10 Summer Promotion Ideas for Restaurants

The restaurant industry is highly competitive and the summer season can be a boost or a bust for many establishments. While some customers may flock to some restaurants in summer seasons, others struggle with slow turnout and ultimately sales.

By promoting themselves better, even the restaurants that aren’t making mega sales like Hard Rock Cafe can get some skin in the game and starting bringing in more customers and the ones that are doing well can keep doing well.

So, if you’re looking to promote events, new dishes, or even a partner’s event, here are some great summer promotion ideas for your resturaunt.

How To Choose the Best Summer Promotion for Your Restaurant

Restaurant events and promotions thrive during the summer season. People are more inclined to make plans and enjoy the outdoors during warmer weather.

The demand for summer events has increased even more after experiencing more than a year of lockdowns and capacity limitations. Restaurants must compete with other establishments to attract customers, and events are an effective way.

Apart from generating revenue, events, and promotions help establish a restaurant's brand in the community, particularly for newly established restaurants.

To capitalize on this opportunity, a restaurant needs to come up with the right event ideas. But before you begin any restaurant promotion, you need to understand your unique business needs and customer base. This is important because you may be running at a loss if you go the “discounts and giveaway” route.

It is not advisable to simply replicate an idea from another restaurant simply because it was successful for them, as each establishment has distinct requirements.

Therefore, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of the following aspects of your restaurant:

1. Know Your Customer Base

No two restaurants have the exact same customer base. Customers are from diverse demographics, as location, age groups, and cuisine type all contribute to determining their behavior.

To determine customer behavior, you must evaluate the restaurant's standing in the local market and analyze existing customer data from both the POS and reservation systems.

Begin by asking yourself a few key questions about your location and customers. Is your restaurant near office buildings or a stadium? Are your customers mostly younger or older? Do they come with families? Why do your customers eat here? Is it because you have a unique ambiance, to try new cuisine, or to save money?

Once you have addressed these inquiries, creating restaurant promotion concepts encouraging customers to return will become simpler.

2. Understand Your Business Needs

By leveraging restaurant promotions, restaurants can effectively tackle challenges. To uncover any underlying issues, you need to check how people buy. For instance, you can identify which menu sections are less popular or determine when your staff is typically idle.

To address these issues, consider offering discounts on menu items that aren't selling well, and launch a happy hour promotion during off-peak times. These strategies can entice customers to try new dishes and boost sales during slow periods.

3. Know Your Margins

You have to clearly understand the margins for each item on your menu to decide the best summer promotion.

Ideally, you should focus your promotions on menu items with high-profit margins to drive sales across the rest of your offerings. For instance, instead of offering free fries to all customers for a limited time, consider providing complimentary fries with a milkshake.

Knowing your margins will enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding discounts and purchasing. It can also help you identify opportunities to optimize your inventory and reduce waste.

Summer Promotion Ideas For Restaurants

As summer comes to a close, restaurants can use creative marketing ideas that will appeal to new and returning customers. We've compiled ten excellent summer promotions examples below to assist with brainstorming. Review them and see if they inspire any innovative ideas for your business.

1. Hustle With the Heat

One of the reasons why many people come out in droves to restaurants is the heat. You can use the situation to your advantage.

For instance, if you experience particularly high temperatures during summer, you can offer something like a 10% discount on ice-cold drinks when the temperature reaches a certain measure. For coffee shops, lowering the price of iced coffee by a dollar during extreme heat can also be effective.

Though this approach may seem unusual, many businesses have found it successful.

2. New Menu Every Day

To make your restaurant's menu stand out any time of the year, consider designing it according to the desires of your customers and incorporating local seasonal ingredients. Creating a seasonal menu can help you save on food costs while attracting more customers.

Another option is to update your summer menu by adding a few new dishes or desserts. Simple changes, like adding unique ice cream frappes, can add excitement to your menu without requiring major changes. This will not be hard if you have a digital menu board since you will only need to update the design, which will change again.

As summer approaches, you can include refreshing beverages like lemonade and iced tea on your menu. These cool drinks are essential for hot summer days and can be a great way to attract new customers to your restaurant.

3. Host Summer-Themed Events

People want to find relaxation, fun, and leisure, and themed events can tap into this carefree vibe to create a unique and enjoyable dining experience.

Seasonal menus and drinks featuring fresh, light, and refreshing ingredients can be particularly appealing during the hot summer. Diners may be more inclined to try new and adventurous dishes or drinks only available during summer.

Restaurants can offer various forms of entertainment to attract and engage their customers. Hiring musical groups, stand-up comedians, and theatrical performers for weekend shows is a great way to provide entertainment.

In addition to traditional forms of entertainment, restaurants can also consider hiring fortune tellers, palm readers, and magicians to create a unique and intriguing customer experience.

Displaying the work of local artists in the restaurant can also be a great way to add a touch of culture and creativity to the dining experience. Hosting live shows can attract new customers who come for the entertainment, but stay for the delicious food and welcoming atmosphere.

4. Participate In Food And Music Festivals

Participating in local food and music festivals is one of the most innovative marketing strategies for restaurants during the summer season. August is particularly eventful, with people celebrating their last hurrah before the summer ends.

To gain recognition in your community, consider participating in these events. Check if you can sell your food at local music and food festivals.

