Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's May 5, 1862, victory at the Battle of Puebla, but stateside, it’s turned into an excuse to drink margaritas and eat nachos, whatever your heritage. For many restaurant and bar operators, that means the opportunity to rack up sales.
But with all the competition out there, how can customers find their way to your operation?
To steer operators in the right direction, Technomic’s researchers took a look at the most effective Cinco de Mayo marketing trends and menu promotions. Scroll through the slides to discover what works.
1. Think beyond margaritas
Today’s drinkers are inspired by the craft beer and cocktail trends to expand their horizons, and Cinco de Mayo is a good opportunity to entice them. The Paloma, a lighter alternative, also has a base of tequila, but it’s freshened up with grapefruit and sparkling wine or soda. Rosa Mexicano, a fine-dining concept with 10 locations, mixes up its version with tequila, ruby red grapefruit juice and Mexican Jarritos soda for the sparkle.
This is also the time of year when some breweries are releasing themed beers brewed especially for the occasion. St. Elmo Brewing Co., a brewpub in Austin, Texas, debuts its Senor Bueno Mexican Lager in early May. Limited-time drink offers like these spur purchase, according to Technomic.
2. Create menu signatures
But since margaritas are a must-have, give the drinks a signature spin. Last year, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom combined its version with sangria, while Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar offered a $100 Prime Margarita made with ultra-premium tequila, garnished with a caramelized lime slice and served in a Baccarat crystal glass, boxed for customers to take home. Both promotions generated buzz, as could others that fall somewhere between these two extremes.
On the food side, fast casual The Melt launched the Queso de Mayo grilled cheese sandwich at its San Francisco locations. Its made with avocado, smoked bacon, pickled jalapenos and pepper jack cheese on artisan French bread. The LTO turned into a customer favorite and has since moved to the permanent menu.
3. Bundle catering deals
Cinco de Mayo has become a big catering day, both for office parties and gatherings at home. Several chains have jumped on this opportunity with special packages and deals; expect more in 2019 as catering continues to grow as a profit center.
• Chipotle Mexican Grill highlighted its Burritos by the Box and offered a $40 gift card with catering orders of $400 and up.
•Dickey’s Barbecue Pit promoted its Taco Platter on its website for Cinco de Mayo festivities.
•Moe’s Southwest Grill marketed its catering for Cinco de Mayo throughout the week by offering $5 in Moe Bucks with an order for 20 people or more. Plus, chips and guacamole or salsa were promoted as a must-add to every catering order.
•Qdoba Mexican Eats publicized its build-your-own Mexican catering bar for Cinco de Mayo office and home parties, with all the essentials for everything from bowls to nachos and salads.
Technomic Ignite menu data offers access to menus at approximately 1,500 U.S. restaurants. Technomic’s Consumer Trend Reportsprovide information and searchable online tools to help you understand how consumers are shifting their beverage and consumption habits. These products are available for purchase at Technomic.com.