7 Summer Restaurant Promotion Ideas You Need to Try

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.

local festival restaurant promotion

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.

summer cocktail promotion

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.

Farm fresh strawberries promotion

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.

wine tasting promotion

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.

Case study: Freddy’s Food Truck Drives Sales and Service

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!


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