Capturing the Youth Market: Ideas to Attract Younger Customers to Your Venue This Summer

Capturing the Youth Market: Ideas to Attract Younger Customers to Your Venue This Summer

Summer is about social gatherings for many diners, not least of all younger customers. Read our hot tips for enticing table bookings from younger customers this summer.

Summer may be the only time of year where there’s really no need for an excuse to celebrate and have fun. Data from our latest survey of venue operators and diners found that 71% of people prefer eating outside during summer and almost everyone (92%) surveyed agreed that eating and drinking outdoors is the best when the weather is nice.

The good news for venues is that most operators (78%) confirm a surge in business during the period - almost half (43%) say it’s their busiest time of the year. Furthermore, 75% say they sell more drinks during the summer months - which tend to have a higher profit margin than food items.

The findings from this report, and indeed the reason for this article, could be especially important if your venue already attracts (or is keen to attract) a younger crowd. The 18-34 demographic appears to seriously vibe with the summer season, as you’ll discover later on!

By tapping into the spirit of summer and promoting your place as the hottest dining and drinking spot in town, you can capture the attention of younger customers, deliver a great experience, and keep them coming back all year long.

Get our full ultimate guide on planning for a successful summer right here!


Summer seating table plan with ResDiary

Set the scene and make the most of your outside space

According to our research, the 18-34 crowd is at the top of the pile when it comes to summer dining, with a whopping 88% saying they prefer eating outside in the summer. So, planning to maximise your outside space is essential, whether you have a garden, a patio, or even a roof terrace.

Rooftop patios are the most popular with 55% of those under the age of 34 ranking them top, and waterside dining is close behind (43%). Interestingly, operators we spoke to said this approach of opening up more space in the summer added an average of 45% more space to their venue on average – which of course creates amazing revenue opportunities.

If you can make your outdoor dining space the star attraction by playing up on its most photogenic features, and sharing lots of photos on social media, your promotion efforts will likely pay greater rewards with younger audiences - who are most active on channels like Instagram and TikTok. 

This could actually help to inspire your team to come up with creative ideas for special summer menus and drinks offers to fit the sort of vibe that your outside space reflects.

And don’t forget the music! A live band or a DJ on the decks could go a long way to setting your place apart from the rest when young diners are looking for a place to party at the weekend. We’ll talk about special summer events next.

Make the most of your outside space to maximise your table bookings this summer with these essential steps!


Draw in drinkers and diners alike with special summer events

Draw in drinkers and diners alike with special summer events

Special events are a sure-fire way to draw extra attention and advance bookings any time of year. Of course, summer creates the perfect combination of longer and (hopefully) warmer days and that outside space becomes available for big events. 

According to our research, 54% of young people say they look forward to special events each summer and 63% say special events are the perfect excuse to head out for dinner or drinks.

These are numbers that should not be overlooked. Smart venue operators know local events present a golden opportunity, with 47% of those surveyed saying they run special promotions or menus when events are happening nearby and there’s certain to be more people looking for a place to eat or drink.

So, you can combine an updated food or drinks menu for the summer (more on those shortly), with special events to create unique summer experiences to attract diners. Some examples might include summer brunches, supper clubs, or even your own mini festival with live music.

Don’t underestimate the power of partnering with or piggybacking on local events too. As our summer guide reports, “68% operators say local events taking place makes them busier, while a similar number (63%) of under-34 diners say they tend to go out more if there’s something happening nearby.”

So, even if you can’t create your own summer festival, you could potentially be the hottest spot for an afterparty if there is a live music festival in your area, for example.

ResDiary can help you to create, share, and manage promotions and events directly from your restaurant booking system. Learn more and book a demo to see it in action today!


Boost your summer buzz with fresh deals on drinks

Boost your summer buzz with fresh deals on drinks

With 75% of the younger crowd saying they go out for drinks more often during the summer, it’s a great time to turn their attention toward fresh and fun summer menu items – and (hopefully) have them share photos with their followers.

Experiment with colourful cocktails or other photogenic drinks that will attract attention on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. There may be nothing better than jumping on the latest social trend for drinks but don’t forget to put your own twist on it to make it unique to your experience - don’t forget about non-alcoholic beverages too!

You can also entice them with happy hour specials and drink deals during off-peak hours when you’re traditionally less busy in the summer. Best of all, once you know you have a captive audience who came for the drinks, you can weave in special food items, combinations and offers to drive up the value of each visit. For example, a tapas menu would go great with margaritas in the sunshine or afternoon BBQs with a live DJ and a complimentary drink on entry.

Even simple discounts for large group bookings can be an effective way to entice those younger crowds. Although, it is always preferable to come up with creative solutions that won’t dilute your sales.

One of the best places to actually start gathering information on what might work for your venue is to delve into your existing booking data and EPoS. What trends can you identify from previous summers and are there any ideas that could easily be carried over and updated? Here’s some great advice on making the most of your booking data to help shape your dining experience.


Be prepared  for longer busier days

Summer success wrap-up: harnessing strategies for seasonal growth

Embrace the energy and excitement of summer and you could be attracting a lot more younger customers to your venue. From hosting or collaborating with local events to creating special summer drinks or dishes and promoting your outdoor dining space on social media as ‘party central’, there are countless ways to tap into the Millennial and Gen Z market.

Remember, these folks may be the most important group of customers you have during the summer months.

ResDiary has the inside scoop on how to connect with those younger customers. Book a demo today to learn about our helpful and easy-to-use tools and marketing tips that can help you build promotions certain to draw a crowd of diners to your doorstep.

Don't forget to download our full guide to summer success and start planning for your venue now!

Download the complete guide to summer success for hospitality venues