5 Tips for Every Restaurant to Have a Festive Cinco de Mayo

Written by Kristi Turner, CMO of Compeat, for Food Newsfeed

Spring is here, which means Cinco de Mayo is on the horizon. The holiday officially celebrates Mexico defeating France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862 and unofficially provides people with a reason to gather with their friends and explore local restaurants. While your customers may not be sipping cerveza on the beach, there are plenty of ways to bring the flair, celebration and inebriation of Cinco de Mayo to your establishment.

Here are five ways to attract the crowds and stand out among the competition:

  1. Start with Brunch. Cinco de Mayo lands on a Sunday this year, meaning it’s an ample opportunity for patrons to start the day with a festive brunch. Layer in themed dishes like your own take on huevos rancheros or offer unlimited refills on Mexican Sunrises or Tequila Sunrise Mimosas to attract and entertain the lively brunch crowd. To help keep your guests upright, keep the water flowing and establish a cut-off time to switch to other specials.
  2. Offer a tequila tasting. The rise of craft cocktails over the past few years has also led to the rise of formal restaurant tastings. And while whiskey may steal the headlines, Nielson CGA recently reported margaritas are the top-selling cocktail in America. While they cost $9.49 on average – almost 50 cents more than other cocktails – more than half of drinking age customers say it’s their go-to drink of choice. Offer a tequila tasting, followed by a discount on a margarita made with a guest’s favorite of the mix. Promote it across your website, tables and social channels by appealing to craft cocktail aficionados. Market it as a one-day-only (or one-weekend-only) opportunity to celebrate and learn about this agave-made spirit.
  3. Host a taco eating contest. To capitalize on the competitiveness of your guests, host a taco eating contest. Charge an entry fee, have the staff prep their ingredients in bulk and offer prizes to the winners including a comped way-too-large meal. Pair this with drink specials and happy hour prices to encourage a rowdy crowd of spectators. You can augment the atmosphere with swings at adult piñatas and coupons giveaways like a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée to encourage return customers.
  4. Swap out regular desserts for Mexican desserts. Cinco de Mayo gives you a chance to expand your offerings and incorporate themed desserts. As a nod to Mexico’s victory, replace your traditional desserts and pastries with dessert nachos, sopapillas, Cinco de Chili cupcakes or authentic postres like flan and churros. The added variety can tempt customers into sticking around a little longer and spending more.
  5. Set the mood with music.  A Mariachi band is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a Mexican celebration.  Depending on the city in which you live, you may be able to easily find a local Mariachi band or Spanish musicians to serenade customers.  If live music isn’t an option, download or create your own Cinco De Mayo playlist from streaming services such has Spotify or Pandora to get set the mood for your fiesta.

Cinco de Mayo can be a great opportunity for your restaurant to expand its customer base, generate extra revenue and create a lively environment to build loyalty that translates into repeat customers. By following these tips, your restaurant can attract guests looking to gather and celebrate on the 5th of May.

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