With the steady increase in tourists, foot traffic and outdoor events, the summer season can be huge for many restaurants—while others find summer to be a sales challenge, with barbecues and sunny weather keeping guests at home (or at the beach). We’ve put together some promotion ideas to help you capitalize on this time of year to make the most of the summer season.
1. Partner with Local Businesses
The increase in tourism and travel during the summer means local hotels will be filling up with tourists looking to enjoy themselves. Consider partnering with a nearby hotel, offering coupons or discounts to guests looking for a local place for a meal. You could also collaborate with local shops or stores popular during the summer and offer mutual coupons for each other. Have a restaurant near the beach? Offer coupons for the closest paddleboard rental shop and have them do the same for you.
2. Leverage Local Events
Find out what’s happening in your community—and be a part of it. Whether it’s a local festival or street fair, concert, parade, or sporting event, find ways to leverage the buzz with focused promotions. For ticketed events, have customers show their tickets for a special discount. Capitalize on sporting events by hosting a viewing event with discounted drinks and appetizers. A parade or festival can be a great opportunity to provide samples or hand out coupons. Hop on Facebook, and see if you can find some upcoming events to be a part of.
Participating in local events will not only help boost sales, but will raise awareness of your brand in the local community. It also gives you the opportunity to promote event-specific offers on social media, and interact with more potential new customers.
3. Capitalize on Holidays – Big and Small
Everyone knows the big ticket summer holidays: Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor day. But there are more summer holidays restaurants can take advantage of to create a unique experience as well. Celebrate obscure summer holidays such as National Hot Dog Day, National Ice Cream Day, and Bastille Day (think French cuisine—or French fries!) with a special menu item or deal for the day only.
4. Revitalize Interest with a Seasonal Summer Menu
Try offering customers something new for the summer. Design a dessert pizza with fresh, local strawberries, or a colorful new cocktail for customers to relax with. Regular customers will be more willing to stop by more often if they can expect something new on the menu. New menu items are also attention-getters on social media marketing, so don’t forget to share a photo on your restaurant’s Facebook or Instagram page.
Another great way to freshen up your menu is by stopping by your local farmer’s market for some locally grown ingredients. In many parts of North America, the summer season offers plenty of fresh produce such as tomatoes, strawberries, zucchinis, arugula and bell peppers. Not only do fresh, locally grown ingredients taste delicious, but they make customers feel good about supporting local farmers.
5. Wine Tasting Night
Know of any local wineries? Call them up and ask if they’d be willing to sponsor a wine tasting night! It can be as simple as having a discount on wine during certain night and allowing customers to sample multiple bottles. Or, if you’re feeling particularly cultured, bring in a wine expert to lead the tasting event.
6. Or, Beer Tasting Night
If wine isn’t the best fit for your customers, try a beer tasting event instead. Cold and refreshing, beer is always a hit during the hot summer days. Local microbreweries are always looking for more exposure and would likely be open to sponsoring an event at your restaurant. Customers will love the opportunity to support a local brand, and since summertime brings a myriad of seasonal wheat and fruit beers, there are often lots of options to offer your customers.
Have a food truck? Partner with a local winery or microbrewery that doesn’t offer a full menu. This can be a great way to supplement your regular festival schedule and attract new business for your brick and mortar store.
7. Local Entertainment
People are always looking for things to do during the summer. It’s the perfect time to get creative and think of ways to entertain them. Live music by a local musician? A charity fundraiser? Both? These are great ways to establish yourself as a market leader in the local restaurant scene. Think outside the box. Offering entertainment can also be way of connecting and partnering with local businesses willing to sponsor the event in exchange for exposure in the community.
Summer Promotions – Give em’ a shot!
Your turn: Summer’s already upon us, and the tourists and vacationers are on their way. Be ready with some special summer promotions to get their attention and boost traffic. Let us know how it goes!
Supremo’s Pizzeria founders Don and Gayle Speicher set out with the goal of providing top notch customer satisfaction while making the best product possible—Where Taste Reigns SUPREME™.
The Speichers’ son, Steve, has been integral to the success of the family business. Steve’s passion for pizza started in college when he began driving for Supremo’s Pizza. Today, he keeps his parents’ goals in mind, managing the North Hills location as well as the company’s digital marketing materials and revisions to the point of sale menu and coupons.
We caught up with Steve to find out more about Supremo’s Pizzeria and the impact the SpeedLine point of sale system has had in many different areas of their business.
On Point: What front of house changes have you seen since installing SpeedLine?
Steve: “Since our SpeedLine installation, we have drastically improved our order entry times. Our mistakes have dropped to minimal, and the remaining ones are volume based as opposed to system based.”
On Point: It’s no secret that restaurant margins can be slim. How has SpeedLine helped you cut costs?
Steve: “Food and labor costs have dropped more than 20%. Labor is down due to faster order entry—we cut our phone calls down from 2 minutes to 30 seconds with SpeedLine, due in part to the integration of online ordering with [SpeedLine technology partner] Brygid. On top of that, we’ve saved nearly seven minutes on out-the-door time for delivery.”
On Point: Many pizza operators find that the customer data in their point of sale systems is critical to growing the business. Has this been your experience?
Steve: “Our sales have been up every year since installation. In the first year, the amount of extra dressing and sauce cups we sold just about paid for our system, not to mention the upselling prompts helped increase our average ticket. Currently, we’re taking advantage of the back end of Store Manager to help with generating more sales. Having reports broken down into sizes and categories has helped us immensely with menu decisions.”
On Point: How has using SpeedLine LiveMaps impacted your delivery service?
Steve: “I don’t know how we got by without LiveMaps before SpeedLine. It is so crucial. Sometimes you’ll see a delivery come in on the ticket and think it’s going north, but really it’s going west and it just happens to have the same street name and zip, only differentiated by Drive/Lane/Road.”
“LiveMaps helps to keep our drivers headed in the right direction and helps us know when they are expected back so we can have the next order just out of the oven and ready to go the minute they’re back—which ensures the customer is getting the hottest food possible.
Our deliveries are getting to our customers faster due to LiveMaps and being able to email the map link to the drivers automatically at dispatch.”
On Point: “A technology solution is only as good as its support services. What has your experience been with SpeedLine Support?
Steve: “Support has provided a very positive experience. Our old POS system gave us problem after problem, but SpeedLine has given us the competitive advantage to dominate the markets we are in.”
Advice to Other Operators
On Point: Do you have any advice to share with other pizzeria operators?
Steve: “Don’t think about your cost to purchase the system. Think about how it’s going to improve your operation. In order entry alone, you’re going to save labor, and once you add in an online ordering system that goes directly to your POS, you’re really going to save time, labor, and overall stress in the kitchen.”
“SpeedLine has honestly been one of the best business decisions we’ve made. So much of our growth is due to SpeedLine; we’d never consider another POS at this point.”