OPINIONMarketing

Restaurants circle Pi Day on their marketing calendars

Marketing Bites: Operators gear up for 3.14 with deals. Plus, how one daytime dining chain is marking International Women’s Day.
Pi Day
Restaurants are offering promotions for Pi Day on March 14. | Photo: Shutterstock.
Marketing Bites

I have no memory of Pi Day being a thing when I was growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

A quick Google search tells me it was founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, then an employee of the Exploratorium, a San Francisco science museum and site of an inaugural celebration that included a circular parade and the consumption of fruit pies, according to History.com.

But the day, observed on March 14 in honor of the first three digits of pi (and, coincidentally, the birth date of Albert Einstein), became an official U.S. holiday in 2009.

I’m a lowly journalist, not a mathematician, so I’m not here to explain pi to you. But I did work for about a year as an early-morning baker at Chicago’s Hoosier Mama Pie Company, so I could explain pie-making to you. (Short story: It’s a lot of work, especially as Pi Day nears.)

In any case, Pi Day is very much a thing today, reflected in the vast number of restaurant promotions slated for 3.14.

Here’s a sampling:

  • Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins joined forces with supplemental education franchise Mathnasium Learning Centers on a variety of Pi Day promotions. Families can score $314 off Mathnasium enrollment. And Baskin-Robbins is offering $2 off coupons on its app for Polar Pizza treats. On March 14, Mathnasium locations will host Pi Day parties that include Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream treats. A Mathnasium in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles will take over a Baskin-Robbins store, offering merch giveaways, mascot appearance, crafts, treats and more.
  • FAT Brands-owned pizza concept Round Table Pizza will sell Personal Cheese Pizzas for $3.14 on Pi Day (for rewards members, with the purchase of any large or extra-large pizza).
  • BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse will also sell a Mini One-Topping Pizza for $3.14 (dine-in only).
  • For the 11th straight year, all Blaze Pizza locations will feature custom-made 11-inch pizzas for $3.14 all day. 
  • Detroit-style pizza concept Via 313 is getting in on the Pi Day action a day early (3.13, of course), giving away free pizza for a year, as well as giving away exclusive merchandise and hosting all-day happy hour with $3.13 slices and more. Those ordering on Via 313’s app on 3.13 will earn a free pizza for their next visit.
  • At Burger King, rewards members can score a free Hershey’s Sundae Pie with any purchase of $3.14 or more. The burger chain is also running a week of breakfast deals, starting Sunday, to help consumers recover from the daylight saving time change.
  • Upscale Italian chain North Italia isn’t just celebrating Pi Day—it has a month of festivities planned. The restaurants will debut 10 regional pizzas and one national pie from March 14 through April 10. One customer who places a North Italia order via Olo during that time will win a five-night trip to Italy.

Snooze observes Women’s Day

Before we get to Pi Day, though, there’s International Women’s Day on Friday.

Daytime dining chain Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, will mark the occasion at three of its restaurants by having every position in the restaurant filled by a women.

At Snooze locations in Westminster, Colo., La Jolla, Calif., and Houston, all leadership, front-of-house and back-of-house (which they dub “heart-of-house”) roles will be handled by women.

Snooze has made significant progress in gender equity in the last several years, though it admits it still has a way to go. In 2018, none of Snooze’s head chefs were women. Today, nearly a quarter of them are. That same year, 13% of Snooze’s regional managers were women. Today, half of them are. The chain has gone from zero female executives to 33% today.

Those statistics show “the progress we have made to drive and support empowerment, advocacy, education and contribution,” Carrie Hart, Snooze’s EVP of finance, said in a statement, adding, “We’re excited to see women represented across all levels of our organization and will continue to foster gender inclusivity and equality in our organization.”

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