Restaurant traffic typically lulls a little for the Fourth of July holiday – trumped by backyard barbecues. But it’s still a reason to get excited, and even push a promotion for those feeling especially patriotic.
Speaking of excitement, Jimmy John’s wished its fans a Happy Independence Day on its Facebook page and was promptly called out by a fan who reminded the company it was only July 3.
"I know man. What can I say, I love our country and can’t wait to celebrate," the company responded.
Chipotle will close "most of its U.S." locations July 4 in observance of the holiday, the company noted on its Facebook page.
Some brands are leveraging the occasion to promote or launch new menu items. Baskin-Robbins is spotlighting its "4th of July celebration cake," which is red, white and blue and topped with star sprinkles.
Pie Five Pizza Co. is marking the Fourth with its new Granny’s Apple Pie, available through Aug. 3. Chef Andy Wittman said he was tasked to "find the best way to show is patriotism" for the holiday, and came up with the creation, which features a snickerdoodle cookie crust layered with cobbler-spiced apples and topped with cinnamon streusel crumbles.
And, Chicago’s Weber Grill has launched a new "Veteran’s Burger" in time for the holiday. It will be available at all locations all month, with proceeds going toward Illinois’ Operation Home Front organization.
The burger includes two 5 oz. seared Black Angus beef patties, cherrywood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese stacked on a brioche bun. It is served with either French fries, house made kettle chips or coleslaw.
Other concepts are enticing customers to stop in during the holiday weekend and enjoy a special deal. Woody’s Bar-B-Q, for example, is hosting a nationwide July 4 "Ribtacular." Guests can dine on all-you-can-eat servings of the chain’s signature Smokin’ Spare Ribs, served with garlic toast and the choice of two side items, for $12.99-16.99 per person.
"The July 4th Ribtacular is a terrific way to beat the heat and enjoy a superlative taste of Americana – good old-fashioned barbecue," Co-Founder Yolanda Mills-Mawman said in a news release. "All of our restaurants feature kitschy American décor – some even right down to red-and-white checked tablecloths and picnic tables – so there’s a patriotic feel from the moment guests walk through the door."
Florida-based Flippers Pizzeria is offering free MyPie Specialty Pizzas for service men and women, including military, police, firefighters and EMTs, when they dine in. The offer is good with proof of a valid service ID or while in uniform, and with the purchase of one drink.
"We roll out the red carpet for every customer who dines in our restaurants, especially those serving our country and communities," said Ben Richardson, VP of Operations, in a news release.
And, Boston Market is offering guests a Family Meal for half-off the regular price on July 4. Family Meals typically feed between three and six people, the company said, and a coupon for the promotion is available on its website.
Finally, some brands are going out of their way beyond menu and marketing efforts to celebrate the country’s birth. After a year without fireworks due to budgetary cuts, the iconic Hawaiian military base Pearl Harbor will feature a display this year thanks to funding from Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut will also hand out free slices of its new BBQ line of pizzas to military personnel and their families.
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.