Traditions and rituals passed down from generation to generation help to shape families and create memories that invoke feelings of peace, love, and happiness. Many family traditions revolve around food. Special holiday meals, birthday cakes, and cultural celebrations are all examples of food traditions that run through family histories.

The Importance of Traditions

Traditions and rituals are an essential pillar of forming a family culture. They are done with a specific purpose and with intentionality, and when done right, they can lend a certain bit of magic to normal life. Traditions often tell a family story, and they can give children insight to their cultural or religious history. They can strengthen a family’s bond, provide a sense of comfort, connect generations, create memories, and pass on a family’s heritage. Psychologist Marshall Duke observed that children who grow up with family traditions become more well-balanced adults than those who don’t.

As a restaurant owner or manager, you are in a unique position to harness the power of tradition with your offerings. If done effectively, your restaurant could facilitate a culture of family for your guests and become a place where they come to take a break from their hectic lives to honor tradition. Here are some tips for making your restaurant a part of your guests’ traditions and rituals.

Birthday Clubs

Often times, the older we get, the less focus we want placed on our birthday. However, for children, it is one of the most important days of the year. Restaurants can help add the excitement back into birthdays for adults and children with a birthday club. Consider offering a free birthday dessert for your patrons. You may find families coming to enjoy an entire birthday dinner just to take advantage of the free dessert, too.

If your restaurant offers deliver, consider a birthday special on your online ordering system. Customers could choose from one of your standard menu meals, but the birthday special would also include a piece of cake with a candle. It would be a nice surprise for someone to get their favorite meal delivered with a birthday cake, and it could become a tradition that is expected to repeat on every birthday.

Holiday Meals

In a previous post , we talked about how your restaurant could offer an entire Thanksgiving meal catered to guests. Place focus on other holidays that don’t have quite as iconic meals, and find ways to incorporate them into family traditions. Easter is a great example of a holiday that many families go out to eat on, but you don’t necessarily need to offer traditional food to entice people to come to your restaurant.

Take into consideration the local demographics. If there is a large population of a certain religious or ethnic group, research what their traditional foods are for certain holidays, and offer a special menu for those days. For example, you may find families looking to celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa by enjoying traditional meals, but not currently having a place to go to do so.

Special Breakfasts

Does your restaurant offer breakfast? If not, you may want to consider it for special occasions, or even certain days of the week. With the New Year approaching, you might find many families who do not want to make breakfast after staying up late. By offering a breakfast menu, or a breakfast buffet on New Year’s Day, you could make your restaurant a destination for families to visit year after year.

Does your community have a large church-going population? Your restaurant could be the Sunday hot spot if you offer a Sunday brunch. Church is a place of fellowship for many people, and you could promote your restaurant as a place to continue the fellowship after the service is over. A staple like free coffee or an omelet bar will help you stand out from other restaurants and give you a place in families’ Sunday post-church traditions.

Reward Programs

For families with children, academic achievements are often celebrated and rewarded. You can establish your restaurant both in the community and with family traditions by offering a rewards program for academics. Some examples include a free kid’s meal after a certain amount of books are read or a free dessert voucher for every “A” on a report card.


Since so many family traditions revolve around food, it makes sense for your restaurant to use that to your advantage. Take into consideration the type of community you’re located in , as well as the people who make up your community, and you can come up with a number of creative ways to promote family traditions at your restaurant. Not only will you help families to develop a deeper and richer relationship with each other, but you’ll also build a strong relationship and loyalty with your customers.