June 2, 2016
Posted in: Culinary Arts

4 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant This Summer

In recent months, we’ve shared some important insights into effectively marketing your restaurant. If you really want to make the most of your post-culinary academy career, steps like creating social media campaigns and building inter-community partnerships are important for promoting any eatery. But with summer upon us and restaurants across the country expecting an increase in sales and overall activity, it’s important to ensure your promotion engine is running smoothly. Here are four more tips for increasing your business’s profile:

“Summer imagery can attract new diners.”

1. Get a summer makeover
As temperatures begin to rise, a certain mood fills the air, one of fun and carefree adventure. If you really want to draw people in, it’s important that your restaurant reflects some of that energy. There are a few different methods you can choose to “summer-fy” any spot. It could be a change in the menu, including a few specialty dishes or making use of summer ingredients, like a wider selection of produce. If your restaurant has a website – and it should already – even a few basic pieces of summer imagery – bright colors or cool, refreshing drinks – can go a long way to perpetuating your place as a summer destination. Flowers or vases are simple shifts to the decor, and they can prove just as beneficial to setting the mood.

2. Set up a contest
Summer means no school, and a huge chunk of a restaurant’s upturn in business stems from families being able to travel and spend more together. In order to really market yourself, Second Street Labs suggested running a summer contest or two. These contests are a great way to appeal to the money-saving tendencies of most customers, but especially families. And even a small prize – like half off a single meal – can be a huge deal to many diners. Plus, there is plenty of source material to inspire these contests, whether themed around patriotism to celebrate July 4th or  a summer getaway.

Parties or events are a great way to get new customers in your door.

Parties or events are a great way to get new customers in your door.

3. Make it a party
Summer is a time for people to come together with friends, escape the monotony of life and have plenty of fun. In the restaurant business, that can sometimes be hard to capture, but there are two great solutions: happy hour and summer sports. The former is common in many restaurants, but why not have a little fun during the summer? Happy hour should become a huge focus of your summer redesign, and the more deals you offer, the more likely people will make your eatery a go-to location. Think plenty of summer cocktails and light snacks that encourage gatherings. As for sports, summer is a huge time for baseball, and even if you don’t have TVs around, you can still tap into the enthusiasm of fans.

“Food festivals engage your community.”

4. Hit the streets
No one wants to be stuck indoors this summer, so why should you, the restaurant owner or head chef be any different? With gorgeous weather available for the next few months, summer is the perfect time to make use of the surrounding environment. Something simple, like added outdoor seating, will attract plenty of diners. But if you’re really committed to making use of summer, then there are other steps to try. If you have the resources, a food truck is a great way to get out and engage your core diners. And running it seasonally will reduce many of the associated costs. If a truck isn’t an option, then you can always work at food festivals and other events. These are an opportunity for getting to know your community and forging partnerships.