There was a time when restaurants and bars would avoid election day specials in hopes that they wouldn’t alienate their customers. However, with the amount of publicity they can now receive for running these specials, many bars and restaurants are no longer concerned. With a full house and delightfully exciting specials, large chains and independent businesses alike, are now capitalizing on the fun rather than ignoring it.
A great way to engage your customers with election specials is offering classic American dishes and designating them per political party. Take burgers for example, you can offer a blue plate or a red plate with two different types burgers. Or you can name them something more specific to each of the candidates.
Another classic American dish would be apple pie and ice cream. The ice cream flavors will designate which party preference your guest has. And of course, you could offer them vanilla if they are undecided.
When Election Day comes around, things can get rather heated. Cool people off with some refreshing and fun cocktails. Bartenders everywhere have begun to create a fun twist on election themed drinks. For example, The Oval Room in DC offers two specialty drinks called “Build That Wall” or “Madam President”. While some bartenders (Like the ones at Bastille in DC) feel confident enough to name drinks like #Crooked for Hillary and the Deluded Little Manhattan for Donald Trump - others have taken a more mild approach by naming their drinks of off past historic presidents. Some example cocktails from The Rye in DC include: Thyme to Decide, Pacific Blue and The Green Card.
Besides cocktails, you may also put an electoral spin on wine and beer. Using flights, you can do a selection of beer or wine for each candidate. These should be made up from beer or wines made in each candidate's significant locations.
Once you have people ordering these specials, you’ll want to tally up the items as if they were votes and update them daily to reflect your “predicted” win. Each day you can list the current tally on a menu board and on your social media and encourage your followers to “come in and vote” which essentially means “come in and eat” or “come in and drink”.
Many Americans tune in to watch the Presidential Debates and often leave bars and restaurants empty and slow for business. By broadcasting the debates and by allowing your guests to “cast their votes” by ordering from your menu, you’ll be sure to have a full house. After all, that sounds so much more fun than sitting at home on your couch!
Running great Election Day specials is wonderful so long as people know about it. Make sure you promote your specials, including the daily tally. This will provide you with daily marketing content and will engage with your loyal customers.
We hope that this article has been of benefit for you. We‘ve been helping small businesses succeed since 2004 and provide them a variety of resources. To check out more helpful tools and tricks, check out our industry page for your business to see how you can continue to grow your business and reach your optimal potential.