Longer days and warmer weather can mean new sales opportunities. After months of cold weather, people are eager to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. From al fresco dining to special summer menus, here are five ways you can take advantage of the changing season and drive sales this summer.
Seasonal Summer Menu
With warmer weather comes the demand for fresh, seasonal fare like flavorful salads and summer-inspired sandwiches. When developing salad concepts, think outside the box by adding ingredients that complement each other well but also offer a contrast of texture and flavor. Get creative with an array of greens, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and healthy, lean proteins like antibiotic-free turkey. Create crave-worthy sandwiches with flavorful condiments, crisp veggies, artisanal bread and high-quality proteins like organic chicken.
A beautiful, relaxing outdoor ambience can help attract new diners and encourage guests to return. Plus, it creates additional seating so more guests can dine at the same time. Just make sure your servers and kitchen staff are well-prepared for the increase in traffic. Leverage the profit potential of al fresco dining by setting up an outdoor bar area with exclusive beverage and small-plate promotions. And be sure to offer a variety of on-trend menu items like organic and No Antibiotics Ever proteins, local in-season fruits and veggies and summer favorites like watermelon gazpacho, grilled lobster and blueberry cobbler.
Summer Happy Hour
Summer provides the perfect opportunity to attract new customers with all-day happy hour specials and daily menu promotions. Whether you operate a small, casual bar or an upscale full-service restaurant, a successful happy hour program can go a long way. Happy hour can grow overall sales and traffic, especially if the special offer is created with the guest in mind.1 Attract guests with summer-inspired happy hour offerings like chicken wings with a spicy peach glaze or turkey tacos with heirloom tomatoes and corn salsa. In addition to food, offering entertainment components like live music, trivia and games can help lure happy hour customers.
While snacking and all-day breakfast might be leading more restaurants to offer all-day dining, laid-back lifestyles during the summer months may also be a contributing factor. Most Americans take vacations and work fewer hours during the summer, which can mean more-relaxed schedules and a shift in eating habits. By offering an all-day menu, you have the opportunity to drive additional sales throughout the day, especially among consumers who are looking to enjoy breakfast and lunch at nontraditional times.
If you want to drive traffic, it’s time to take advantage of the thriving grab-and-go business. And what better time than the summer season when people spend their days at the beach, park or poolside? Leverage these summer activities by promoting your off-premise business. For example, you can offer a large-format picnic basket that comes complete with fried chicken, fresh sides and cold lemonade, or serve up a daily takeout lunch special that features a sandwich, side and drink in a portable to-go box. If you partner with local delivery services like GrubHub or UberEats, you can easily offer special summer promotions to patrons who order directly through the platform. While there is a bit of planning that goes into off-premise dining, the return will be well worth the investment.
Summer is a great time to expand your customer base. Use the new season to create a memorable experience for your patrons with seasonal summer menus, outdoor dining options and convenient off-premise dining.
Content courtesy of Perdue Foodservice
1National Restaurant Association, Manage My Restaurant: Happy Hour & Late Night Success, http://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Marketing-Sales/Food/Happy-Hour-and-Late-Night-Success (operator’s edge – 6-1-18)