Sure, it’s a made-up holiday, just like all the hundreds of other of food-related celebrations— days, weeks, even months—that clog the calendar. But so what? Feb. 22’s designation as National Margarita Day delivers a made-to-order promotional opportunity for full-service restaurants. Can you get ready by next week?
For most food-related holidays, operators have to put their thinking caps on to concoct appropriately themed specials customers will actually order. Two such days on this month’s calendar illustrate how big a stretch this can be: Feb. 12’s National Plum Pudding Day and National Banana Bread Day on Feb. 23. Good luck boosting revenue with those.
But it’s not a problem on National Margarita Day. This one comes in with a built-in audience, whether you’re selling the drink itself or some of the clever dessert and starter spin-offs that are margarita-based.
One of the biggest celebrants is Jimmy Buffet’s 17-unit Margaritaville chain. It sponsors a margarita recipe contest, with the winning drink being served at the restaurant at all of the chain’s U.S. locations on Feb. 22.
Margaritaville offers other drink specials and giveaways, of course, although some of the prizes seem a little weak. Customers who can prove they were born on the supposed birthday of the margarita, 2/22/1922, receive complimentary food and beverage all day. How much will these lucky 90-year-olds will actually consume? Guests whose name is Margarita or Rita qualify for a prize, too. But it’s only a free bottle of Margaritaville Margarita Mix.
At least customers can be sure the drink will be made right at this restaurant. The Margaritaville chain serves more than four million Margaritas per year, one million of them at its Las Vegas location alone.
Nationally, Americans consume 185,000 margaritas per hour. That’s a huge number, but it helps explain why your restaurant should participate on National Margarita Day. They’re popular and they’re not hard to make. Stick with the proven 7:4:3 formula (50 percent tequila, 29 percent Triple Sec, 21 percent fresh lime juice) and you can’t go wrong.
Or try one of the hundreds of variations mixologists have come up with over the years. One of our favorite high-end versions is this one: restaurantospitality.com/beverages/lookbetternaked_margarita/index.html. It’s from Chicago’s Adam Seger. There are plenty of other versions on the RH website as well.
The RH website also offers some clever margarita-themed dessert items, like the avocado margarita cream parfait mini: restaurant-hospitality.com/recipes/desserts/avocado_margarita_parfait_0809/ and starter ideas such as a king crab and cantaloupe margarita restaurant-hospitality.com/center_of_the_plate/rh_imp_18407/index.html.
Full-service restaurants already know how to promote Mexican-themed holidays and turn them into one-shot revenue boosts. Many find success on Cinco de Mayo, and some are learning how to do the same on Day of the Dead, although that Nov. 2 holiday is more challenging. But National Margarita Day seems like a guaranteed moneymaker to us. Your customers are ready to celebrate a little after enduring this long winter. Just give them something good to spend money on and they’ll spend it with you.