Restaurant Industry Insights

How Restaurants Can Prepare for a Successful Spring

It’s coming. Can you feel it, or are we simply imagining warmer days in our midst? To be exact, it’s about 27 days or 648 hours away, but who’s counting? While it may seem premature, as J.R. Rim said, “Better to start early than finish late.” 

So, let’s look at how you can use the inspiration of the coming season to ignite a spark in staff, customers, and, ideally, yourself. 

The Season of New Beginnings

This year, the spring equinox occurs on March 19 at 11:06 p.m. EDT, to be exact. It’s marked by the minutes that the sun sits directly above the Earth’s equator as it heads northward. Night and day embrace equality after the darkness of winter.

Spring is all about new beginnings and a fresh start. The world reawakens from winter’s slumber, and new life takes hold. Spring cleaning emerged thousands of years ago, rooted in religious and cultural traditions. If you’re in Scotland, the land of Celtic mythology and the birthplace of Gordon Ramsay, you might visit the Standing Stones of Callanish, built around 3,000 BC.

But what do you do as a restauranteur? Let’s explore the possibilities. 

Spring Cleaning & Design

Deep cleaning your restaurant evokes the season’s meaning—starting fresh and new. Now’s the time to also spruce up the patio. Once the intense cleaning is finished, look at ways to embrace the season. Plants are a great addition, bringing new life and greenery. More restaurants today are embracing vertical gardens, with whole walls enveloped in greenery. Gather in Omaha, a unique farm-to-table concept, integrated a hydrophobic vertical farm that provides about 3,600 pounds of leafy greens and herbs every year.  

The latest LED string lights add beauty and interest to your patio, changing colors with the touch of a button, from golden candlelight to indigo. Lanterns and candlelight offer charm and elegance, and heaters or firepits bring warmth while adding to the ambiance.

Serve Breakfast

What’s better than a weekend breakfast on your favorite restaurant’s patio as spring settles in? In 2024, restaurants across the nation are doubling down on brunch and breakfast as customers looking to spend less are transitioning to breakfast outings. Wendy’s agrees and plans to spend $55 million on breakfast ads over the next two years. 

The Spring Equinox Menu

Embrace the season with menu and beverage items celebrating the moment daylight and darkness embrace us in equal parts. Egg dishes are always big, signifying spring and new life. Spring pea fish chowder offers rejuvenation and a touch of greenery to the classic. Spring pea ravioli with prosciutto and pea shoots also offers a delicious meal and an elegant offering. As you can see, there’s a definite theme here. Lamb is also associated with the changing season. Consider grilled lamb chops with ginger or curry sauce. 

For unique beverage offerings, think refreshing, floral, and herbs, like dandelions, cherries, edible flowers, honey, and roses. A hibiscus cocktail encompasses many of these ingredients, including roses and berries. 

Special occasions allow you to elevate your offerings and indulge your patrons. In addition to dishes and drinks, consider live music or other experiences that make the day memorable. Celtic music, anyone?

Spring is also a time when people consider internal cleansing. Support them in their endeavor with healthy and rejuvenating specials designed to cleanse the human body. For instance, a beet-forward dish supports whole-body detoxification.  

The Holidays of Spring

Spring offers some potentially busy days for your restaurant, including spring break, Easter, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Memorial Day. While it may seem like a lifetime away, we all know how days quickly turn into months in this industry, and a special occasion leaves us scrambling. To prevent these last-minute strategies, spend some time preparing for each season’s holidays as it approaches. Decide on menu, event, and marketing strategies. 

Marketers recommend promoting events 90 days in advance, so now is the time to move forward. Social media, email, and in-restaurant signage are good starting points. Here are a few tips for the busiest days of spring.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry. Unfortunately, due to operational challenges, staff tend to cringe the closer it gets. Give yourself the best opportunity for success by creating a fixed menu or offering a brunch. A prix fixe menu streamlines operations, increasing speed and efficiency and ensuring the best guest experience and a smoother workflow for the BOH and servers. 

Cinco de Mayo is right behind Mother’s Day in terms of people heading out to celebrate, even if they don’t know what they’re celebrating. Just so you know, it’s the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. Of course, if you’re a Mexican restaurant, it’s no holds barred. However, all establishments can offer something special for the occasion and establish themselves as the place to be on May 5.

Prepping Staff

Are you staff-ready for the changing season and increasing traffic? Options include reaching out to your summer crew for short-term additions, workers who are familiar with your operations. If you’re looking for full-time support, consider Target Workforce, a hiring system that embraces the latest technology to reduce recruiting costs while optimizing your staff.

FAQS

Are prix fixe menus worth it?

Prix fixe menus can be very profitable because you’re controlling the profit margin of an entire meal, not just each item.

What is the busiest holiday for restaurants?

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days for restaurants, followed by Father’s Day.

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