With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time for restaurants to make the most of this sunny season and drive more revenue. No matter where your venue is located, there are many creative and fun ways to boost your restaurant’s summer revenue while the days are longer, and people want to go out and enjoy the warm weather. Keep reading for six creative ways that operators can drive more restaurant revenue this summer, including optimizing rooftops and outdoor seating, focusing on existing guests, staying up to date on local events, ‘Summer Friday’ deals, a menu refresh and celebrating national food holidays.
1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUTDOOR DINING
Now is the time for your outdoor seating or rooftops to shine. With the arrival of warmer weather, diners love to enjoy their favorite dish or cocktail while soaking up the sun. The easiest way to optimize your outdoor dining is to offer reservation upgrades when guests book online. You can even host local singers or artists to come and entertain diners in your outdoor space to make your restaurant stand out from the crowd.
No outdoor dining spaces at your property? There are still plenty of ways for you to offer an exceptional experience to guests! Even without a rooftop or outdoor seating area, you can still attract guests by adding Insta-worthy summer specials or decor to your restaurant. Something as simple as adding fresh summer flowers, a witty sign at the entrance or seasonally-appropriate seat covers are simple ways to attract guests throughout the summer months.
Pro tip: If you do not have outdoor dining, look into hosting a pop-up shop or a renting a food truck as a way to boost restaurant revenue in the summer months.
Using SevenRooms’ reservation widget, Gitano, a New York-based partner, offers a variety of seating options for their guests in their outdoor dining decks and garden lounge.
2. FOCUS ON EXISTING GUESTS
Let’s not forget about your existing guests and regulars as a source of extra restaurant revenue. There are many ways you can encourage them to make the most of summer at your restaurant. By having the right restaurant reservation system to understand your diners, you can ensure your staff knows exactly which guests need extra love or attention. Plus, by offering incentives and special experiences, like an email offer of a complimentary glass of prosecco for your regulars, you’ll ensure diners continue to choose your restaurant in the summer months — and drive more revenue for your restaurant.
Pro tip: Offer your top VIPs early access to new summer cocktail tastings or happy hour events.
3. STAY UP TO DATE ON YOUR CITY’S EVENTS
No matter where you live, there are sure to be local events such as concerts, sporting events or film festivals that take place throughout the summer. By staying up to date on local events, and partnering with those that make sense for your restaurant and brand, you can tap into a potentially new audience of guests to keep your seats filled. Partnering with an organization or brand that aligns with your business is a great opportunity to offer and sell specialty dishes, unique prix-fixe or pre- or post-event menus, or even a signature dessert. This gives new consumers a reason to try your restaurant and get your brand out there for everyone to see.
Pro Tip: Reach out to your local tourism board to find out the dates of an upcoming Restaurant Week. Most cities host their restaurant week’s during the summer months, and it can be a great way to get new and returning guests into your restaurant. Use the power of their marketing to drive more people through your door to add restaurant revenue to your bottom line! Plus, don’t forget to email your existing client list on any special menus you’ll have for the event.
4. SUMMER FRIDAYS
TGIF has a whole new meaning in the summer with many businesses offering their employees “Summer Fridays”. Your restaurant can seize this opportunity for a chance to get people through your doors earlier to spend their Friday afternoon or night at your property. This can be done by offering a special happy hour starting at 2pm or providing guests with their first drink free. Your bar can even offer a signature summer cocktail list or seasonal appetizers that are offered at a discount on Fridays.
Pro Tip: Restaurants can offer local-area companies 10% off their bill on specific days or times. This is a great way to create loyal customers while showing your support for businesses in your area.
5. FRESHEN UP YOUR MENU
Summer is a great time to think about lightening up your food and shaking up your cocktails. This gives guests another reason to choose your restaurant in the summer months. By working with local farmers to create fresher and lighter dishes you are not only supporting your city economy, but your chef gets to let their creativity shine. With the days getting longer, people are also more likely to want to grab a drink after work so adding new seasonal small plates and summer happy hour specials are a great way to attract a crowd.
Recent trends have also pointed to the rise in sustainable, fresh, farm-to-table cocktails. This is especially true during the summer when people are more likely to drink a frosé made with locally-produced rosé wine, or a refreshing watermelon-based beverage. The good news? This works for every concept — whether you’re adding a new summer drink wines, switching out your beers to lighter seasonal brews or adding wine specials that pair perfectly with your updated summer menu.
Now let’s get people excited about your new menu! A great way to do this can be through reservation upgrades such as a summer wine pairing or a flight of your newest beers. Your restaurant can even offer unlimited rosé when dining from your summer menu every night from 7pm – close. Your restaurant can present this as a prix-fixe event where diners can pay when booking online. With SevenRooms, creating unique experiences that will keep guests coming back is only limited by your creativity.
6. CREATING EVENTS & SPECIAL MENUS AROUND SUMMER HOLIDAYS
Whether it’s a formal holiday like Labor Day or a more casual event, it’s a great time to get people into your property to celebrate their special occasions. Turn to the summer month’s national food and drink calendar for creative ideas to invite people into the restaurant for special menus, events, and more.
Here are some upcoming dates to consider:
Tip in Action: National Tequila Day
Make sure to mark your calendars for July 24th. National Tequila Day is among many of the food and beverage holidays that can be celebrated all summer long.
Restaurants can host a special dining experience for this day – or even all week! This can be done by restaurants hosting an event and inviting guests to pre-purchase a ticket for a chef-crafted menu paired with top-shelf tequila.
Reservation upgrades can be a great way to boost revenue as well. Diners can have the option to include a tequila flight to their dinner or even some tequila themed desserts.
Check out how our partner, Zuma, uses SevenRooms to host a one of a kind Omakase tasting dinner, which can be completely customized to host all different events, such as National Tequila Day!
With a fresh new outlook on the summer months, your restaurant will be bursting with energy and diners who are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy your new summer options. Whether it be your guests digging into your seasonal menu or enjoying a killer view from your rooftop, following these tips can result in your restaurant’s revenue soaring all summer long!