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Father’s Day Restaurant Specials and Promotion Ideas

Father’s Day Restaurant Specials and Promotion Ideas

While not as notoriously hectic for restaurants as Mother’s Day, there’s a lot of revenue to be made on Father’s Day if you know what restaurant specials and promos to offer.

We surveyed 629 people from across the US to find out how they prefer to spend Father’s Day. Turns out that roughly 23% of respondents plan to go out for dinner while 24% are planning a backyard BBQ. 

This is great news for omni-channel restaurants that offer customers a consistent and seamless experience across all of their channels, including dine-in, take out, online ordering and delivery platforms. These restaurants will have the chance to capture the business of both dine-in guests and those staying home this Father’s Day. 

Struggling to come up with ideas for unique Father’s Day restaurant specials and promos? Read on for some of our favorites.

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Ideas for Father’s Day restaurant promos

Dads eat free (or for 50% off)

A popular choice that never gets old, you could offer dads a free or heavily discounted meal with the purchase of at least one full-priced meal. This is a simple yet effective promotion that can drive significant foot traffic into your restaurant, ideally bringing in entire families to dine with you. 

That said, this promo is probably not a good fit for all restaurants and verticals. If you’re an upscale or fine dining restaurant, for example, a free meal or 50% off promo could end up costing you a fortune, as well as clash with your brand identity. Any restaurant looking to run this kind of promo should be careful to look at the offer from every angle before moving forward.

Gift card promo

Offer a special deal on gift cards, such as “Buy a $50 gift card for Dad, get a $10 card for yourself.” Or, consider a gift card bonus promo that lets customers get more bang for their buck. In Lightspeed Restaurant, for example, you could create a gift bonus program that automatically adds an extra percentage—let’s say 10%—to a customer’s gift card when they load a specific amount on the card—let’s say $100.

In this scenario, a customer loading $100 onto a gift card would receive an additional 10%, bringing their total card balance to $110. This encourages sales and also brings the buyer back to the restaurant. 

Learn more about running a gift bonus program in Lightspeed Restaurant

In the same vein as the gift card promo, if your restaurant has a loyalty program, offering double the loyalty points for meals purchased on Father’s Day encourages repeat visits and rewards loyal customers for choosing you as their Father’s Day destination. 

Collaborations with other businesses or men’s charities

Partner with local businesses that cater to men’s interests—barbers, golf courses, bike shops, etc.—to create package deals or giveaways. For example, “Dine with us and get 15% off at [local store].” 

Alternatively, you could partner with a charity that focuses on men’s health. For example, for every $20 spent your restaurant will donate $1 to a non-profit organization that supports men’s health, such as the Movember Foundation.


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Give dads a special gift

Whether it’s a $10 gift card with purchase, free samples from your food or drink menu, or free branded merch like a bottle opener or t-shirt, small tokens of appreciation can earn your restaurant word-of-mouth referrals and some serious credit with dads.

Alternatively, you could run a contest and let dads enter for a chance to win a big, special gift, like a night at the cinema with the whole family, or a free round of golf at a local golf club. 


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Open mic night (Dad jokes edition)

Host an evening where dads can share their best (or worst) dad jokes. For example:

  • Did you hear about the kidnapping at school? They woke him up.
  • How many apples can you grow on a tree? All of them.
  • What’s the best way to catch a fish? Ask someone to throw it to you.

(Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.) 

You could offer discounts or prizes for the best (or worst) joke, judged by audience applause.

Themed trivia night 

Host a trivia night with hand-picked categories catering to men’s and father’s special interests like the Roman Empire, politics, sports, etc, and include questions about famous dads in pop culture and literature. (Of course, not all dads are interested in the same things, but you get the idea.) 

You could also make it really fun and silly with questions or contests like “Guess what the thermostat is at”, or “Lead me through an oil change”. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it!

Make it a games night

Adding some friendly competition to your restaurant’s Father’s Day festivities is a great way to keep the whole family entertained on Father’s Day. Some easy to implement ideas include:

  • Lawn games. If you have the space, set up lawn games like bocce or corn toss, or oversized table games like tic tac toe or jenga.
  • Table games. Short on space? Try trivia or bingo. If you don’t have the time to organize a game yourself, there are companies you can hire to come in, set up and host the games for you. Don’t forget to provide prizes for winners, like a free appetizer or drink.
  • Raffles. For an easy to manage option, offer a raffle ticket to each table for every $10-15 spent. Prizes can include a free meal for four at a later date, a Father’s Day themed gift basket or a prize pack put together with items from your restaurant and other local businesses.

Restaurants with games are trending right now, so this may be the perfect excuse to test it out and see if it could be a regular part of your concept.

Social media contests

Leverage your social media platforms to run a photo contest encouraging your community to share their favorite snaps with Dad. You could ask followers to share a memory, a funny or sentimental photo, or pics of Dad making or eating his favorite food (even better if that food is at your restaurant). 

Take the time to think about:

  • What will resonate (and what is the emotion you want to evoke)? 
  • What is shareable (and most likely to generate user-generated content)?
  • What makes sense for your brand (and supports your brand story)?

Create a custom hashtag and offer an exciting prize like a free dinner, gift card or a basket of hand-picked merchandise from your restaurant’s online store.

Ideas for Father’s Day restaurant specials and menus

Launch a special “Dad’s Favorites” menu

As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A whopping 32% of our survey respondents said that Dad wants good old-fashioned meat and potatoes for dinner, so why not craft a “Dad’s Favorites” menu with specials like steak, surf and turf and/or BBQ prime rib? 

See if you can come up with unique and playful names like “The Grill Master Combo” or “Papa’s Pilsner Pairing” for beer-infused dishes. (You know how dads love puns.)

