Summer is almost here, and with it comes a change in your customers’ dining preferences. Take advantage of their desire to make dining a part of their summertime activities by adapting your business to their warm-weather dining patterns. Here are some ways restaurants can refresh their menus and operations to boost sales this summer:
1. Take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Guests typically favor lighter fare in the summer. The idea of eating heavy, hearty foods simply isn’t appealing when temperatures rise. Offer food and drink with a light summer feel —think grilled fish, chicken, and vegetables (maybe even served chilled atop a bed of greens); citrus-infused beverages; and fruity desserts. Consider locally grown, locally sourced seasonal ingredients to create these options.
A Point of Sale (POS) system is an indispensable tool for managing summertime menu changes, making it easier to update menu pricing and add or delete specials throughout the summer. Additionally, the inventory control component of the POS system lets you track ingredient usage and see when it’s time to reorder, so that no summertime items need to be pulled from the menu because of ingredients being out of stock.
2. Incorporate healthy choices. Summer weather often means outdoor exercise and activities, not to mention clothes that show off a toned body, such as sleeveless shirt, shorts, and bathing suits. As a result, customers are often more health-conscious in the summer. Try incorporating healthy options into your summer menu to meet this demand and boost sales.
POS reporting will show which menu items are most popular and profitable, whether your customers prefer salads, fruit, or seafood as their summertime favorites.
3. Offer cocktail options that match menu items. Warm summer months mean restaurant-goers may enjoy refreshing drinks. While summer cocktails and warm weather fare make a great pair, drinks should be light, often with lower alcohol content, to be refreshing on hot, sunny days.
For best results, use analytics gleaned from the POS system to track best sellers and ensure that summer cocktails are profitable. Some POS systems feature modules that not only track liquor inventory, but also allow restaurateurs to control the amount of liquor that is poured for each cocktail, reducing shrink and increasing profitability.
4. Ease into your summer menu. Making multiple changes to your menu all at once may turn off customers, especially those who come in looking for a favorite dish that is no longer offered. It’s best to take your time and plan out your summer menu, testing out new options a few at a time and gradually incorporating them into the bill of fare.
To make this process easier, look for a POS system that is flexible enough for menu items to be changed easily. This is especially important for restaurateurs who operate multiple locations and want consistent pricing from location to location.
In addition to altering the menu, summer may be the right time to launch take out or outdoor seating to make warm-weather dining convenient and fun for customers. Provide the right menu with the right experiences to send sales soaring this season.