As 2020 winds down, it’s time for our final restaurant update of the year. Filled with more downs than ups, it’s been a long, bumpy road for the industry. And while Covid-19 continues to surge across the United States, the delivery of the vaccine is finally underway. A pandemic-free future is a reality we can actually start thinking about.

For restaurants that have made it through this chaotic year, 2021 is something to be actively excited about. For starters, if your restaurant has made it this far, it’s going to come out the other end of Covid-19 vastly improved. In October, I covered three reasons why restaurants are going to be better off once the pandemic is behind us.

  • More robust off-premises dining. In 2020, you pivoted to takeout and delivery out of necessity. But now you’re prepared for the long haul. Across the next decade, the off-premises market is where the majority of growth is set to occur, according to The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry 2030 report.
  • Stronger customer relationships. Through shutdowns and dining restrictions, you worked hard to maintain your loyal customers throughout the year. Regardless of what challenges lie ahead, you’ve strengthened those relationships by building trust and communicating well.
  • Better solutions in place. Contactless solutions like digital menus and curbside pickup were implemented to keep people safer. Yet many are strong assets to your restaurant that will keep customers happy for years to come.

But what’s happening right now? As it stands, Covid-19 still isn’t over. So what can your restaurant do to keep its doors open?

Restaurant Business reports that the CDC is prioritizing restaurant workers for the next phase of Covid-19 vaccinations. This is a major step forward for the entire industry. While vaccinating restaurant workers won’t instantly make things go back to normal, it will go a long way toward helping customers feel safe during their dining experience.

Because restaurant staff are often the only individuals guests will come into close contact with (as long as safe social distancing is involved), restaurants will be able to present themselves as safer environments. If a customer knows that an entire restaurant’s staff has been vaccinated, they should feel marginally more comfortable than before.

Data from Datassential’s latest Covid-19 report reinforces this idea. The number of people concerned about the virus rose to nearly an all-time high with 60% stating they were “very concerned.” On top of that, nearly half of consumers (49%) stated that they “definitely avoid eating out.”

That’s why this is such a big development. Your restaurant needs to commit toward keeping customers safe to assuage their fears. Rules need to be enforced to secure trust.

Another interesting tidbit from the report? Public health concerns are higher than economic concerns. What can we infer from this? It means while people are concerned about making ends meet, they’re more concerned about the virus. A Covid-free future is on the horizon. People may be more willing to spend.

Restaurant And Bar Marketing Checklist (Updated For 2021)

Now that we’ve updated you on the latest, let’s look ahead. Heading into 2021, we want your restaurant to be fully prepared.

Below, we’ve updated our list of holidays, seasonal campaigns, and national days to consider as you chart out your marketing plans for the year.

Holidays and Seasonal Campaigns

  • Groundhog Day (February 2)
  • Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  • Fat Tuesday (February 16)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • April Fools Day (April 1)
  • Easter (April 4)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Spring Cleaning
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Mother’s Day (May 9)
  • Memorial Day (May 31)
  • Father’s Day (June 20)
  • Summer Marketing
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Back-to-School
  • Labor Day (September 6)
  • Halloween (October 31)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving/Black Friday (November 25/26)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 27)
  • Cyber Monday (November 29)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • New Year’s (December 31/January 1)

National Days

  • National Bloody Mary Day (January 1)
  • National Buffet Day (January 2)
  • National Spaghetti Day (January 4)
  • National Oysters Rockefeller Day (January 10)
  • National Bagel Day (January 15)
  • National Popcorn Day (January 19)
  • National Pie Day (January 23)
  • National Peanut Butter Day (January 24)
  • National Frozen Yogurt Day (February 6)
  • National Pizza Day (February 9)
  • National Drink Wine Day (February 18)
  • National Margarita Day (February 22)
  • National Tortilla Chip Day (February 24)
  • National Pi Day (March 14)
  • National Ravioli Day (March 20)
  • National Spinach Day (March 26)
  • National Burrito Day (April 1)
  • National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2)
  • National Deep Dish Pizza Day (April 5)
  • National Beer Day (April 7)
  • National Eggs Benedict Day (April 16)
  • National Pretzel Day (April 26)
  • National Prime Rib Day (April 27)
  • National Lemonade Day (May 2)
  • National Shrimp Day (May 10)
  • National Barbecue Day (May 16)
  • National Pizza Party Day (May 21)
  • National Wine Day (May 25)
  • National Hamburger Day (May 28)
  • National Mint Julep Day (May 30)
  • National Egg Day (June 3)
  • National Doughnut Day (June 4)
  • National Rosé Day (June 12)
  • National Bourbon Day (June 14)
  • National Martini Day (June 19)
  • National Onion Rings Day (June 22)
  • National Fried Chicken Day (July 6)
  • National Dive Bar Day (July 7)
  • National Pina Colada Day (July 10)
  • National Mojito Day (July 11)
  • National French Fry Day (July 13)
  • National Mac & Cheese Day (July 14)
  • National Ice Cream Day (July 18)
  • National Hot Dog Day (July 22)
  • National Tequila Day (July 24)
  • National Scotch Day (July 27)
  • National Lasagna Day (July 29)
  • National Chicken Wing Day (July 29)
  • National Night Out Day (August 3)
  • National IPA Day (August 5)
  • International Beer Day (August 6)
  • National Filet Mignon Day (August 13)
  • National Rum Day (August 16)
  • National Fajita Day (August 18)
  • National Red Wine Day (August 28)
  • National Cheese Pizza Day (September 5)
  • National Peanut Day (September 13)
  • National Guacamole Day (September 16)
  • National Cheeseburger Day (September 18)
  • National Lobster Day (September 25)
  • National Drink Beer Day (September 28)
  • National Coffee Day (September 29)
  • National Taco Day (October 4)
  • National Vodka Day (October 4)
  • National Pumpkin Day (October 26)
  • National Sandwich Day (November 3)
  • National Fast Food Day (November 16)
  • National Espresso Day (November 23)
  • National Cookie Day (December 4)

If that’s enough for you, don’t worry. There’s more where that came from. Head over to National Day Calendar if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Get Started With CoGoBuzz

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

Have any restaurant marketing advice to share for the upcoming year? Let us know in the comments.