Summertime Marketing Guide for Restaurants

Marketing Ideas for the Summer Months

Summertime is a good time to update your restaurant menu
Summertime is a good time to update your restaurant menu. Mary Bettini Blank via Pixabay

Summertime offers lots of marketing opportunities for restaurants. Summer marks the start of school vacation, Father’s Day and tourist season for many areas in the United States. Farmers markets are in full swing during summer, offering many different fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate into menu specials. To increase their share of the tourist industry, many restaurants partner with local hotels and shops to offer dining packages for summer guests.

While summer means extra business for many restaurants, it is important to continue to maintain social media sites, networking with customers, both old and new.  

Visit the Local Farmers Market

June, July and August are prime time for fresh, local produce.  Everything from strawberries to corn are in season during the warmer months.  As a restaurant owner or chef, it can be difficult to get out to the farmers market regularly. If that’s the case, many local farms will deliver fresh produce right to the restaurant. Another option for buying local, seasonal fruits and vegetables is to participate in a restaurant supported agricultural share (RSA). Similar to a CSA, a restaurant can purchase and RSA share at the end of the winter and start having fresh produce delivered in early spring, continuing until the last of the harvest in the fall.  This is a great way to add variety to a menu, as well as a good way to give back to the local community.

  

Update Menus for Summer

The start of warmer weather is a good time to update your menu. If you are running a lot of cold weather foods – stews, casseroles and such, now is good time to swap them out for lighter summer fare. This is also a good time to make sure your prices and food cost are where they should be.

Promote Summertime Holidays

While Father’s Day may not be the powerhouse holiday that Mother’s Day is, it is still an opportunity to garner some extra business. The Fourth of July is another summertime holiday that can generate extra business, especially if it falls near the weekend.  There are also lots of fairs and festivals in the summer. If your town or city hosts any of these types of festivals, be sure that your restasurant takes part in the festivities.     

Keep Up on Social Networking

For many restaurants, summertime gets busy. However, it is still important to maintain regular updates on social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Be sure to snap photos of summer menu specials and share them with followers.   

Network with Other Local Businesses

Summertime isn’t only busy for restaurants; lots of other small businesses see an big uptick in business during the summer months. Partner with local hotels and inns to offer their guests discounted meals. If there are popular shops and stores nearby, ask the owners about offering mutual coupons for shoppers – if a customer purchases something a shop, they’ll receive a coupon for your restaurant and vice versa.

Start Thinking About Autumn Promotions

It’s always good to be planning ahead.

  Autumn is a fun time of year – the air is cool, the colors are changing and there is a shift from summer to preparation for winter. For restaurants, autumn offers many promotional opportunities, from holidays to harvest themed menus. Start planning for autumn restaurant promotions in late July or early August.

Summertime offers many marketing opportunities for holidays and tourist season. Restaurants should take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available locally.  Partnering with other small businesses and maintaining social networking sites is also important for increasing sales during the summer months.