One thing is certain about summer: People like to go out. When folks aren’t enjoying the great outdoors, they love dining out with family and friends, which is great news for any restaurant or bar.
But with plenty of options out there, how do you get people to YOUR establishment?
Fortunately, the season lends itself to many opportunities to attract customers. Try these fun summer restaurant promotions at your restaurant.
1. Patriotic Events
The season features different patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Since many folks like to take time off around these holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to attract people to your place. Here are some easy ideas:
- Salute to service – Say thank you to local servicemen and servicewomen by offering discounts during the Memorial Day and/or Fourth of July holidays. The gesture will be a welcome sign of appreciation for those who served in the military and armed forces. Make sure to promote the offer on social media and throughout your restaurant.
- Post hours on signs and social media – Notify customers that you’ll be open or have special hours for the holiday. Not every place is open, so it will help set your establishment apart. Get the word out on social media throughout the week leading up to the holiday, and post signs to your windows and front door with your hours for the day. You also can highlight food and drink specials as an additional draw.
- Decorate the space –Hang American flags and patriotic banners around your restaurant, especially during Memorial Day and Fourth of the July. You can even go all out by changing your traditional table settings to feature red, white and blue colors.
2. Special Summer Menu
One surefire way to draw people to your restaurant or bar is by having a special menu for the season. We recently listed some summer menu ideas that are quick and easy to add. Start by incorporating more grilled entrees and cold sides to your regular options. With your signature dishes, remember to add summery touches like citrus and farmer’s market ingredients.
Nothing says summer like a cool, refreshing beverage. Offer a wide array of cocktails like mojitos, margaritas and rum buckets in delicious fruity flavors. Also, make sure your beer list includes plenty of summer favorites like shandys, IPAs and fruit varieties.
No matter how you tinker your menu, remember to post photos of your new summertime creations on social media with the proper hashtags. Pictures of your food and the atmosphere can be great selling point throughout the season.
3. Father’s Day
Father’s Day is the third most popular holiday to dine out behind Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, according to the National Restaurant Association. Almost 67 percent of those who celebrate at a restaurant tend to go out for dinner, meaning you have an ample opportunity to attract families in the late afternoon and evening. Here are a few summer restaurant promotions to try out for the holiday.
- Dads eat free – Give each father a free meal, and this includes granddads too. Okay! Before you start pulling sweating at the idea of giving away free dinners or lunches, hear us out. You’ll need to add a caveat, of course. For example, make the offer good with the purchase of at least two entrees and drinks, or set a maximum limit on the cost of the entrée. If that still is too much to stomach, offering an appetizer or drink on the house works as well.
- Create specials – While you might already have a summer menu, think about offering specials just for dad. Grilled favorites like steak, ribs or pork chops are always good options. Add exclusive beers, cocktails or whiskeys for the occasion as well. Consider connecting with a local brewery or distillery to supply the special drinks for the day.
- Day out with dad – See if you can work with a local business or two to create a fun-filled experience for dad. Think of partnering with a nearby mini-golf course, bowling alley or movie theater so a family can enjoy a late lunch or dinner after a daytime activity. You and other establishment can give away coupons online and through your social media channels.
4. Patio Parties
If you have an outdoor patio, it can be a great draw for the summertime. Think about taking it up a notch by hosting different events or parties on your patio, especially on weekends. Have patrons purchase a voucher to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet, games and live music. You also could use the space to host special trivia nights or cornhole tournaments that give away gift certificates, coupons and swag bags from your establishment and other local businesses.
Whatever events you throw, tie them into your social media accounts. Create Facebook events that followers can see, RSVP and share with their friends. Make sure you not only post pictures or video to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but also encourage your customers to do the same.
5. Pride Month Specials
June is Pride Month, which means there are opportunities to show support with creative food and drink specials. Think about adding some colorful treats to your menu for the month. Rainbow pancakes, cookies or cupcakes are not only delicious but also easy to make. There are a wide variety of cocktails and alcohol-free drinks you can make too. Howl at the Moon, which has a wide variety of locations throughout the U.S., compiled a list of rainbow cocktail recipes that are delicious and simple to make.
6. Partner with Festivals
Summer is the season for local festivals. See if there are opportunities to participate at some of the festivals in your area. For instance, buy a booth where visitors can sample food or get some swag. You can even offer coupons for a small discount on food. This not only allows festival-goers to try some of your notable dishes, but it also gives them a reason to stop by your place in the near future.