publication date: May 4, 2017
Whether it means sipping on your favorite margaritas or eating guacamole, America has made Cinco de Mayo one of the most commercialized holidays of the year. As if anyone needed another reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it falls on a Friday this year, which means more partygoers will be sporting their favorite sombreros while out on the town.
CAKE, an integrated technology platform for independent restaurants, looked at how restaurants and bars performed on Cinco de Mayo in 2015-2016 to help independent operators prepare for this year's festivities. CAKE's technology allows restaurant owners to access macro-level data to identify trends—such as how transactions and revenue fluctuate on popular holidays— and level the playing field against large chains with deep pockets.
We wanted to know: does a holiday like Cinco de Mayo really outperform similar trendy food and beverage instigators, like Taco Tuesday or Thirsty Thursday? Does the day of the week matter when it comes to a holiday's effect on a restaurant or bar business?
Key findings from CAKE's analysis can be found below:
- This year's Cinco de Mayo will be a big winner. St. Patrick's Day 2017 – another favorite drinking holiday for many Americans – fell on a Friday, with bars enjoying 23% higher revenue and restaurants 8% higher revenue than the previous Friday. Operators may want to consider staffing up for this year's Cinco de Mayo Friday celebration to accommodate the increase in traffic.
- Bars can expect a bigger lift than restaurants. In 2015, Cinco de Mayo fell on a Tuesday, and data showed that bars performed 23% better in revenue and 19% better in transactions compared to the prior Tuesday, while restaurants saw a more modest lift.
- But restaurants should still take advantage. Still, Cinco de Mayo outperformed a regular “Taco Tuesday” for restaurants by 10% in revenue.
- The Cinco de Mayo crowd won't just be regulars. In 2016, Cinco de Mayo fell on a Thursday. With bars outperforming the prior Thursday by 9% in revenue and 13% in transactions, Cinco de Mayo proved to trump the perennially popular “Thirsty Thursday” – though it looks like overall ticket sizes were smaller.
- Restaurants should play up margaritas more than guacamole. Restaurants again saw a more modest lift than bars, with just 5% higher revenue, which means drinks take center stage for this holiday.
- Bonus: Compared to average sales, restaurants can expect bigger lifts for holidays that fall earlier in the week, on traditionally slower days, than those that fall on more popular days (e.g., Tuesday vs. Thursday).