How To Cash In On Lent

When the Mardi Gras party season ends on Feb. 21, restaurants will be looking for a new way to boost business. Savvy Lenten specials can help keep your seats full until spring.

Consumer interest in seafood is so high during that Lent that churches, schools and other community organizations get into the Friday night fish fry business to meet it. Think of them as the originators of the pop-up restaurant concept. Some provide a nice dining experience, others less so.

When there’s so much demand that amateurs can do a couple of hundred covers in a church basement or school gym setting, you know there has to be a sizable number of customers eager to see what professionals are turning out in traditional restaurant settings.

One option would be for your restaurant to serve same thing as the low-priced competition does—a fish sandwich or fish fry meal—only better. But the untapped part of the market may exist at a slightly higher price point. We’ve recommended fish tacos before as a good fast casual or full service Lenten item and still think it’s a good way to go.

Pick a couple items that would work within your restaurant’s pricing structure/service scheme and you’ll have a mini-Lenten menu you can promote. It’s a good way to pump a little life into your restaurant in what can otherwise be a drab time of the year.