Build Your Own Father’s Day
How do you craft a menu to bring in the dads?
June centers around Father’s Day, a great holiday hook to bring dads and the people that love them to your tables. While Father’s Day doesn’t draw crowds as consistently as Mother’s Day, Veteran operators know that getting dad through the door can still mean big business. There are lots of Father’s Day “maybes” when it comes to dining out or ordering in. To build your own sales boom, you need tools to turn “maybe” to “YES”. Start by tuning up your menu — from drinks to dessert — to entice dads and everyone around them.
Drink and Be Merry
Regardless of how fancy the occasion, the first thing sit-down diners expect at their table is an icy glass of water — especially in June, in Florida. Beat dad to the punch by providing the beverage BEFORE he has to ask! While water is a great start, specialty drinks are a great way to elevate a basic need into something to remark on.
Make it Frosty
Specialty iced drinks are a great option for beating the heat in style. Traditional standbys like lemonade and iced tea provide familiar, reliable refreshment, while also acting as a base for experimental LTOs. If you offer beer or cider, make sure to stock varieties that shine when served cold. Add flash by serving these drinks in a frosted mug.
Fun for the Family
Remember that Father’s Day often comes with kids, and that kids crave flashy, frosty refreshment just as much as adults. If you’re offering beer or cider in a frosted mug, consider doing the same with a specialty root beer or cream soda. Change up that lemonade by offering “Hard Lemonade” for Dad and “regular” for the kiddos. Another all-time kid favorite is the Shirley Temple, which wows kids with its bright red color and unique pomegranate and ginger flavor. For an extra dose of fun, choose an interesting skewer — such as a paper umbrella, a tiny plastic sword, or something themed to your business — to go with the maraschino cherries that garnish
Sit Down and Dig In
Diners often use celebrations as an excuse to indulge in appetizers. Many appetizers go great with classic dad culture. Be sure to fill your Father’s Day menu with appetizer all-stars. Don’t be afraid to lean past the ordinary, though. Happy crowds look for story-worthy experiments as well as comfort food — have some of both on hand.
Look for appetizers in the overlap between your business’s strengths and classic dad culture. Lean into wings, showcasing sauces used in your other dishes. Standbys like mozzarella sticks or loaded nachos keep the family occupied while the kitchen works on the center of the plate. Seafood operations can showcase onion rings or fries — always great with any fish offering.
For the Story
These comfort food options give you a solid base, but not every dad (or every dad’s friend or family member) is looking for comfort. Craft adventurous variations on old favorites to satisfy these customers. Go extra hot — or Nashville, even – on the wings. Try featuring a unique quality, such as the numbing power of Sichuan pepper. Compliment fries or onion rings with the less common option of fried pickles.
Dads are known for their love of hearty food. To win them over with your menu, feature solid main courses that provide fullness and a sense of value as well as flavor. Meat dishes are standouts in this area. At the same time, make sure to also offer vegetarians something that packs a protein punch.
Meat on the Menu
Steak is a classic Father’s Day dish for many, representing a perfect combination of fancy, filling, and flavorful. If you have steak, highlight it. If not, don’t worry. Find a steak stand-in, like brisket, swordfish (sold as swordfish steaks for a reason), duck, or carne asada (typically made from steak). For other customers, a hearty mix of carbs and protein is the key to a satisfying meal. Handhelds like burgers, burritos, or pulled pork sandwiches will go a long way for this crowd, as will noodle dishes like scampi
or lo mein.
Make Room for Mushrooms
Celebrating groups like to order from places with something exciting for everyone. For most vegetarians, a salad cobbled together from iceberg lettuce doesn’t count — they want a meal as filling as anyone else’s at the Father’s Day bash. Mushrooms offer a hearty option that won’t feel out of place at even the most meat-centric establishment. From tried-and-true portabella to the more daring oyster mushroom, it’s easy to use mushrooms to fill out a sandwich, pasta dish, or wrap. Mushrooms also make fantastic additions to meat dishes. So even if you’re not sure your business can draw vegetarian customers, there’s not much risk in adding mushrooms to the menu.
Start Strong, Finish Light
After all that hearty food, it’s easy for diners to write off dessert. Operators shouldn’t. A slate of light but flavorful desserts gives you a chance with every customer, even those who’ve just finished a big meal. You don’t have to shelve your heavy desserts entirely, though. Instead, lean into the group celebration side of Father’s Day, and pitch them as something
Small Size, Big Flavor
To balance that big Father’s Day main course, develop some desserts that feel more refreshing and flavorful than rich. Ice cream and frozen yogurt are strong options, as the pleasant chill takes a front seat compared to any sensation of fullness, especially in the June heat. Operators can also infuse these desserts with flavors that compliment their business, such as coffee, green tea, sea salt, or dulce de leche.
Treats to Share
For desserts that might seem daunting to one well-stuffed person, increase the appeal by advertising the item as shareable. A simple note like “feeds 2 to 4” may be all that it takes to get something like cheesecake, tiramisu, or flan onto a family’s radar. A little staff prep can go a long way, here, too. Adding “or anything to share” to the usual question of dessert can bring in a sale — and add a memorable finish to a Father’s Day meal — without following it up with a stomachache.
Ready to Build?
Building out a new menu requires new ingredients — from food and drink items, to utensils, to cookware. At Florida Food Service, we have all the ingredients for your success. Talk to your sales rep about what you might need to build your own Father’s Day, today.