Cinco de Mayo Celebration Ideas for Your Restaurant

Cinco de Mayo, literally the “fifth of May” in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While it’s not widely celebrated in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in other countries as an expression of Mexican pride.

It’s a big holiday for restaurants in the U.S., especially those with a Mexican or Southwestern menu and drink selection. Here are five tips for planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration to drive more sales in your restaurant.

When planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration, of course you want to have all the standards—tequila, guacamole and chips, and a music playlist featuring the most festive Mariachi music. As with any restaurant event, however, standing out pays off. Here are three ideas for a unique Cinco de Mayo party.

1. Offer Mexican specials for the weekend of Cinco de Mayo.

This holiday falls on Saturday this year, so it’s a good idea to make your food and drink specials span Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Try one of these Cinco de Mayo specials menus to help your tapas and beer, margarita and tequila selections stand out.

2. Have a Cinco de Mayo tasting event.

Sure, you could offer a tequila tasting, but what about your guests under 21? Why not offer a Tabasco tasting or a dried chile tasting? Grind up a few varieties of dried chiles (or find the already-ground variety), like Guajillo, Cascabel or Pasilla and serve mixed in a little bit of sour cream to temper the heat. Pass out fresh corn tortillas and ask your guests to choose their favorites. Promote the tasting event with this flyer.

3. Hold a Chipotle hunt.

A spicy twist on a scavenger hunt for the little ones, hide small cans of chipotles around your restaurant. Decorate one to be the “Golden Chipotle” and award the finder a free meal for four, to be used at a future date, of course.

4. Shake up traditional desserts with Mexican chocolate.

Steer away from the typical flans and fried ice cream served at most Mexican restaurants. Instead, experiment with Mexican chocolate – a dark, bittersweet chocolate mixed with cinnamon and other spices. Chocolate has its origins in the original Aztec culture of Mexico, after all. Here’s a Cinco de Mayo menu with room for dessert.

5. Spice up your Facebook page with our Facebook-friendly menus & flyers.

Included in your MustHaveMenus membership, you can post your Cinco de Mayo menu or flyer directly to Facebook with the MustHaveMenus Facebook app. Test drive MustHaveMenus for just $5. Simply use code CINCO12 when you sign up.