6 Creative Ways to Boost Summer Restaurant Revenue
With the summer season in full swing, now is the perfect time for restaurants to make the most of this time of year and drive more revenue with seasonal restaurant promotion ideas. No matter where your venue is located, there are many creative and fun ways to boost sales while the days are longer, and people want to go out and enjoy the warm weather.
In this article, we’ll cover six creative marketing ideas operators can use to attract new customers with unique summer events.
1. Take Advantage Of Outdoor Dining
Now is the time for your outdoor seating or rooftops to shine. Offer reservation upgrades when guests book online using your reservation widget — though, you might consider implementing pre-payments or reservation deposits for your high-demand areas like patios and pergolas. 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.
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.
No outdoor dining spaces at your property? You can offer guests an exceptional summer experience by leveraging something as simple as adding fresh summer flowers, a witty sign at the entrance or seasonally-appropriate seat covers.
Pro tip: If you do not have outdoor dining, look into hosting a pop-up shop or renting a food truck as a way to boost restaurant revenue in the summer months.
2. Focus On Your Local Guests
Encourage your local guests and regulars to make the most of summer at your restaurant. Pull up your email list and send your existing customers targeted promotions you know they’ll love.
Plus, by offering incentives and special experiences, like a complimentary glass of prosecco or offering early access to new summer cocktail tastings or happy hour events, you’ll ensure diners continue to choose your restaurant in the summertime — and drive more revenue.
FYI: Avoid the urge to take a one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing. Gathering and analyzing guest data can help you send targeted emails that make your marketing efforts more successful. Read our ultimate email marketing guide to learn more.
3. Stay Up To Date On Your City’s Events & Holidays
No matter where you live, there are sure to be local summer events and national holidays you can leverage to drive more revenue. Here are a few restaurant event ideas to consider:
Pair specialty dishes or unique prix-fixe or pre- or post-event menus that align with local sporting events or film festivals that take place throughout the summer.
Participate in your city’s local restaurant week with limited-time menu items. Your local tourism board can provide you with the dates.
Capitalize on national food holidays so guests can enjoy specialty spending trends. Think: Craft beer specials on National Beer Day, wine pairing on National Wine Day or BOGO burgers on National Cheeseburger Day. Our national food holiday calendar can help you plan these events.
Get people through the doors earlier by celebrating “Summer Fridays.” For example, start happy hour at 2 p.m. or offer a signature cocktail or appetizer special that helps people kick off the weekend.
No matter how you plan to incorporate events into your marketing calendar, remember to offer pre-paid tickets guests can purchase online to capitalize on event revenue before guests walk in the door. (SevenRooms’ event management software can help streamline your ticketing, pre-payment, reservations, promotions and upgrades.)
Summer is a great time to think about lightening up your food and shaking up your cocktails. Work with local businesses and farmers to create fresher, lighter dishes that support your economy and let your chef’s creativity shine.
Recent trends have also pointed to the rise in sustainable, fresh, farm-to-table cocktails and dishes. Pair new seasonal small plates and summer happy hour specials, such as frosé made with locally-produced rosé wine, or a refreshing watermelon-based beverage.
Pro Tip: As you debut new restaurant menu items, don’t forget to advertise your special offers on social media and through your loyalty program. Help your local partners increase brand awareness by promoting their participation. Better yet, create a hashtag your customer base can use when posting pictures of your beautifully-plated local fare.
5. Get More Bookings Through Google
Once you’ve created your new summertime menu, post it to your Google business listing and update your landing pages accordingly with seasonal keywords and phrases, such as “outdoor dining,” “patio seating” and “live music.”
Google runs nearly 6.2 million searches a month for local restaurant-related queries, so getting your business on the platform is a great way to build brand awareness and expand your customer base. More importantly, this will help traveling foodies find your venue after conducting a “restaurants near me” search.
6. Add Summer Upgrades and Upsell Opportunities Into the Reservation Process
Mango’s Tropical Café in Miami drove an additional $29,000 in 2022 by offering prepaid upgrades like birthday cakes and bride-to-be goodie bags while Flight Club Chicago gives guests the option to reserve cookie towers and appetizer sampler platters before they even walk in the door.
Looking for something more experiential? 41 Miami offers a bottle service upgrade and outdoor dining to boost their summertime guest spend. You could also sell branded merchandise or summer cookbooks during online ordering.