While it seems that spring has just arrived, summer is already bearing down. And with it comes heightened possibilities in the restaurant industry. Summer portends family gatherings and enjoying meals at their favorite local restaurant. Tourists may pass through, and locals may long for outdoor meals on beautiful patios. To make the most of this season, we’ve put together the events, marketing strategies, and menu optimizations that can make this your restaurant’s best summer yet.
Creating Memorable Experiences
Summer is one of the seasons that helps us create memories that last a lifetime. From tropical vacations to long walks on the beach, summiting mountains, and exploring remote parts of the world, summer is the season for outdoor activity that’s all too soon gone. To add to this momentum, consider different events you can sponsor each weekend. Do you have space for summer jazz on the patio or a guitarist indoors? What about wine tastings and, if you have the room, an outdoor movie night?
Additionally, make sure to upgrade your outdoor dining area with new plants, flowers, and décor. Install string lights on the patio and consider the latest LED lights that can set the mood for various activities with one touch of a button.
If you don’t have an outdoor area, there are still many ways to enhance the guest experience and celebrate the season. Bring in the joy of summer with tabletop drink signs displaying pictures of your new beverages. Consider partnering with local businesses to co-host events. Add fresh flowers and opt for alternatives to outdoor dining, such as hosting a pop-up.
If the local rules and regulations allow, some restaurants extend their outdoor spaces with firepits, seating areas, and live music performances. Others offer sidewalk seating or take advantage of their rooftop.
Setting the Stage with Summer Beverages
From flavored lemonades to seasonal cocktails, nothing says summer is better than fruit, ice, and bright colors. Consider incorporating seasonal fruits and herbs, and don’t forget the all-important mocktail. Some popular summer drinks include simple twists on mojitos with fresh blackberries, lime, and mint. Palomas, Aperol spritzers, and the Tiki bar Mai Tai with fresh pineapple and lime are top contenders.
According to Think with Google, about 89% of dining research happens on mobile devices before diners choose their restaurant. Regular posts on your website can add interest, get more traffic, and take you to the top of restaurant searches in your area.
Update your website with photos of new menu items, special summer events, and unique items designed for outdoor dining. And don’t forget pictures of your beautiful patio with twinkling lights and flourishing plants.
Create a buzz for your new events through social media, your website, and email marketing. Make sure to offer your VIP guests early access to summer favorites, including unique cocktails or special happy hour events for your number-one fans.
Stay abreast of the summer events occurring in your neck of the woods, and offer specials designed to draw people in during these occasions.
Add light and refreshing summer menu options, and consider a separate menu for your outdoor area. If possible, work with local farmers to optimize fresh fruits and vegetables. Offer seasonal small plates that go well with your new summer beverages.
Now, the trick is taking action before summer arrives. It’s one of those seasons that flies by and will be gone before we know it. Explore some of these options and measure the results in increased revenue and customer satisfaction!
You may also want to consider the latest trend in increasing restaurant revenue—optimizing the guest experience with reservation upgrades. TABLZ make this possible, creating a 3D experience of your restaurant that allows guests to choose and pay a small fee if they have a specific table in mind.
At EMERGING, we provide real estate and technology solutions for the industry’s top restaurant and entertainment concepts. Our seven divisions include supply chain optimization, supporting restaurants’ expansion plans, and F&B Insights to enhance the guest experience and increase profits. To learn about the many opportunities or to schedule a consultation, contact EMERGING today.
Do restaurants slow down in the summer?
Almost every restaurant has some form of seasonality. Depending on their location, they may be big summertime hits with travelers and tourists or slowdown as their local customers head out of town on vacations and family gatherings. Mid-August and September may be particularly challenging, corresponding with late summer wanderings and back-to-school activities.
How can I increase sales in my restaurant?
Restaurants use numerous strategies to increase their sales. These include upselling, cross-selling, enhancing their delivery services, offering signature packages, optimizing their menu, and promoting their brand via digital marketing.