Ensure you have enticing restaurant promotions that will draw customers to your stand and your restaurant. Bring printed business cards to distribute and encourage people to visit your restaurant.

Include your food delivery website on the card and the message "We deliver," if applicable. Even better, convert your online menu into a QR code so that customers can scan it quickly and place an order.

Did you know that 42.55% of customers feel more secure when scanning a QR code at a restaurant? Consider converting your dine-in menu into a QR code to give customers the peace of mind they need.

5. Organize Events On Your Patio

Make the most of your restaurant's terrace or small patio before the onset of colder weather by hosting various events that allow patrons to enjoy the outdoors. Consider the following event ideas before summer ends:

  • Sports watching parties: Discover what sports your local community is passionate about and stream the games on a TV outdoors. Offer discounts on beer, wings, and nachos to create a lively atmosphere.

  • Date nights: Make your restaurant the perfect location for romantic dates by organizing regular events on the terrace. Decorate the area with candles, flowers, or balloons, and consider setting up a photo booth for customers to take memorable snapshots.

  • Wine/beer tasting: Host outdoor wine or beer tasting events, showcasing local craft beverages to support the community and demonstrate your involvement in a local business.

  • Family night with arts and crafts: Cater to families with children by organizing arts and crafts activities on the terrace. Parents can supervise their children while enjoying a glass of wine, and kids can showcase their creativity.

  • Dance party: If your patio is spacious enough, organize a dance party with a specific theme, such as a romantic evening for couples or a lively fiesta for singles. Promote the event on social media to generate excitement.

6. Takeout and Delivery Special Event Catering

Consider catering larger events if your customers enjoy your food. Consider creating a set takeout and delivery menu to take advantage of the holiday season.

This is an ideal time for guests to indulge, and the convenience of having a cozy meal at home without having to cook for the holidays is invaluable. For example, you could offer a Thanksgiving feast for takeout and delivery.

You could also keep family-style takeout feasts available throughout the year and email guests with a small discount on their birthday to take advantage of this offering.

7. Revitalize Interest with Summer Menu Ideas for Restaurants

To offer your customers a unique and fresh experience this summer, consider designing a creative logo for your menu featuring exclusive and appetizing items that are perfect for the season.

For instance, you could offer a dessert pizza with fresh, locally sourced berries or a new colorful cocktail that encourages relaxation and enjoyment.

By incorporating new and exciting items on your menu, you can entice regular customers to visit more frequently and attract new customers through social media marketing.

Sharing photos of your latest dishes and drinks on your restaurant's Facebook and Instagram pages can help revitalize regular customers' interest and generate positive word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family.

Another way to add fresh touches to your menu is by sourcing locally grown ingredients from nearby farmers markets. In many parts of North America, the summer season offers an abundance of fresh produce, such as bell peppers, zucchini, strawberries, arugula, and tomatoes.

Not only do these fresh, locally sourced ingredients taste delicious, but they also allow customers to support local farmers and ensure the highest quality of produce.

8. Have Fun With Real And Fake Holidays

Regardless of your location, there are numerous summer activities to participate in and enjoy. If you cannot attend these events, you can still take advantage of them by using social media and GPS-targeted advertising to promote your restaurant.

Summer is an ideal season to savor special menus, outdoor barbecues, boxed takeout meals, and packed picnic hampers for traditional holiday celebrations. If there is no holiday, you can create a fake one. We have seen Coffee Day, Tea Day, etc.

9. Interactive Food Classes

Many people would want to enjoy the food they prepared themselves. Some just want to enjoy the thrill of watching others prepare it. Can you organize food classes in your restaurant?

An example of this is done at Seamore's. The customers can participate in their oyster shucking and wine pairing workshop every Monday and Tuesday throughout the summer.

For $90, they can learn how to shuck four types of oysters, pair them with seasonal beverages, and even take home gloves and an oyster knife as souvenirs.

Seamore's also partnered with the Billion Oyster Project to recycle all the shells used during the training. Overall, this event is engaging and delicious, leaving guests completely satisfied.

10. Partner Up With Local Tourist Attractions

One innovative idea to promote your restaurant's food is to reach out to other local businesses, like hotels and museums, and make your food known throughout the neighborhood.

During the summer season, people often enjoy visiting foreign cities. If your restaurant is near a popular tourist location, you can take advantage of this by making your establishment the go-to spot for experiencing traditional meals.

To attract more visitors, you can contact tourist attractions in your area and ask if you can leave flyers advertising your restaurant at their location. The flyers should feature a tantalizing image of your food, your restaurant's name and logo, location, a website where they can place orders, and a discount or promotion to encourage them to try your food.

Use Digital Signage to Enforce Your Promotions

No matter how hot your promotion ideas are, if no one knows about it, you will end up with low sales all through the summer. Now is the best time to invest in good digital signage for your business. You can use digital signage for advertising and reaching more people than traditional print signage.

Research has shown that people are more likely to pay attention to motion graphics than static signs. You need to harness the power of technology and make massive sales this summer. You can set up a digital signage solution using your TV and Loop TV digital signage solutions. Loop also provides over 150+ fully licensed streaming channels of music and non-music content to keep restaurant patrons entertained, creating the vibe of your choice. No matter whether you want to play summer-themed music videos, beach vibes, reggae, stunning drone footage from beaches across the world, or sports highlights, Loop offers content for every restaurant.