Summer means restaurants are gearing up for one of their busiest seasons. That includes implementing all kinds of fresh marketing campaigns, seasonal specials, and creative promotions.
So with all the competition for foot traffic, how can you set your business apart?
Summer is the season for outdoor events—outdoor events that have a bunch of hungry attendees. Bring your business to them with a new or expanded catering service. Whether it’s a concert, outdoor movie night, or anything in between, there are plenty of audiences for your delicious food. Bring along your more portable and convenient dishes, or even a special, streamlined catering menu tailored for the event (for example, a lively concert with a raucous audience paired with an artisanal soup is not the best idea). Plaster your restaurant’s name all around to build your brand and encourage other attendees to consider hiring you for their next event.
It seems like every bar and restaurant offers trivia these days. So, how can you stand out? Put your own twist on it that further incentives participation. Maybe you offer a late-night Happy Hour or a special meal deal. If your trivia night is a closed event and requires some form of registration, then offer a plus-one deal: a free drink for a patron and whichever new customer they bring along. And don’t forget the prizes. Throw in some gift cards from the best local businesses and a dinner credit for your restaurant for the winner.
It’s summer, the days are getting longer, and your customers will celebrate by letting loose, which means that they’ll pay extra attention to your dessert menu. Now’s time to sweeten the deal with something that your customers will talk about—a dessert loyalty card. Each time a customer buys one of your desserts, they’ll get one hole punched or a box checked closer to a free dessert from your selection. Need some design inspiration? Check out this wide selection of loyalty card templates. Or, if a loyalty card isn’t exactly your style, you could design a smaller, temporary, summertime dessert—let’s say something having to do with ice cream - and make it free during certain days of the week. Even though it’s free, it won’t be a large cost to your business, and it will give customers more reasons to return often.
Take your wonderful food to the streets with a food truck. These convenient vendors offer a cheap solution for introducing your food to a new location. Aim for junctions where you know there will be a ton of hungry pedestrians: outside an event, close to a college campus, by some local basketball courts (permitted you are allowed to, of course). The best part is that you can move between these hotspots throughout the day. Your restaurant’s name will be advertised all around, and customers won’t forget it. When setting up, make sure that you put your refreshing beverages front and center, because there’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink on a sweltering summer day.
There’s no better way to welcome in the summer season than with a fresh new cocktail for your adult customers. Craft a light, seasonal drink that will have patrons coming back for more, and then fire up your marketing team to connect with customers both new and old. Make a cocktail debut event with a large discount on your fresh concoction. Your patrons will spread the good news to their family and friends. Want to craft an updated cocktail menu that includes your new summer drink? DIY design tools offer a wide range of cocktail menu templates that you can customize for free.
Zach Williams is a staff writer for MustHaveMenus who is studying English at USC.