Amp up your beer selection

Based on our survey results, it looks like a lot of dads (37%) want to celebrate their special day with a cold beer. What’s surprising is how few of them want to drink anything else; believe it or not, 28% of dads would order nothing before ordering a cocktail or glass of wine! 

So when you’re planning your Father’s Day restaurant specials, consider tapping a new craft beer or partnering with a local brewery to do something special this Father’s Day, like a special tasting event, branded merch, coupons for a free brewery tour, etc. 

Looking for social media inspiration for Father’s Day? It doesn’t get much better than this post from Collective Arts Brewing!

Forget brunch, do lunch

It looks like most dads will be sleeping in on Father’s Day since 51% of survey respondents say they’re planning to celebrate Dad with an evening meal. Another 28% are planning to dine-in at a restaurant or get takeout for lunch, which means restaurateurs may want to focus their time and resources on lunch and dinner rather than a fancy brunch. 

Crafting lunch and dinner Father’s Day restaurant specials and offering a great beer selection might just be the perfect combination for families who want a more casual celebration. 

Consider a prix fixe menu

A thoughtfully designed prix fixe menu ensures that fathers feel valued and appreciated on their special day, while keeping things simple. Consider incorporating classic dishes that evoke a sense of comfort and nostalgia, while weaving in innovative twists for the modern epicurean Dad.

Additionally, a prix fixe menu allows you to manage your inventory effectively, streamline your kitchen operations, and optimize your staff’s performance, ensuring a smooth and efficient service.

Don’t forget about take out and delivery

While many families opt to stay home for Father’s Day, that doesn’t mean your restaurant can’t still be part of their celebration. Offer (and heavily promote) take-out specials to help your customers supplement their home-cooked meals.

For example:

  • BBQ kits. Offer a meal kit-style box with meat, sauces, sides and instructions for cooking a restaurant-quality meal at home.
  • Family-style side dishes. Let guests focus on their grilling while you take care of the side dishes. Offer trays of salads, roasted veggies, side dishes and desserts to help take the stress out of planning a big meal.
  • Stock the bar. If to-go alcohol is allowed in your area, put together a kit with your most popular beers and cocktails. If alcohol is not available to go where you live, offer mixers, mocktails and other non-alcoholic options.

Great example of a Father’s Day restaurant special for take out and delivery

In 2020, Call Your Mother Deli put together the “Big Poppa bagel platter,”  a package of 4 bagels and toppings. Curated  specifically for Father’s Day, customers were invited to pre-order the box and either pick it up or have it delivered. 

Promoting your Father’s Day restaurant specials

Once you know what your Father’s Day restaurant specials and promos are going to be, you need to create a marketing plan to get the word out about it. Otherwise, your promos and specials won’t achieve your objectives—which are to reach new customers, reward customer loyalty and drive sales.

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful and affordable tools in your business’s toolbox. With the right idea and approach, your social platforms can get butts in seats for little to no monetary spend, while also helping you build your brand and an engaged community. 

For best results, you may want to shore up your organic social campaign with at least some paid social ads—or invest in a more traditional marketing medium like printed flyers or radio ads. Learn more about how to win with social media with our Advanced Digital Marketing Guide for Restaurants

Remember that a good marketing strategy can take time. It’s a good idea to start planning your Father’s Day restaurant specials and promos as soon as you’ve wrapped up your Mother’s Day promos. This will give you time to gather materials—such as images and graphics—and execute your plan across all of your chosen marketing channels. 

Before launching your Father’s Day marketing campaign, make sure you take the time to decide how you will track its success. Ask yourself:

  • What metrics will you use to determine if your plan achieved its objectives?
  • Where will you get these metrics? 
  • What data and insights are available to you natively in your restaurant point of sale? In your tech stack?

Lightspeed’s Advanced Insights turns data into actionable steps that enable restaurants to make better business decisions. Learn more about Advanced Insights.

Regional Father’s Day trends

Among our survey respondents, we found some interesting regional trends that differed from the national average. If you own a restaurant in one of the areas below, you may want to keep these statistics in mind when planning your Father’s Day specials.

  • New England. Nationally, 51% of families prefer to celebrate Dad during dinner, but New England is more likely than any other region to celebrate Dad in the morning: 36% of local respondents say they plan to eat brunch or breakfast together. Looks like Northeastern chefs may need to focus on a brunch menu after all.
  • West Coast. Nationally, most dads prefer “good old-fashioned meat and potatoes” for dinner (32%) but fathers on the West Coast are more likely to have a more refined palate—only 20% want a traditional meal, with other cuisines like Mexican (12%), fresh seafood (8%) and Italian (9%), outpacing other regions. Keeping your audience in mind, you have a bit more creative license with your menu.
  • Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, PA). Nationally, fathers across the board prefer a cold beer to celebrate (37%) but dads in your area are the most likely to enjoy a cocktail (15%) than any other area. Maybe bartenders will think up a creative signature drink for Dad on Sunday?

While Mother’s Day is all about promoting your restaurant and standing out among the competition for the brunch crowd, restaurants need to get more creative with Father’s Day. By offering a variety of options for both takeout and dine-in, you can position your business as the go-to spot for any Father’s Day celebration.

​​How to streamline operations on your busiest days

With Lightspeed’s restaurant POS system and management software, you can connect and manage all of your locations and channels from a single, unified platform and provide customers with a consistent and seamless experience, whether they’re in the dining room or ordering online.

With Lightspeed’s unified platform, you can elevate and scale your business while eliminating inefficient processes and workflows—so your employees can spend more time taking care of guests, and less time needlessly running around. 

Chat with one of our experts to see how technology can help you turn tables faster, help boost revenue and grow your business with powerful insights.


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