7 Innovative Ways to Prepare your Cafe or Restaurant for Back to School Season

Back to School Promotions To Boost Your Café or Restaurant’s Bottom Line

School will soon be back in session and will be much different than previous years.  In this new normal, help parents, teachers and students ease some of the anxiety by offering innovative specials and features for your business.  Cafes and Restaurant owners need to start implementing new techniques and approches to bring these back to school promotions into your business like the grocery and retail stores.  Below are some ideas to support your back to school and fall plans and maximize revenue in your business.  You must reach out, not only to students but parents and teachers as well.

Getting the Family Involved

By offering families a quick take out meal option, you can cut out the stress of dining-in for families with younger children. This small step makes your restaurant an option for families on those busy days of running from school, to activities and trying to cram dinner somewhere in-between.

Free Appetizer for families of 4 or more!  Another promotional idea that helps get the whole family into your establishment is running a Free Appetizer special for families of four or more.  You can select the lowest cost appetizers and give them a free appetizer with the purchase of four or more entrees.  The cost is low, and you encourage families to try new things and order an appetizer they may not have ordered and may order again in the future.


  1. When thinking of back to school promotions it is important to focus on parents. One way to reach out to parents is by offering Parent’s Day Out lunch specials. Market it as being able to enjoy quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of family life.
  2. Additionally, a great way to market to parents is with buy one get one parent drinks or meals. Perfect for any date night, even a coffee date, this deal will encourage parents to call up their baby-sitter and spend some time out taking advantage of your restaurant’s back to school promotion. Romantic dessert evening at your café with tea and or decaf coffee? Why not!?


  1. A great way to get your promotions to students is by utilizing social media. Social media is the top way to market to millennials. Pictures of food are one of the most searched for subjects in social media, so go ahead and take a nicely arranged snapshot of your weekly special and post it. The best part is that it is free unless you make the decision to boost your posts for a few extra dollars.
  2. An often forgotten about group of marketing to students is college students. Yes some students have meal plans but that doesn’t mean they don’t get tired of the food, or are looking to treat themselves every now and then. And a large percentage of college students live off campus and don’t have a meal plan. A great way to reach these students is by offering lunch combos. Perfect for grabbing between classes this special will garner the attention of any test stressed college student.
  3. Are you concerned with how to get your name out to college students? Consider sponsoring orientation. You can provide food, drinks or simply provide cups with your logo on it. Good for one free refill. Sounds simple enough but students will keep those cups long after the free refill and be reminded of your restaurant every time they use it. Make sure that the cup is branded and decent quality. You wouldn’t want your logo to wash off in the dishwasher.


  1. Who can forget about teachers! Back to school is an exciting yet hectic time for them as well. Consider having some promotions geared directly for them, like a free dessert with a valid teacher I.D. Most schools require teachers to have badges, simply ask them to show it and voila a free dessert.
  2. Or you can run an “Apps for Teacher” promotion. Say that instead of giving the teacher an apple give them a free appetizer. Students or parents can come in and purchase a coupon set at certain price that they can then give to their teacher to redeem for a free appetizer or beverage next time they stop in. Teachers will appreciate the change of pace from the usual apple themed gifts and enjoy your cafe or restaurant!


Back to school is a big time of year for not only students, but parents and teachers as well, making it a great opportunity for your business to reach out to the community at large. By reaching out to these three groups through different promotions and marketing techniques, you have the potential to greatly increase sales. Ultimately, you know your business best. Choose a promotion that  works for you and run with it. Whether it is free appetizers or drinks for teachers or sponsoring a school event, don’t miss out this back to school season!

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