Success for All Seasons: Transition Your Menu for Summer

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s officially time to kick off summer! And while you probably have other things on your mind—like how to build out your schedule for the holiday season—creating a summer menu for your restaurant should be first on the list.

For now, let’s focus on what you can do to increase your covers and maximize profits, all while taking advantage of that glorious summer sun. Here are a few ways to transition your restaurant’s menu for the summer:

Take Advantage of Seasonal Ingredients

Every menu needs a little refresh now and again, and the changing of seasons is the perfect time to do it. Patrons love to see seasonal ingredients, and that’s even more important as we head into summer. Try swapping out your 2-3 least popular items and replacing them with ultra-seasonal offerings to pique your customers’ interest.

Keep Your Flavors Clean, Simple and Light

No one wants stew in the summer for the same reasons you’d never ask for gazpacho in the winter, so keep the coming season in mind when planning out your new items. To highlight the seasonal ingredients, keep the recipes simple to avoid covering up the flavors of your new star players. Depending on where you are, it’s also going to be HOT HOT HOT, so give your patrons something light and refreshing. When it doubt, limit the amount of cooking you’re actually doing.

Refresh Your Menu Design

Swapping in some seasonal ingredients is just the beginning. Next you’ll want to take it one step further and give your menus (literally the paper it’s printed on) a splash of freshness. Be sure to include words like “seasonal” and “local” whenever possible to keep the orders flying out of the kitchen.

If business is already booming, you may not need to focus on bringing in new customers, but if you’re looking for new patrons you’ll want to try offering weekly or daily summer time specials to get new faces through your doors. Be sure to use those same descriptors (“seasonal” and “local”) in marketing materials and advertising, especially on your Yelp page. You may even want to feature some of the farmers and sellers you’re getting your seasonal ingredients from to drum up more local interest.

Looking for other ways to increase your covers? Visit Yelp Reservations for restaurants to learn more about how we can help put more butts in seats!