For most people, Summer means beaches and BBQs.
For you, it means longer days, new staff, and a whole extra slew of customers.
Hibernation season is over. People are out and about again.
If you prepare correctly, this can bring a wave of profits to your restaurant.
But if you just carry on with business as usual, you’re going to run into some issues.
Just because you had a solid winter doesn’t mean you can’t make the necessary changes to your business.
If you’re not constantly changing and updating, you could be missing out on cold hard cash all summer long.
Don’t get caught without an escape from the heat.
With these 5 tips at your disposal, you’ll be ready to make the most out of your summer.
Let’s dive in.
1: Summertime Flavors
While everyone knows about the marriage between Pumpkin Spice and fall, Summer also comes with the desire for fresh, distinct flavors.
Customers crave fresh watermelon, a slight char from a grill, and juicy tomatoes, just to name a few.
They want their food to feel as refreshing as a summer breeze.
So why does your menu feature a French Onion soup?
Though delicious, it doesn’t really scream for ice cream.
Doing something as simple as adding a special or as complex as featuring a seasonal menu can truly make a world of difference to your customers.
However, featuring these flavors means you’ll have new ingredients and new costs to manage.
And if you don’t have your current food costs under control already, you could find these fresh summer dishes burning your profits.
Note: Using Summertime flavors can be great in your bar as well. But the same rule stands: Get your bar costs under control before (literally) mixing it up.
2: A Breath of Fresh Air
If your restaurant has a patio, now is its time to shine.
You have spent thousands getting your restaurant’s ambiance perfect, but when the weather’s nice, customers don’t care about your new Edison bulbs. They want to sit outside.
But they expect nicer than a folding table and chairs.
Even though your furniture will be braving the outdoor elements, you shouldn’t skimp on quality.
If word gets around that your patio is the place to sit, the customers will come rushing in.
With a patio comes the need for more staff – which we’ll discuss in a moment.
If you don’t have the outdoor space available, even just opening up windows can make a world of difference.
Don’t deny your customers the sun and weather they crave. Because honestly?
They’ll just go somewhere else to get it.
3: Add Seasonal Staff
High schoolers have taken their last tests.
The college kids are coming back in droves.
And all of them want to work for you.
While the extra staff can help you manage the influx in customers on your now-open patio, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Though these employees will only be working for you for a short period of time, they still need full training. Find a way to edit your training program so it covers all the bases, but is quicker and more efficient.
- Don’t upset your full-time staff. Use this seasonal staff as an addition to your normal scheduling. Don’t take away shifts from your tried-and-true employees, or you might end up losing them.
As you know, managing your staff can be time-consuming. And it’ll only get crazier as you add fresh faces.
Before you make Summertime hires, ensure your food costs are under control.
It’s an easy thing to take off your plate, and it’ll help you know how much extra help you can afford in the first place.
4 – Getting the Word Out
You’ve got your patio open and ready.
Your new staff is prepared to hit the floor.
Your specials are unique and delicious.
But, you’re not seeing many new people come through the doors.
Your restaurant will naturally be busier in the summer.
But giving your business an extra boost with marketing will really help you rake in the cash.
If you have your costs under control, that is.
Maybe it’s adding a reverse happy hour for those cool summer nights when people are swapping stories on the patio.
Maybe you break out the grill and throw a day-long Summertime Bash.
Or maybe it’s just using your social media to push those Summertime specials we talked about.
You can do nothing to get the word out, and you’ll probably be fine.
But fine doesn’t cut it in this business.
Add some flavor to your Summertime marketing, and you can see a world of difference.
5 – Invest in Tech, Enjoy some Extra Free Time
When’s the last time you used those words?
They’re probably foreign sounding to you at this point.
Running a restaurant is beyond time-consuming…
So why are you wasting extra time spending your summer counting inventory in the stockroom?
Maybe this summer you finally decide to invest in technology to help your restaurant.
After all, there’s now software that can make it so you can skip taking inventory. There are apps that help you manage your ingredient prices. There’s even tech that gives you an easier way to prepare orders.
Do the research and find the software that’s best for your restaurant.
Sure, restaurant tech can’t make your staff show up for every shift.
But it can take a whole load off your plate – and even put some cash in your pocket.
Then, with your profitability in check, you’ll finally be able to give yourself a hard-earned summer day off.
CONCLUSION: Take Advantage of Your Summer the Right Way
The hot Summer sun means a boost in business.
But if you’re not prepared, the profits will pass you by.
Adding Summertime flavors, opening outdoor seating, and adding additional staff are just some ways you can do the best thing for your business.
But none of that matters if your food costs aren’t under control. After all, knowing your COGS and ordering against a budget are key for maximizing profits.
Normally, this would add hours to your already busy schedule.
But with Orderly, that’s not the case.
Orderly is food cost management done for you. Simply snap photos of your invoices, update your weekly sales, and you’ll have your COGS calculated for you.
Plus, you can use Orderly’s revolutionary Restaurant Food Index to compare your ingredient prices with local and national averages, giving you the power to negotiate with your suppliers.
And the brand new Order Prep tool makes it easy to prepare ingredient orders – and ensures your placing smarter ones that will save you money.
Don’t let your Summer feel just like your Winter. Make the right moves and put extra cash in your pocket.
Download the Orderly app for free today to see how it can help you save.