This article will give you several ideas to increase your summer restaurant business to boost your sales, make your staff happy with more money, bring customers to you now and for future business, and to keep your restaurant busy!
The summer months can either make your business or break it. How and Why? Well, if you're not in the greatest location for summer, customers will go to the places such as: the water, boating areas, festivals, cook-offs, outdoor dining, patio settings or stay home to grill on the barbie. To be a successful restaurant in the summer months, you need to compete somehow with all that outdoor activity. You've heard the saying if you can't beat 'em, join 'em right? It's true, so here are our suggestions for more summer business.
Use our tips to increase your restaurant summer business:
1) Sign up for at least one outdoor festival in your area. Check out your local chamber of commerce or downtown business group and find out what's happening that you could be included in. Some ideas include: rib cook-off, chili cook-off, wine festival, cherry festival, downtown summer party, block party, bike night, ice cream festival, beach festival, etc. These outdoor events are widely attended in most cities and if your restaurant is not well known yet, these are a great way to meet the community, share your menu, give you business card, provide food tastings and make money.
2) Create an outdoor seating area. If you are able, find a space that could be used outdoors, even if it's on the sidewalk in front of your business or a back or side area that could house a few patio tables, chairs and umbrellas. ** Double check with your city or town and liquor control board to determine if your restaurant is or can be licensed for outdoors or what requirements there are for you to provide outdoor dining.
3) Sign up for any women's event or similar event at your local convention center. Women make most of the household buying decisions so make sure you get in front of women so that they know what you offer.
4) Sign up for any progressive dinner parties with other restaurants in your neighborhood. It's always a good idea, if you can, to befriend other restaurants. Progressive dinners are popular among customers and it's a nice way for you to participate with other businesses and meet new restauranteurs and customers.
5) If you do any catering, make sure you advertise it within your restaurant, on your business cards, on flyers, online, on your Facebook business page and possibly in any inexpensive print advertising. Get Catering and Grow Sales is a must read for the serious restauranteur and on kindle!! Customers don't always want to do the cooking, they want caterers that offer their services either in your business, at a park, the beach or in a customer's home.
6) Offer fundraising services with your favorite and local charity. This is a win-win situation for you and the charity as both can obtain more recognition and funds to keep going.
7) Create your summer themed menu. Customers want to eat healthier in the summer months when dining outdoors; if you use your current menu with a summer twist you'll be more likely to compete for their dollars and bring them to you often. Try summer salads, summer grilling, barbeque, fruit, light fare and stay within your menu theme. We'll discuss menus more down the road but this should give you a head start to begin now while summer is starting. Ask any questions in the comments so we can help your specific needs!
Use these tips to increase your restaurant's summer business and you'll be happy you did when you find new customers, keep loyal customers coming back, raise your profits and keep a happy staff with a growing business.