things that may not be offered every day at your restaurant, but still capture the essence of what your place has to offer.
Offer Meal Kits Or Take Out
Meal kits and take out are great ways to get some business, even from those who plan on staying in this 4th of July. By offering prepacked, prepared foods to your customers, you can still reach customers and make a sale. Family-style meal kits offer your customers the opportunity to enjoy the foods they love from your establishment from the comfort of their homes. Some people may choose to avoid the crowds or prefer a more quiet, intimate celebration with their friends and families. Pre-made meal kits are easy for them to cook and serve without the hassle of preparing them themselves. Even if your establishment doesn’t typically offer take out, you may want to consider it for those who want to stay home on this holiday. Loyal customers and regulars will look to your restaurant for this option if they do choose to stay in this 4th of July, so by appealing to them, they will continue to support your establishment.
4th of July Marketing Ideas
In order to get people to come to your establishment, you need to ensure they know all you have to offer. This means advertising as much as you can and through many different channels. Marketing can be beneficial leading up to an event such as the 4th of July because it can encourage guests to celebrate at your restaurant. Below are some ideas for using social media to promote your event:
- Post a countdown: One way to get people excited about the event is to post a countdown. Every day leading up to the Fourth, you can post a countdown on your social media pages to build anticipation and include details like promotions, activities, or menu items. Social media allows you to remind patrons of everything you're offering for the holiday.
- Showcase your view of the fireworks: If your local area hosts a fireworks display and your restaurant has a good view or is within close proximity to the show, that’s definitely something to highlight! You can post a picture showing guests how close your establishment is and let them know your spot is a great place to hang out before the fireworks start.
- Encourage people to book ahead: You can provide a phone number or post a link to a site where guests can reserve their spot ahead of time. Booking a reservation can build excitement for your guests, and lets you know how many people to expect on the day of. You can even consider offering a discount or a promotional item to those who reserve their spot in advance.
If social media isn’t your thing, word of mouth is a tried and true advertising method. In the days leading up to the holiday, you can remind customers who come into your restaurant of all the offerings you’ll have. You can also put up fliers or have a sign when guests walk in. Make sure your staff is also spreading the word when they speak to customers.
4th Of July Menu Ideas
This Independence Day, you’ll want your restaurant to stand out from the crowd, especially when it comes to food. Whether you want to give your favorite menu item a 4th of July inspired twist or create a brand new, limited-edition offering, there are many opportunities to wow your guests. You’ll want to catch people’s attention, but more importantly, appeal to their taste buds. Below are some ideas on how to make your 4th of July menu sparkle.
4th of July Appetizers & Dishes
- Red, white, and blue fruit skewers: Skewers of strawberries, blueberries, and your choice of a white or light-colored food with a side of dipping sauce. Feel free to get creative with which white food you’d like to include: cubes of angel food cake, bananas, or marshmallows.
- Burger and fry foil packs: place formed beef patties into individual sheets of foil, topped with fries, cheese, and other toppings. Then close the foil at the top, surrounding the contents and either bake or grill until cooked.
- Corn on the cob: Heat up some corn on the grill with butter and some seasonings for a classic 4th of July staple.
4th of July Drinks
- Frozen margaritas or daiquiris: frozen strawberry or watermelon margaritas and daiquiris for their red color and keeps guests refreshed on a hot summer day.
- Sangria: red or white wine sangria with strawberries, blueberries, and other red or blue fruit mixed in.
- Root beer float: a classic childhood drink of root beer (can be substituted for another soda) mixed with vanilla ice cream.
- Shirley temple: sprite and grenadine in a glass with ice, and topped off with a maraschino cherry.
4th of July Desserts
- 4th of July milkshakes: Blueberry or strawberry milkshakes topped off with whipped cream and star-shaped sprinkles.
- Red, white, and blue cupcakes: Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and blue sprinkles.
- Star-spangled cookies: Star-shaped cookies decorated with red, white, or blue frosting and sprinkles.
- Apple pie a la mode: Classic apple pie topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and served with an American flag toothpick.
Make Your 4th Of July Unforgettable!
The 4th of July is a holiday that brings family and friends together to enjoy each other’s company. It’s a great way for restaurants to engage with their local community, join in on the fun, as well as gain new and potentially returning customers. There are plenty of ways to make this July 4th memorable at your foodservice establishment, whether it’s creating a new menu item or hosting a contest for guests. With these tips, you can create an environment where customers feel welcomed and comfortable.