Creating Sizzling Summer Promotions and Menus for 2024

Creating Sizzling Summer Promotions and Menus for 2024

Summer can bring warm weather and waves of diners and drinkers looking for something new to enjoy outside. Try these effective strategies for planning your menu, running promotions, and revamping your refreshments to maximise table bookings in your venue.

As the temperatures heat up and days get longer, summer presents a prime opportunity for restaurant and bar operators to spice things up and attract more hungry and thirsty customers.

In fact, our latest survey of hospitality operators and diners found that it’s the busiest time of year for nearly half (43%) of businesses. Almost three-quarters (74%) change their menu specifically for the warm, hazy days and longer evenings.

Planning summer promotions or refreshing your menu for the summer season can help you capture early bookings and capitalise on an overall increase in foot traffic while boosting that ever-important bottom line.

In this article, we’ll combine research from ResDiary’s Ultimate Summer Guide 2024 with effective strategies for planning promotions and revamping your menu to help deliver a sizzling summer for your venue.

Grab the full guide now and start planning to pack out your venue with summer table bookings!


Know your crowd_ Dive into the data first

Know your crowd: Dive into the data first

Before you jump into planning your promotions or making a new menu, it’s important to take time to understand your target audience and their preferences. What's their age demographic? Are they interested in light bites, seasonal specialities or refreshing cocktails? Are they more interested in unique events, refined suppers, or simply just to relax and spend time with friends?

Review your booking data and sales data from previous years to identify popular items, events, or promotions you may have run in the past. It’s likely that your previous customers will also be the most likely to make another reservation. So, having that visibility from your restaurant booking system and EPoS can be vital. 

Based on data from our Ultimate Summer Guide 2024, diners are more likely to favour cuisines like BBQ, street food, and seafood during the hot months. But the best place to start looking for inspiration is within your own business.

With that information gathered, you can broaden your search to look for the latest trends. Then, if you don’t already have anything in your menu that fits into those trends, it could be worth introducing new food and drink items for the summer.


Spicing up the menu with summer specials and promotions

Spicing up the menu with summer specials and promotions

We know from research that more than half of diners (52%) look forward to new summer menu items and promotions and that most venue operators (74%) respond by changing up their menu for the summer months. This presents a great opportunity to introduce some new summer-inspired selections to your menu, while potentially adding valuable upsells too.

Take advantage of the abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients available during this period and incorporate more vibrant dishes or drinks that capture the essence of summer.

Don’t forget about drinks too! Most venue operators (75%) say they sell more drinks during the summer months. 53% of diners also agree that they tend to go out more for drinks during summer.

So, plan for special promotions that can tie-in your new menu items for food and drink, like summer brunch events or early-evening offers to get drinkers to stay for food too. This could also help you ensure more value from every service, even those quieter times between meals.

With ResDiary you can add special menus, offers, end events to your booking widget, making it even easier to share and sell table bookings. Learn more and book a demo to see it in action!


Farm to table_ Partner with local farmers for fresh and photogenic produce

Farm to table: Partner with local farmers for fresh and photogenic produce

Strengthen your ties to the community by sourcing ingredients from local producers, like farmers, brewers, and artisans.

Promoting local ingredients in your new dishes can provide extra allure to foodie influencers who are looking for something fresh and exciting to try. Presentation is key to earning some social media promotion from your patrons, so make it pretty when it hits the plate and they’ll be sure to share plenty of photos before digging in.

Collaborating with local suppliers to create unique dishes and drinks doesn’t just showcase the best of the best in your area – it’s also a great way to support local small businesses!

You could even use your relationships to create partnered campaigns on social media, which would enable you to amplify your audience and attract new diners.


Patio parties_ The ultimate elevation of outdoor hospitality events

Patio parties: The ultimate elevation of outdoor hospitality events

We mentioned running your own events above (like summer brunches or supper clubs) to offer something exciting to potential diners, while showcasing your new summer menu. It can’t be overstated how much diners love to eat and drink outside - when the summer weather hits, the majority of diners want to eat outside (71%).

So, if you have an outdoor dining area that’s open and ready to serve, summertime is your time to shine! Read our advice on making the most of your outdoor space this summer.

Beyond fully utilising your available outdoor space, you can also capitalise on the allure of special events like hosting a party on your patio with live music or themed food evenings to draw in crowds and create laid back and enjoyable summer food experiences. 

Our survey also showed a significant impact from local events, with 68% of operators saying local events taking place makes them busier. So, even if you can’t host your own festival you can certainly piggyback or even partner up with what’s going on around your venue.

Interestingly, 63% of under-34 diners say they tend to go out more if there’s something happening nearby. So tailoring your summer experiences to attract younger crowds could yield more bookings and sales - read our advice on doing just that, right here.

Of course, you’ll need to use your communication channels, like email and social media, to promote your events, generate excitement, and drive more advanced bookings and sales

Did you know that with ResDiary, you can create, share, and manage promotions and events all through your restaurant booking system? Learn more about it and see it in action.


Summer seating table plan with ResDiary

Key insights to thrive this hospitality season

By planning promotions and refreshing your menu for the summer season in advance, venue operators can attract new customers, maximise table bookings and drive revenue growth from every service.

From highlighting seasonal ingredients and fresh summer menu items to leveraging outdoor dining space and social media promotion, and even running special summer events, there are many ways for venue operators to create memorable experiences for guests.

The importance of monitoring the performance of your promotions and gathering feedback should not be overlooked. This data is key for identifying what works well and what can be improved, allowing you to make informed decisions and adjustments as needed. It will also pay dividends when you come to plan your menu and special offers next summer.

ResDiary has innovative solutions – including a comprehensive smart table management system and fully customisable booking widget – to help you embrace the spirit of summer and get ready to shine!

Don't forget to read our ultimate guide to summer success for hospitality venues and start planning in your venue today.

Download the complete guide to summer success for hospitality venues