This year in the United States, the 5th of May offers many reasons to celebrate. Tens of millions of Americans will be vaccinated and eager to get out of the house to experience Cinco de Mayo at their favorite restaurants. Whether you’re a Mexican restaurant or not, Cinco de Mayo is a festive opportunity to market your restaurant and connect with your customers by celebrating Mexican identity, culture and of course, food.
So what’s on the menu? We’re serving up recipe ideas from classic Mexican-American favorites to traditional Cinco de Mayo dishes that all include our favorite ingredient: Impossible™ Burger. Anything you’d make with ground beef, you can make with Impossible Burger. But unlike ground beef from cows, Impossible Burger makes a statement that intrigues customers, drives new revenues and gives you more opportunities to promote your restaurant.
Before we dive in, a quick history lesson: Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Many people think the 5th of May celebrates Mexican Independence day, but in fact, Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain on September 16th. Though it’s an important date in Mexican history, Cinco de Mayo is widely known to be an American creation, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Los Angeles, Denver, New York, Phoenix and Houston.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mainly celebrated in the region of Puebla which is also an epicenter of food in the country. (Fun fact: the town of Cholula--the namesake of the beloved hot sauce--is located in the state of Puebla).
Now for the main course.
Consumer Trends: What are customers ordering?
Cinco de Mayo is the biggest celebration of Mexican American culture in the United States with 70% of Americans planning to celebrate. Of those 70%, 9 out of 10 reported that they would celebrate the holiday (opens in a new tab)by eating Mexican food or drinking margaritas. That means that this holiday is an excellent opportunity for restaurants of all types to take part in the festivities, from both a food and beverage perspective.
While mole poblano is the official dish of the holiday, tacos and margaritas reign supreme, with American consumers:
Drinking more beer on Cinco de Mayo than any other holiday(opens in a new tab), including St. Patrick’s day or the Big Game weekend
Restaurant Business Online reported(opens in a new tab) that on Cinco de Mayo ‘customers lined up outside the doors of local taco shops, waited nearly 30 cars deep at Mexican fast-food places and tolerated long wait times on delivery apps.' Other sources have reported that(opens in a new tab) restaurants make up to 44% more on Cinco de Mayo than any other day of the year.
Sysco reports that tequila sales double(opens in a new tab) the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo and margaritas account for nearly 50% of cocktails sold on the holiday, so it is definitely worthwhile to come up with some creative ways to celebrate the holiday in your business as well. And given the lifting dining restrictions, restaurants around the nation should be prepared for large numbers of customers, and serve them through all their channels, whether online, in restaurant or via delivery.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of this holiday.
Restaurant Marketing Tip: Promote, promote, promote
Before you begin building your menu, think about the promotions you can create on Cinco de Mayo to drive traffic, interest and awareness. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Provide free delivery on orders greater than $20
BOGO 50% Off Cinco de Mayo menu items or drinks
Offer a free appetizer with a purchase of a Cinco De Mayo Entree
Design a ‘Build Your Own Taco Kit’ or a Cinco De Mayo Family Pack for customers to spice things up at home
Host social media contests with free meals or deals for customers who post photos of themselves eating your dishes and tag your restaurant
Host a social media competition featuring a photo of a new Cinco De Mayo dish and let customers pick the name, with the winner getting to eat the meal for free
Use hashtags #CincoDeMayo #CincoDeMayoParty #CincoDeMayoCelebration #CincoDeMayoWeekend #CincoDeMayoFood in your social posts
Build Cinco de Mayo Menu Items with Impossible Burger
Once you have your promotion figured out, it’s time to build out your Cinco de Mayo menu items. Whether you sell Mexican food or not, there are still tons of opportunities to add a Mexican flair to your menu. The most common ingredients to have on hand include:
Tortillas, chips, fries or rice
You can incorporate these ingredients into soups, pizza, fries, drinks, appetizers...the list is endless! Here is a list of additional menu items you can serve that honor Mexican Cuisine, made even more delicious by the addition of Impossible Burger.
Build Your Own Taco Kit with Impossible Burger
It goes without saying that tacos are an easy add on to any menu. The secret? Perfectly seasoned meat, fresh vegetables and flavorful salsa. Don’t forget to add a bit of lime! Grab the recipe for our Impossible™ Street Tacos(opens in a new tab).
You can also create Build Your Own Taco Kits for customers who want to take the party home like This is an excellent option for restaurants who don’t traditionally offer mexican dishes because all the assembly is done out of your kitchen! All you need to do is cook your protein, assemble in a fun to-go box and you’re all set. This is also a big hit with families.
2. Impossible™ Tacos
Photo Credit: Lataco.com, Erwin Recinos
Chica’s Tacos(opens in a new tab) makes a fantastic Impossible™ Crunchy Taco. Impossible™ meat made from plants can also be incorporated into Quesadillas, Chilli Cheeseburgers or various other menu items -- just add your own blend of taco spices to make it stand out.
3. Impossible™ Nacho Fries or Impossible™ Nachos
You can never go wrong with fried carbs, beans, melted cheese and Impossible Burger. Whether use chips or french fries, the results will be pleasing to both customers and your bottom line. Check out Dos Toros‘ Impossible Nachos(opens in a new tab) for some menu inspiration.
4. Impossible™ Taco Salad
Photo Credit: Mendocino Farms website
Mendocino Farms(opens in a new tab) serves an Impossible Taco Salad with Impossible™ chorizo, housemade superfood krunchies, veggies, black beans, avocado and house vegan chipotle ranch. Taco salads are an easy addition to any menu because they don't require complicated sauces or preparation.
5. Impossible™ Mexican Cheeseburger Mac N’ Cheese
Photo Credit: The Orange County Register
Disney California Adventure Park (opens in a new tab)is serving up a mean Cheeseburger Mac N Cheese at their Nuts about Cheese Marketplace, and with the simple addition of some chili peppers and cumin, this menu item would be perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
6. Impossible™ Fajita Bowl or Burrito
Photo Credit: QSR Magazine
Qdoba(opens in a new tab) adds a roasted pepper twist to their Impossible Fajita Bowl by adding Impossible™ meat made from plants seasoned with a blend of tomatoes, garlic and chilies. Bowls are a great option for restaurants who don’t have tortillas or who want to innovate existing salad or bowl-based menu items.
Want more inspiration? Check out our recipes page: