Father’s Day doesn’t get as much hype as Mother’s Day, and I think that’s probably because people are more likely to have absent fathers than absent mothers. They’re also more likely to have unsentimental fathers (like mine, who got genuinely mad at all of us for getting him Christmas presents this year). Historically, it’s been much more acceptable and almost accepted that men don’t focus on family and home as much as women; but with the erasing of gender lines and norms, the changing face of the nuclear family, and the increasing emphasis on parenting from every parent, we should be celebrating fathers with pride and excitement.
As a coffee shop and as with Mother’s Day, you’re limited by the dinner/brunch/meal thing that tends to be associated with these parental, Father’s Day celebrations. If you have a full menu, offering brunch or dinner with dishes that focus on dad is an excellent way to start. Taking reservations for Father’s Day, which is on June 18th, is another simple way to draw business on this holiday.
Dinner seems to be the most attractive option for Father’s Day and the stereotypical steak, burgers, and beer appears to be the most popular meal choices. If you don’t have those, or if you don’t offer dinner at all, don’t fret, you’re still in the running.
As with Mother’s Day, you can promote for the non-meal times, as in before dinner while-you-wait espresso (free for Dad!) or the post-dinner/brunch dessert and coffee (free for Dad!). If you know the restaurants in your area that are accepting reservations, you can promote with posters and online posts, be referencing a wait list or before/after booking activities. You may also be able to collaborate with a restaurant or two and get them to promote you (if you promote them back, perhaps) if they have a wait list or for coffee after dessert.
If you have a bar, you can offer a Father’s Day happy hour, or free first father’s drink, or free every few drinks. You could also promote the day with free or reduced priced appetizers or snacks for Dad.
If you take reservations or even if you don’t, plan ahead beforehand. As with my recommendations for Mother’s Day, I think to personalize your Father’s Day promotions and celebrations are a great way to amplify engagement and the real feelings that you want to come from it. Have people submit pictures with their fathers for decorative purposes (they can get a half-priced drink or something for doing so) or have them write appreciation messages to their dad or to dad’s in general that you can also post. This will optimize almost everyone’s good feelings.
You could also consider a creative option for people who don’t have father figures in their lives. “Free for dads, half priced if you miss your dad or there’s not a dad in your life to celebrate today.” You could do something about everyone being family in your space; you could even have some extra fun by promoting a dad auction (not a dirty one, come on guys) or some kind of dad-inspired event where even people without dads can participate with a group of dads and non-dads (this language is a bit clunky, I apologize). (Bonus points if you recognized that I cut and pasted this paragraph and just changed the language from ‘moms’ to ‘dads.’ Although, bonus implies extra and I don’t really know what you got the original points for…maybe for reading this, to begin with. Yeah, let’s go with that.)
Give the dads free stuff, from drinks to entire meals to desserts to gift cards. If you need to, you can have the reservation-makers collaborate on a gift to be presented at the restaurant, giving a discount perhaps if they agree to buy the meal or dessert or something. Though, offering an actual gift promotes the best feelings for everyone involved.
Offer a Prix Fixe menu or a buffet that’s Dad themed. Decorate with what you see as father-themed appropriate decorations, which depends on your ideas about gender, etc. Offer the “Father of all lattes,” which could just be a big latte, a latte with two extra shots, or just a free latte for dads!
You can promote the holiday on your social media and website with discounts for merchandise, online reservations, or updates on what your Father’s Day events will be. You can use Instagram, or any platform actually, to share personalized stories (along with pictures) from people about their fathers, whether they be customers or employees. You can start with yourself, if, for example, you have your father to thank for the work ethic or financial loan that allowed you to open a coffee shop of your own, or whatever the case may be.
I recommend personalizing these holidays as much as possible because that boosts engagement and the good feelings people get that they associate with your business. This is especially imperative if you are the coffee shop in a small town or close-knit community; but, it is also a great touch in an often isolating big city where the reminder of family and the humanity of others is a boost to morale, productivity, and appreciation for your space, your employees, and ultimately your brand!