OPINIONMarketing

Restaurants brighten menus with total solar eclipse specials

Marketing Bites: Not wanting to miss out on a marketing opportunity that won’t come around again for 20 years, big chains and indies are getting in on the celestial action.
Solar eclipse
Restaurants are looking to capitalize on a rare total solar eclipse. | Photo: Shutterstock.
Marketing Bites

Most years, the restaurant marketing calendar is pretty repetitive, dotted with real holidays and sporting events and made up “holidays” like National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day (January 14) and National Greasy Foods Day (October 25).

This year, though, there’s a rare addition.

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will darken skies along a path of totality that cuts an arc across the Eastern half of the U.S., passing through major cities including Dallas; Indianapolis; Cleveland and Rochester, New York.

It’ll be 2044 before another total solar eclipse is visible from the contiguous U.S. Restaurants, whether they’re in the path of totality or not, are looking to capitalize on the celestial excitement.

  • From Wednesday through April 8, Smoothie King is promoting its new Eclipse Berry Blitz smoothies, made with bananas, wild blueberries, apples, blueberry juice blend, white grape-lemon juice blend, protein blend and blue spirulina. Smoothie King stores in the path of the total eclipse will be handing out branded eclipse glasses with purchase of the themed smoothie.
  • Those seeking a more-potent beverage might enjoy the Perfect Eclipse Margarita, offered at Flynn Group-owned Applebee’s locations through April 14. The drink combines Patron Premium Silver Blanco Tequila and Citronge Orange Liqueur with a dash of Monin Blue Raspberry, Passion Fruit, and lemon and lime.
  • Fast-casual chicken chain Birdcall will sell a Totality Shake from April 2-8 at its Texas locations. The vanilla shake includes black tahini and Oreo crumbles, topped with whipped cream, Oreo crumbles and Oreo garnish. Restaurants will also give out eclipse glasses with each shake purchase and will host eclipse viewing parties from its parking lots.
  • Sonic Drive-In will roll out a Blackout Slush Float LTO on Monday to celebrate the eclipse. The item, which will be available through May 5, features a black-colored slush that tastes like cotton candy and dragon fruit, topped with white soft serve and blue and purple galaxy-themed sprinkles. It also comes with a pair of eclipse safety glasses. Sonic locations within the path of totality will host drive-in viewing parties.

 

It’s not just chains getting in on the eclipse excitement. Independent restaurants in the path of the eclipse are getting creative, too.

  • New American spot Fahrenheit in Cleveland will host an “Eclipse & Sips” viewing party on the big day, selling both general admission tickets ($30) and VIP rooftop access ($60). Guests will be treated to themed menu items like the Fahrenheit Moon Pie and Galaxy Cotton Candy and more.
  • Dallas Italian restaurant Monarch, located on the 49th floor of The National building downtown, is hosting a three-course solar eclipse prix fixe lunch. Prices range from $99 for general seating to $150 for a window booth. The event was sold out more than two weeks before the eclipse, spurring the restaurant to open up a second lunch offering at sister concept Kessaku on the 50th floor of a downtown building.
  • In Rochester, New York, gastropub Blu Wolf Bistro is offering up a Total Bottomless Brunch from April 6-8, with unlimited mimosas and bloody marys for $25 with an entrée purchase. (Don’t plan on camping out all day, though. The restaurant says you can only indulge for 90 minutes.)

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