Summer is here! In most parts of the world, the sun is shining, and the outlook is bright indeed. If you are involved in the running of a restaurant in any location where the season has been welcomed in, then you need to reflect this in the way your business is run.
As a society, we can’t help ourselves. Whatever the reason is, the summer certainly affects us as people and makes us far happier, and our approach to life changes. It also influences our culinary choices and the way we want to consume our meals.
Why would we want to eat inside when we can take our meals outside and bask in the fresh air? Your eatery needs to be in tune with the whims and wants of your clientele, and that means that whatever the type of restaurant or cafe that you operate, you should use the summer as a chance to refresh, perhaps even recharge, the way your business operates.
These changes can be simple and understated, or they might even be more far-reaching and could lead to year-round alterations. Not sure where to start? Here are some ways to make your restaurant the type of place that people will want to visit this summer.
This first tip is perhaps obvious but can not be underplayed. If your current restaurant set-up has scope for outdoor areas, or you already have them, then this should become a bigger focus of your activities.
Look to make the most of what you have. Maybe this means replacing your current set-up with restaurant furniture that is more suitable for the outdoor areas and could actually offer you much more capacity than you currently have.
During the myriad of lockdowns that we experienced during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the restaurants that successfully made it through those trying times were those that had outdoor areas to seat patrons. Now, these areas are perfect for use during the summer months.
Make sure to not just simply leave your customers out there to overheat. Get as many industrial-grade fans as possible so as to make their dining experience a comfortable one, especially during the daytime.
Even if it’s hot outside, customers would rather sit out and eat outside than be stuck indoors on a nice sunny day. You just need to offer sufficient shade and airflow to make it an attractive prospect for them.
Freshen Things Up
As well as maximizing outdoor space, you might also want to consider adjusting things inside as well. Some restaurants use the change of seasons as a good chance to freshen things up.
If you have more space outside, why not make things more spacious indoors? Give your customers more room to breathe. Maybe change the color palette and alter some aspects of your design to help give your restaurant a new lease of life.
These changes can be deliberately minimal or could be more fundamental; either way, the idea is to take advantage of the change in seasons as something of a catalyst for a new approach.
Change Your Menu
With summer comes a change in appetites, and you’d do well to let your menu reflect this and though clearly, most restaurants change up their menus regularly, doing so specifically for the summer is a clever way to approach the season.
A lot depends on what kind of culinary niche your restaurant sits in, but whatever food you serve, there will be an opportunity to amend your menu. You might look to offer lighter meals on your menu and seasonal dishes that your customers might crave during the peak summer months.
For example, your takeout menu might adjust for the summer. You might look to offer picnic-ready options that help to give customers the chance to experience your great meals on their own terms. Maybe you’d have small bite-sized entrees, and of course, your desserts may move from those that are richer and fuller to lighter and more delightfully consumed in the searing heat.
Make Sure Your Staffing Reflects the Seasonal Rush
It’s likely, especially in areas where there is a great deal of tourism, that the summer will bring with it an increased seasonal rush of visitors to your restaurant, and it isn’t fair to expect your current staff to cover this increased workload without assistance.
Make sure you staff accordingly so as to make your restaurant a more efficient business model for these busier times. Doing so helps in a number of ways. Firstly it helps in terms of the morale of your staff (which will then reflect in the service they provide) and secondly, this will help appease your customers who are not left waiting for their menus and meals and are no doubt very much enjoying the great service offered by staff that is actually enjoying their jobs and not working themselves into the ground.
Basically, you can, and should, use the summer as its very own selling point. In other words, get creative with your summer promotions. Here you should look to market what you already serve but in a way that is geared for the season. Make all that you offer even more attractive for these key months.
Happy hours, appetizer specials, promotions and offers, anything to see off the competition in what is a notoriously key period of the year. You need to be doing all you can to win the seasonal war.
Look at maximizing the after-work crowd, as there will be far less of a rush to get home when the sun is out. Then there’s the family market who don’t want to be stuck at home when they could be out making the most of the weather. Whoever is your key demographic, use your creativity to the max and make sure that your establishment is doing all it can to get the customers in and having a great time while the sun shines.