25 Ramadan Promotions that Worked

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and abstinence, is feted in all Muslim countries around the world. As the diaspora continues to grow stronger — Muslims are the fastest-growing major religious group, projected to grow 70% between 2015–2060 (compared to 32% global population growth) — many brands are standing up and taking notice, especially in the Middle East hospitality industry (in Saudi Arabia alone the Muslim population surpasses the 30 million people).

Ramadan is not only a good time for restaurants to do promotions and marketing campaigns to improve the top-line, but it can also be an opportunity to promote corporate responsibility and show gratitude to employees and customers.

1. Nando’s Double Whammy – A “Peri-fect” Analogy & Incentive

Nando’s UAE drew up an interesting analogy to invite – and excite – customers to their special edition of Ramadan 2015 iced cappuccinos in locally preferred flavors. The underlying message, though a tad tricky, seemed invigorating enough to match a product’s quality to the spirit of a people who revere the month and its blessings.

If that wasn’t enough, Nando’s donned its Peri-[chari]table avatar on Twitter and pledged to donate proceeds from its “Altogether Now” platter to the philanthropic institution Dubai Cares.

Nando's Ramadan Restaurant Promotion

2. TGI Friday’s Tantalizing Top-Up

TGI Friday’s Malaysia stepped up its game in Ramadan 2013 with RM 10++ for endless soup and salad with the purchase of a main course. It presented Iftar – the post-sunset meal – with endearing positivity and warmth.

TGI Fridays Itfar Meals

3. Pizza Hut “All-You-Can-Eat”

Pizza Hut Pakistan offered an “All-You-Can-Eat-and-Drink” Iftar in Ramadan in 2018, including unlimited pizza, salad, garlic bread, and beverages. Family deals and other promotions were also in place, donating meals for each one bought.

4. Chili’s Makes Iftar All About Sharing

Chili’s Qatar made the Ramadan evening meal a sharing event, be it with friends or family. Its Facebook page attracted consumers with incentives, healthy tips and the joys of bonding.

For the entire Holy Month in 2015, Chili’s offered a starting with soup, sharing an appetizer and enjoying a full-size entrée with complimentary dates and Ramadan beverages, all for Qatari Riyal 69 per person.

5. KFC’s Midnight Call

KFC Pakistan offered valued deals for Suhoor – the pre-dawn morning meal – during Ramadan 2015 starting at midnight. KFC generally offers deals for two or four for Iftar and Suhoor.

6. Coke Strikes a “No-Label” Chord

In 2015, the global beverage company beaconed the holy month with a social message – that of removing labels by abandoning its own. The campaign that ran in the Middle East during Ramadan discouraged prejudices by scraping its own logo name from the cans.

Labels are for cans, not for people was a strong message to foster a world free of stereotypes.

Coca Cola Ramadan Promotions

In 2018, Coke released a follow-up ad to support Muslims fasting around the world during Ramadan in countries where they are a minority. The video has more than 3 million views on YouTube.

7. Ferrero Rocher Sits Tight at Heathrow

Ferrero Rocher launched its limited-edition Ramadan-centric chocolates poised at London’s Heathrow airport. This garnered a positive reaction from the growing Muslim population in the city and more so, of the number of Muslim passengers that transit through one of the world’s busiest airports.

8. Anise IHG Hotel in Dubai Had Eight Live Cooking Stations

In 2020, Iftar at Anise included Arabian and international dishes freshly prepared in eight stations. The promotion included a 30% discount for Rewards Club members and additional points for every $25.

9. Emirates Airlines Celebrates With Ramadan Meal Boxes

In 2023 the airline handed out Iftar meal boxes to fasting passengers in airplanes, at boarding gates, and in lounges. The boxes had a special design honoring the Emirati heritage of Bedouin women. While in the air, Emirates informs the passengers of the correct times for imsak (to start fasting) and iftar depending on the plane’s location.

10. The Dubai Opera Collaborates with Fine Dining Restaurant

In 2023 Address Sky View collaborated with the Dubai Opera to host Iftar at the Opera throughout the holy month. There was live entertainment as well.

