by David Klemt

Program for Unique Holidays: January 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you kick off the new year with your January holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and this month is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our December 2023 holidays list, click here.

January 2: Thank God It’s Monday Day

We all know the Monday trope: It’s the day of the week to fear, inspiring the Sunday Scaries.

Well, this month encourages people to change how they look at the start of the workweek. Your venue can play a role, offering F&B promotions and entertainment programming that puts people in good spirits on a Monday.

January 3: National Fruitcake Toss Day

Another trope? Fruitcake somehow becoming a rock star during the end-of-year holiday season. I suppose this divisive dessert gets the “rock” part right…

If you have the space, you can hold a fruitcake tossing competition. Nobody’s going to eat the fruitcakes they were given, so they may as extract some joy from them.

January 9: National Cassoulet Day

This French dish is warm and comforting. And according to Tastewise, social conversations were up 20 percent in 2023.

However, less than one percent of restaurants have cassoulet on their menus in the US. Could be an excellent opportunity for savvy operator and kitchen team.

January 13: National Peach Melba Day

Each December, Pantone announces the next year’s Color of the Year. At this point, it’s a tradition.

For 2024, that color is Peach Fuzz. So, it makes sense to put peach dishes and drinks on your menu. The Peach Melba is a dessert consisting of peach wedges resting in raspberry sauce, accompanied by vanilla ice cream. However, there’s no reason your kitchen team can’t make this their own by getting creative with ice cream flavors and other accompaniments.

January 14: Start of National Mocktail Week

This is an excellent way to help guests celebrate Dry January. However, it’s important to note that some sober guests find the term “mocktail” disrespectful. I can see their point: the word has “mock” in it. So, perhaps call your celebration Alcohol-free Week, Non-alcohol Week, or Zero-ABV Week.

Either way, this is the time to dial in your zero-proof menu.

January 15: National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

Celebrating this holiday with the Peach Melba is a great way to get the most out of promoting your guests’ favorite new dessert. All you have to do is serve your Peach Melba with, you guessed it, strawberry ice cream instead of the standard vanilla.

January 20: National Cheese Lover’s Day

Getting creative to celebrate this holiday will take some effort. However, if you nail it, this promotion can be recurring and become a sought-after experience.

Wine, beer, and spirits pair with a vast array of cheeses. You can create an entire tasting experience, pairing specific cheeses with a curated selection of wines, beers, whiskeys, or other spirits. Check out this guide for pairing ideas.

January 20: National Use Your Gift Card Day

I don’t usually double up on holidays for this monthly KRG Hospitality feature, but here we are.

If your business offers gift cards, this is the day to encourage people to come in and redeem them. Send a targeted email campaign, include a link to your reservation system, and you’ll have an excellent way to track how many gift cards you can expect to show up for redemption.

January 25: Clashing Clothes Day

Why should October and December get all the dress-up fun? There’s no reason your guests have to pull out all the stops for Ugly Christmas Sweater gatherings and then wait another year to do it again.

If you pull this off well and make it a “thing,” you and your team can own Clashing Clothes Day and make it an annual promotion.

January 30: National Croissant Day

The humble but delicious, flaky croissant is a tasty canvas. Sure, you can just offer croissants, but what about going harder and offering an array of croissant sandwiches or desserts?

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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