How much do restaurants and bars make on Cinco de Mayo?

In this 4 minute read:

  • Is Cinco de Mayo a big day for restaurants and bars?
  • How much do restaurants make on Cinco de Mayo?
  • Is Cinco de Mayo bigger for Mexican food restaurants than other restaurants?
  • How much do bars make on Cinco de Mayo?
  • Where was Cinco de Mayo biggest for bars and restaurants?
  • How to take advantage of Cinco de Mayo if you own a bar or restaurant

There’s no question that Cinco de Mayo is a holiday practically synonymous with eating good food and drinking ice cold beer. It’s a holiday that’s only continued to grow in popularity across America each year. These days, it seems you can’t go anywhere without seeing a local restaurant or bar advertising their Cinco de Mayo special.

So that got us wondering, just how big is Cinco de Mayo for local bars and restaurants? In order to find out, we analyzed transaction data at small and local restaurants, bars, and other businesses across the country to see how much they made on Cinco de Mayo, if it was one of the biggest days of the year, and a whole lot more.

Is Cinco de Mayo one of the biggest days of the year for restaurants and bars?

Let’s start with restaurants. It should come as no surprise that major holidays often pop up as some of the biggest days of the year for restaurants.

So what about Cinco de Mayo? Does a holiday so closely associated with food move the needle for local restaurants?

The short answer is, YES.

In 2018 Cinco de Mayo came in just behind Mother’s Day as the #3 biggest day of the year for local restaurants across the country, and the #2 day for bars (just behind St. Patrick’s Day). It’s important to note that in 2018, Cinco de Mayo fell on a Saturday, which is the biggest day of the week for bars and restaurants.

But when we looked at 2017 data, when the holiday fell on a Friday, local restaurants and bars still enjoyed a significant bump in average daily revenue. In fact, the Saturday after Cinco de Mayo was the #1 day of the year for local bars in 2017 and Cinco de Mayo was the biggest Friday of the year.

No matter how you slice it, it’s clear that Americans are in love with celebrating the Mexican Army’s victory at the Battle of Puebla by going out for a bite to eat and a nice cold drink. Let’s take a look at what this means for local restaurants and bars.

How much do restaurants make on Cinco de Mayo?

Throughout the year, restaurants brought in an average of $1,273 per day. On Cinco de Mayo, however, restaurants made an average of $1,834, or a 44% increase over a typical day.

Breaking it down even further, Cinco de Mayo brought more customers than an average day, averaging 56 transactions compared to the annual average of 45. Those customers also spent 15% more per transaction than on a typical day, $32.63 on each ticket compared to an average annual ticket of $28.38.

So if you own a restaurant, make sure you take advantage of not just an uptick in foot traffic on Cinco de Mayo, but patrons who don’t mind spending a little more than a typical day out.

Is Cinco de Mayo bigger for Mexican food restaurants than other restaurants?

If Cinco de Mayo is one of the biggest days of the year for restaurants collectively, then it must naturally be a huge day for Mexican restaurants, right? Or is this one of those crazy counter-intuitive holidays like how Valentine’s Day isn’t nearly as big for restaurants as you might expect?

Well, this time the answer is exactly what you’d expect. Cinco de Mayo is huge for Mexican restaurants.

Throughout the year, Mexican food restaurants averaged $1,429 per day in revenue — only slightly more than the annual average for all restaurants. On Cinco de Mayo, however, Mexican food restaurants brought in a whopping $3,234 per day. A 126% increase that dwarfs the 44% increase other restaurants experienced on the holiday.

How much money do bars make on Cinco de Mayo?

On a given day throughout the year, the average bar makes $754 in daily revenue. On Cinco de Mayo that number jumped 65% to $1,242. Even more than restaurants, the increase in revenue was a result of a surge in foot traffic.

The average bar processed 42 transactions on Cinco de Mayo (66% more than the annual average), at an average ticket of $29.87 (1% lower than the annual average).

Where was Cinco de Mayo the top day of the year for restaurants?

Cinco de Mayo’s status as the 3rd biggest day for restaurants and the 2nd biggest day for bars nationwide indicates that it’s clearly a big day for local businesses in every corner of America. But which parts of the country were home to the bars and restaurants that got the most out of the holiday?

Let’s start with restaurants, where Cinco de Mayo was the #1 day of the year in 6 states:

  • South Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Alabama
  • West Virginia
  • Washington

Cinco de Mayo was so big for local restaurants that it was in the top 5 days of the year in 26 states, and in the top 10 days of the year in 35 states. (California, perhaps the state most associated with the holiday, saw Cinco de Mayo come in as the 6th biggest day of the year).

In fact, in Vermont, where the holiday ranked as only the 79th biggest day of the year (the lowest ranking out of all 50 states), restaurants still experienced a 22% increase in average daily revenue.

Where was it the top day of the year for bars?

Interestingly, despite Cinco de Mayo being the 2nd biggest day of the year nationwide, it was the top day of the year only in Iowa, and the #2 day of the year only in California. Here are the states where Cinco de Mayo ranked highest for local bars:

  • Iowa (#1 day of the year)
  • California (#2 day)
  • New York (#3 day)
  • Georgia (#4 day)
  • North Carolina (#4 day)

Cinco de Mayo was in the top 10 days of the year in 14 states, suggesting that there’s less separation between the top days of the year for bars than there is for local restaurants.

Like with restaurants, however, every state in our analysis brought in above-average revenue on the day. Even in Maine, where Cinco de Mayo was the 87th ranked day of the year for local bars, there was a 41% increase in revenue over the average day.

Which cities do the best on Cinco?

Finally, we decided to look at the metro level to see where Cinco de Mayo made a big local impact. We started by looking at cities where Cinco de Mayo was a top day for both restaurants and bars, and the clear standouts were Memphis, TN and Davenport, IA—the only two metro areas in our analysis where Cinco de Mayo was the #1 day for both restaurants and bars.

Here are some other cities where Cinco de Mayo was a big day for both bars and restaurants:

  • Omaha, NE (restaurants #1 day, bars #3 day)
  • Winston-Salem, NC (restaurants #1, bars #4)
  • San Francisco, CA (restaurants #5, bars #1)
  • Orlando, FL (restaurants #1, bars #6)
  • New York, NY (restaurants #4, bars #3)

Finally, we looked to see the major metro areas where local restaurants and local bars experienced the largest increase in revenue over the average day.

The biggest metro area for restaurants was Richmond, Virginia, where local eateries doubled their annual average. Restaurants in St. Louis, Omaha, and Providence also enjoyed substantial increases in average revenue on Cinco de Mayo.

San Francisco, Charlotte, and Washington, DC were the top three metro areas for bars on Cinco de Mayo, with bars in all three cities bringing in more than twice the average revenue.

How does your bar or restaurant stack up?

Do you own or manage your own bar or restaurant? If so, do you also see big business on and around Cinco de Mayo? Our analysis shows that no matter where you’re located, or what kind of food you serve, your business stands to make a lot of money when May 5th rolls around.

Big days like Cinco de Mayo represent a wealth of opportunities for your bar or restaurant. If you already experience a surge in foot traffic, look for ways to take advantage of that by getting more reviews or capturing customer information to use in marketing efforts throughout the year.

Read more: How to get more reviews for your bar 

If you struggle to draw people in your doors, look for creative ways to drum up interest or establish your bar or restaurant as the place to be on Cinco de Mayo.

Read more: Building an effective small business marketing plan

Finally, try using Womply’s reputation management software to help you attract and retain more happy customers. Businesses like yours have used Womply to bring in 20% more revenue while saving an extra 10 hours of work per week. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!


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