Depending on the location of your restaurant, the chances are that the summer months are the busiest of the year. Thanks to an increase in tourism and warmer temperatures giving locals and visitors a reason to venture outdoors, it’s easy to fill your restaurant with paying punters and make a small fortune in the process. As the hotel industry also sees an increase in visitor numbers during the summer months, it’s almost certain you’ll see an increase in sales – but if you want to make a success of the season, you must prepare for it beforehand.
You know how to run your restaurant better than anyone else, but we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the ways you can get your establishment into shape to accommodate an increase in diners and visitors, and ensure they come back time and time again…
Market your special offers
Perhaps one of the most important ways to prepare for the summer is to market your special offers on a regular basis. Let people know you’re running a two-for-one deal on cocktails and spread the word about your summer Pavlova using social media and traditional marketing techniques like radio advertising and newspaper cut-outs. The hospitality industry is fiercely competitive – if people forget you exist, then you could face a long, empty summer ahead!
Summer-up your menu
Add some limited edition dishes and drinks to your menus to get guests in the summer spirit and encourage locals to come back for another meal. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but hosting a weekly barbecue to take advantage of the weather and adding light dishes to the menu, like flatbreads, salads, and chicken skewers, will ensure everyone’s happy.
Consider outdoor seating
If you’re expecting to be busy this summer, then why not add some new outdoor seating to your restaurant or pub so that guests can dine al fresco? Not only will this increase your covers, but it’ll give you an opportunity to generate more returns in the height of the summer – but make sure that you’re prepared (particularly in the kitchen) to cope with extra orders.
Make sure you’re well-staffed
The summer is one of the worst times of the year for staffing – the chances are at least some of your wait staff and kitchen brigade will be off on their summer jollies when you need them the most. Consider working with a chef agency that can hook you up with temporary kitchen staff to meet demand; just make sure you know what you’re looking for before you advertise for new staffers. Oh, and consider the benefits of taking on a new permanent member of staff, too, especially if you’re growing and you think that you can balance out the books.
Collect contact information
Finally, find ways to collect contact information from diners so that you can market your restaurant in the quieter months of the year. Consider running a raffle in the summer where guests can hand over their email address in exchange for an entry into a prize draw, or offer a discount on their next order if they hand over their phone number or address. Maximize the opportunities that wait – you probably won’t be as busy as the summer for the rest of the year, so it makes sense to collect data (properly) to get bums on seats later in the year.
Whatever you get up to this summer, we wish you the very best of luck with it.