11. Burger King Bundles

In several countries like Malaysia and the UAE Burger King bundles favorites to break fast, with options for one, two, four, or five people. In 2023, for example, some of the bundles in Malaysia were:

  • BK Tendercrisp + fries + pie + drink
  • Whopper + pie + onion rings + drink
  • Double cheeseburger + double mushroom swiss beef + fries + nuggets + drinks

12. Joe and the Juice Sees the Appeal of Limited-Time Offers

For 2023’s Ramadan, Joe and the Juice created a menu item exclusive for the GCC and only available during the month of Ramadan. The offer was a halloumi sandwich made with olive paste, zaatar, halloumi, and tomato. It was accompanied by a limited-edition drink as well.

13. Tackling Food Waste and Doing Good

A well-done campaign by Red Crescent, Pizza2Go, and MullenLowe MENA had the original idea of doing pizza boxes for ¾ pizza — they indicate that about a quarter of food is wasted during Iftars in the Middle East. 25% of the revenue was donated to Red Crescent, the International Red Cross humanitarian movement.

14. Uber Eats Creates a Feature for Those Observing Ramadan

In 2023, Uber Eats displayed screens across different locations in the UK with the time to sunset for each location and enabled a function for food delivery to be scheduled for that time.

15. McDonald’s Invites to Live Ramadan with the Heart of a Child

In 2023, McDonald’s created a campaign with a message of kindness. There was no emphasis on discounts, new menu items, or loyalty promotions.

In the UAE, McDonald’s also launched “The Cards for Good”, a deck of cards customers could buy when purchasing at McDonald’s, with all proceeds going to Emirates Red Crescent.

16. Careem’s “Eat a Plate to Fill a Plate” Campaign

In this campaign, customers could order food delivery from participating restaurants and a meal was also delivered to a family in need.

17. Subway Forgiveness Campaign

Subway’s campaign was about daily struggles and the importance of forgiveness among family and friends. The campaign wasn’t about Subway’s product but about touching an emotional string with consumers.

18. Olper’s Wins Hearts with Message of Peace & Solidarity

Olper’s video commercial of a unified Muslim ummah and its invite for peace and solidarity hit a sweet spot. Regarding all Muslims as followers of one God and his beloved Messenger (peace be upon him), this commercial superficially extended the message to celebrate the blessings of the Holy Month with all and sundry. But in its undertone, it tried to remove all differences – cultural, religious, national and otherwise – that continue to litter the current Muslim diaspora.

19. KitKat Captures One & All

KitKat’s Facebook status reflected its ubiquitous affection towards all in an endearing yet smart way, breaking stereotypes and biases. It greeted the holy month with a simple, powerful social message.

20. Kellogg’s Goes the Happy “Appy” Way

Kellogg’s launched an augmented reality app for its Ramadan campaign across the United Arab Emirates. Every day, a new recipe using Kellogg’s cornflakes would appear on the mobile using the hotspot on the pack. A “how-to-make” video came with the recipe and so did a daily notification popup.

21. Eastern Mangrove Suites Focuses on Families

Eastern Mangrove Suites, an Abu Dhabi luxury hotel, focused its Ramadan promotion on creating personalized, individual offers for each guest to distinguish its property from other hotels in the area. It offers a free upgrade from a one-bedroom suite to a two-bedroom suite, allowing families to stay in one suite instead of two. This promotion helped drive occupancy up 6.5 percent between 2012 and 2013, enabling the hotel to achieve an occupancy rate of 82 percent in 2013.
Eastern Mangrove Suites Ramadan Promotions

22. Lulu Supermarkets and Hypermarkets Go Luxury

Lulu Supermarkets and Hypermarkets (the Middle East’s largest retail chain, with 104 locations in the GCC and India) featured its BMW Dream Drive for Ramadan event in Saudi Arabia. During this annual campaign, multiple luxury cars and over 100 Samsung products ranging from tablets to televisions are given away a month or two after Ramadan is over. Customers can only get raffle coupons by shopping at Lulu. Thanks in part to its Ramadan promotion, it rose 14 places between 2013 and 2014 on the Deloitte global top 250 retailer rankings, from 183 to 169 and earned revenue of $4.25 billion in 2013.

