summer menu

Creating a sensational summer menu

If you’re looking for a way to excite returning guests, capture the attention of new visitors, and keep costs down, a seasonal menu might just do the trick. As we head into summer, and fresh flavours and ingredients become available, there’s an opportunity to brighten up your menu and tighten your margins. Treat your summer menu like an LTO, designed to draw guests in to try dishes that won’t be offered next season – or even next month.

Successful LTOs can bring in up to 25 per cent of added revenue and traffic, so here’s your chance to get creative and build up those summer profits. So, what’s the key to a successful summer menu?

Nail down the details

Think about whether you want to add an additional menu to your offering or whether you will be creating a summer menu that stands all on its own. Also, will you keep the menu for the duration of the season, switch it up monthly, or add weekly features to encourage repeat visits? While any of these options could likely work for your business, consider your margins, traffic, inventory, and kitchen staff when deciding what makes the most sense for your restaurant this summer.

Get trendy

Sticking with the most popular trends is one way to appeal to a large audience. This year’s trends like global influences, colourful creations, and nostalgic favourites are a great place to start when looking at what to add to your menu. Of course, putting your own spin on these dishes and ingredients is a must to help your restaurant stand out, so think of dishes your guests will like that are in line with your vision and brand.

Don’t forget the beverage menu! From new twists on classic cocktails to a fresh look at mocktails, here’s an opportunity to really feature those seasonal ingredients. Not to mention, beverage sales can help raise those cheque totals, so create a beverage menu your guests will want to try.

Market your menu

People won’t be trying your menu if they don’t know about it, so once it’s all set, focus on getting as many eyes on it as you can. Hype it up in your restaurant before it starts with tent cards or chalkboards so it’s separate from your current menu. Use social media to show off your new items and interact with your guests. Since 98 per cent of people view online menus before heading out, it’s important to include the details there too. Optimize your wording to get as much attention in online searches as possible, using descriptors like “Toronto” or “sushi.” 49 per cent of people conduct their search without a destination in mind, so this trick can help you show up when someone looks for a certain food type or dish in your region.

A successful summer menu can draw in new customers, entice guests to return, and improve cheque totals, so get creative and create a summer menu that will get people talking about your restaurant.