Recognizing Hispanic Traditions to Extend the Holiday Season


Full-service restaurants can connect with bicultural Hispanic Millennials through promotions related to these holidays

It’s only October, and we’ve already begun to see the early signs of “Holiday Creep”—the trend among businesses to rush in their holiday promotions. Along the aisles of retailers you might already see light-up lawn reindeer posing next to creepy Halloween mummies, while at quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants you might soon begin to hear holiday tunes as you read a menu full of your seasonal favorites. It’s a valiant effort on the part of these business owners to try to extend the most lucrative spending season of the year. However, it can often lead to an environment so cluttered that it becomes difficult for customers to determine who’s offering what.

One of the ways that many establishments have begun to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack is by launching menus and marketing programs specifically designed to attract the attention of the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population: Hispanics. It’s truly not a surprise when you consider that this group of 55.8 million currently holds a purchasing power of $1.2 trillion (which will account for 11 percent of the entire country’s purchasing power in 2017),1 and represents 17.5 percent of the overall United States population (which will grow to 30 percent by 2060).2 What’s more, Hispanics are responsible for about 12 percent of casual-dining revenues.3

Going back to the holiday conundrum, while we all know that consumers tend to eat out more during the holiday shopping and travel season, many haven’t quite yet realized the best way to connect with U.S. Hispanics, let alone the group’s largest sub-segment: bicultural Millennials. After all, how do you create a program that targets an individual who can so fluidly represent all American values, yet is proud of his or her Hispanic cultural background?

An approach we’ve taken with some of our brands within the HEINEKEN USA portfolio is to leverage Hispanic traditions that fall on or around American holidays, so as to effectively connect with them while extending the spending season for our sales partners. Between now and the end of the year, there are still two major opportunities: Día de los Muertos and Lupe-Reyes.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is held on November 1 and 2 to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those who are no longer among us. To celebrate, many families set up altars that showcase their loved ones' favorite foods and beverages among a myriad of candles, flowers, and frames with their portraits. At annual festivals like the one held at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever cemetery, we’ve seen these altars evolve into a true reflection of the community’s biculturalism. On one altar alone, you’ll see the traditional Pan de Muertos (seasonal sweet bread) next to a meal from a quick-serve restaurant just as often as you’ll see a Mexican beer like Indio next to a bottle of a quintessential American soda. By harnessing this tradition, establishments can extend the Halloween season by a few days, whether by offering a thematic menu or by sponsoring one of the hundreds of Día de Muertos festivals across the country.

The second occasion is Lupe-Reyes, and it’s one that Tecate and Tecate Light, Mexican cervezas con carácter and bold flavor, has been leveraging for the last two years to much success. Lupe-Reyes is a series of holiday festivities popular in Mexico and among Mexican-Americans between December 12 and January 6. That’s a period of three weeks characterized by merry gatherings where food—and beer for the adults 21 and older—is at the center. Many families celebrate at home, which is why this year we’re launching the second iteration of a commercial program to help our retail partners extend the shopping season and increase holiday basket rings among bicultural Hispanic Millennials. Specifically, we’re encouraging bicultural Millennials 21 and older to “Taste their Traditions” through a variety of thematic POS and in-store promotions, limited-edition Tecate Light 3-Packs, and a sweepstakes on our Facebook page ( that encourages adults 21 and older to share their favorite Lupe-Reyes traditions for a chance to win prizes and receive discounts throughout the season. However, many others take their families to celebrate these moments at their favorite casual-dining establishments.

Both Lupe-Reyes and Día de los Muertos are just two examples of Hispanic traditions that can be harnessed to not only suggest additional consumption occasions for bicultural Hispanic consumers, but can also help extend the most wonderful time of the year.

1Selig Center for Economic Growth

2US Census

3NPD, Census, Nielsen and Global Insights

The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.

Gustavo Guerra

Gustavo Guerra currently serves as brand director for Tecate and Tecate Light, Indio, and Bohemia, part of the HEINEKEN USA portfolio of Mexican brands. Guerra is responsible for strategic planning, creative content, and public relations for the popular Mexican beer brands. He also plays a key role in building a strong partnership with the commercial team, the distributors, and the brand team at Heineken Mexico. With previous experience as marketing and commercial director of Club Deportivo Guadalajara S.A. de C.V. and Senior Group Brand Manager at Heineken Mexico, Guerra has more than 15 years of experience in the field. Guerra resides in New York with his family and is an active marathoner.

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