Spring is just around the corner! Even if it is still cold in your restaurant or bar’s area, it’s time to start brainstorming and planning ways to get your restaurant ready for the warmer weather. March is when business starts to climb again after the flat winter months for most restaurants. In 2018, TDn2K’s Industry Snapshot, which looks at more than 30,000 restaurants and at least 170 brands, found an 0.8 percent jump in same-store sales growth across the industry in March. Here are some ideas to start enjoying the warmer months at your restaurant.
Seasonal Drinks and Dishes
For a lot of restaurants, a hefty portion of their revenue comes from alcoholic beverages. So come up with some breezy spring specials! Retire the dark and spicy winter specials, especially the warm treats like mulled cider, in favor of seasonal beers and fruity chilled cocktails to help your customers cool off after a day in the sun. Some cocktail ideas are the Cherry Blossom, the Honey Rose Margarita, and the classic Mint Julep. Check with local breweries and stock up on their seasonal beers, combining classics like Montauk with new releases. For dishes, you can try some springtime specials like chocolate waffles for brunch, artichokes benedict, or bananas foster casserole, or chilled shrimp and pasta. And don’t forget to add some fresh, seasonal greens to spruce up a dish whenever you can.
Open Your Outdoor Seating
It’s time to set up your outdoor patio if you have one, and if not, let the spring breeze blow through your restaurant by opening a few windows if you can. On lingering cold days you can always close the patio temporarily and still have it ready to go for the next warm day. Add some springy decorations as well! Put out some potted plants, and take them inside if it gets too chilly. Plants, especially lots of flowers, will make customers smile who are dying to see some greenery after the long winter months. Fake vines also make a good spring and summer patio decoration and don’t require much maintenance.
Plan More Events
Customers are venturing out of their cozy homes to enjoy the weather again, so give them something to celebrate! Start filling your events calendar to entice diners looking for somewhere to go out after ordering in all winter. A craft brew tasting is a perfect weekend group event, and remember to offer those seasonal beers. Live music outdoors is also a huge draw, reminding diners that it’s almost summer concert season. Brunch is also huge in spring, and you can market it particularly for specific holidays like Mother’ Day and Easter.
Spring provides tons of marketing opportunities for restaurants. Different foods will be in season, more customers will start eating out again, and outside patios will open. Welcome your customers out of hibernation with some springtime perks.
Challenge: This week, pick three new drinks to add to your menu that will get your customers excited for the coming warmer months.