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Embrace Back-to-School Dining with 4 Delicious Deals at Your Restaurant

This time of year, restaurants can bring in family business with a school-centered mentality.

As families get back into the school groove, food convenience becomes a priority.

Preparing meals at home is the usual go-to for families with small children. However, dining out can still be a post-summer option if restaurants appeal to busy families during this busy time.

The high price of dining out can affect a family’s choice to eat at a restaurant, and prices have only gone up. A rundown by CNBC reports that in the last 12 months, restaurant prices have steadily risen more than grocery costs – a total increase of 8.8%. It’s the most growth in prices since the inflation hit hot in 2021, and a major reason restaurants still struggle to profit.

With money on everyone’s mind, there’s no mystery as to why families try to save by eating at home. But restaurants supply the prep, service, and cleanup at mealtime, and that’s worth a LOT to busy people getting their kids back to school. It’s all about getting that message to guests with Back-to-School deals that appeal.

1.   Family (discounts) matter.

The most obvious appeal to families is lowering the cost of eating out. There are many ways to package family-friendly prices, like preset family menus that offer discounts for a certain amount of main and kid entrees ordered together. Just like a lunch or dinner menu, restaurants can offer special dishes that appeal to adults along with a kid-friendly list at the bottom. Family-style dining that emphasizes large portions shared amongst the table may help both the restaurant and its guests indulge in an affordable meal.

2.   Time is money.

Although dining at home can save money, it can eat up a lot of time. Restaurants can advertise the time-saving benefits of eating out: no shopping, no cooking, no cleanup. And imagine eating out at a place that provides materials for kids to work on homework at the table! They can trade in those crayons and coloring books for pencils, notebook paper, and space to work. Parents will appreciate the opportunity for their children to get a head start (or finish up) their schoolwork, opening up time at home.

3.   Connect with the community.

Relationships with schools can be a great incentive for locals to dine at a particular establishment. Students and teachers will want to support a restaurant that has a noted relationship with their school. We Are Teachers, a community of 3 million educators who share resources and stories, share a list of restaurant chains that raise money for schools. But even a small, family-owned restaurant can capitalize on their support of schools by catering events, hosting awards ceremonies, or paying a sponsor fee to advertise on a football field.

4.   Treat teachers like the heroes they are.

Families work hard to adjust during the start of the school year, and so do teachers. Providing a welcoming atmosphere that honors teachers will no doubt attract their business. Restaurants have options when it comes to teacher promotions, like creating a special “educator” cocktail and mocktail, or the more common practice of offering discounts to guests that provide a teacher ID.

Although teachers can’t always get away for lunch, sometimes they do. Offering lunch specials for educators can help restaurants fill those emptier times of the day, especially during the summer when most teachers are enjoying hard-earned days off.

Expanding the scope of marketing to families can keep business going before the holidays. Just because students, their parents and their teachers are starting a chaotic time of year, it doesn’t mean they have to stop enjoying dining out. In fact, it should be a time where the experience of dining out is especially cherished. Restaurants will benefit by making it clear to guests they are aware of the Back-to-School grind and want to be a part of it.

Restaurants that promote convenience along with targeted Back-to-School deals can expect to serve lots of families – even on a weeknight.