23. Lipton Gulf Takes to Twitter

Lipton launched a Ramadan Twitter campaign in 2014 that encouraged followers to share their special family moments from Iftar and Suhour using the hashtag #TeaMoments. The hashtag was promoted through in its TV ad campaigns, posters, and social media. The best submissions each week earned the users who had created the videos and photos the chance to win an Apple iPad Mini, and the videos and images were incorporated into a TV ad that ran during Eid. Many Muslims are wary of revenue-driven commercialization of the holy month, which made this family-focused campaign a success. By the end of Ramadan, Lipton Gulf had received more than 11,000 competition entries, 3.36 million trend impressions and a peak engagement rate of 13.71 percent. Its sales also increased 21.1 percent, 11 percent above its target for the campaign.

24. Domino’s Emphasizes Compassion

Domino’s Pizza in Saudi Arabia emphasized compassion for others and connecting with family members for its Ramadan campaign, allowing customers to purchase any medium or large pizza and get one of the same size free from Iftar to Sohour. Furthermore, each time a pizza was sold, Domino’s donated 3 SAR to the Saudi Cancer Society.

The Saudi Arabian locations also altered opening and closing hours during Ramadan, closing during the day and opening half an hour before Iftar. The promotions and altered opening hours allowed many Saudi Arabian locations to increase profits during the holy month.

Domino’s has also offered buy-one, get-one deals during past Ramadan seasons — and combined promotions with purpose by matching purchases with contributions given to underprivileged homes during the month.

25. Whole Foods Features Halal

In 2011, Whole Foods teamed up with halal products retailer Saffron Road to offer Muslims in the U.S. a special Ramadan promotion including sales on certain traditional Muslim foods and wider availability of halal meats and other Islamic staples. While the campaign was controversial among many of Whole Foods’ American customers, the digital coupons, product giveaways, and Ramadan-centric ad campaign caused Saffron Road sales to increase by 300 percent and its Facebook fan base to increase by 200 percent.

Restaurant Ramadan Promotions Trends

How every restaurant brand, hotel, or hospitality establishment chooses to celebrate Ramadan is going to be different based on the brand’s identity but some several new trends and ideas can be appealing, some of these are:

Digital Engagement

With consumers increasingly turning to digital platforms for F&B services, especially in the GCC, restaurants must consider digital marketing campaigns tailored for Ramadan. Social media (Instagram, TikTok, X, Facebook, etc.), email marketing, and mobile apps can be leveraged to connect and greet customers.

Increased Relevance of Sustainability

Millenials and Gen Z have a preference for sustainability. Eco-friendly practices, plant-based iftar options, and reducing food waste can be a way to do well for the customer and the planet.

Virtual Iftar Experiences

Even though we don’t do as many remote gatherings as we did during the pandemic, virtual iftar parties where customers in different parts of the city or even the country can order the same food and have a shared meal experience online can be something to appreciate for family members that live far or cannot gather for any reason.

Customizable Meal Kits

Some restaurants and food halls offer meal kits for iftar and suhoor that can be customized by size and dietary preferences.

Loyalty Programs

Having special rewards for loyalty during Ramadan can be a way to incentivize customers to return.

Décor and Ambiance

A Ramadan-themed ambiance can draw guests to hotels and customers to restaurants for a dining experience.

Extended Hours

It goes without saying that hours of operations need to be adjusted to accommodate for late-night dining and suhoor meals.

Be Generous

Charitable initiatives that engage customers to participate by partnering with local charities or donating a meal.

Create Something Special for the Occasion

Ramadan can be an occasion to showcase a new chef or partner with an influencer to create a unique experience for the month.

Measure Success of Your Ramadan Marketing

No matter if you have a large restaurant chain or run a small restaurant, track success and gather customer feedback that can help in future campaigns.

* * * * *

Ramadan Mubarak!

About Aaron Allen & Associates

Aaron Allen & Associates works alongside senior executives of the world’s leading foodservice and hospitality companies to help identify, size, and seize opportunities to drive growth, optimize performance, and enhance enterprise value. Our clients span six continents and 100+ countries, collectively posting more than $300b in revenue.

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