Freshen up your restaurant operations for summer

Is your restaurant prepared for the summer rush that often comes with warmer weather, longer days, and outdoor dining? As most restaurant operators continue to tackle supply chain delays, inflation, and labour challenges, having a summer strategy will put you ahead of your competition and impress your guests.

Plan ahead

While the season is rapidly approaching, there’s still time to take a proactive approach to your summer operations. Start by looking back at last year’s numbers to get an idea of what to expect and a benchmark for this season. Next, look at long weekends and holidays to prepare for those potentially busier times to handle the additional volume of guests.

Manage your labour

Get ahead of potential labour challenges by making sure you have the team you need. Advertise that you’re hiring, schedule remote and in-person interviews, decide quickly, and make your restaurant appealing to potential candidates to attract and hire the best talent for your restaurant.

When planning for the summer, consider a longer-term schedule. This will allow you to take into account all planned vacations and required days off to avoid any last-minute surprises that could leave you short-staffed. Again, think about long weekends and holidays when staff may request time off, and schedule the team you need to continue to provide that exceptional guest experience.

Don’t forget to plan for the end of the summer, too, when you may have staff leaving or returning to school. Although the traffic may also slow at that time, be sure you’re prepared to thrive through the whole summer season.

Optimize your inventory

Get a handle on your inventory by evaluating what’s moving and what’s not selling. Create a menu in the interim featuring the slow movers to make way for your summer menu staples. When making your summer menu, plan for what’s fresh throughout the summer to make the most of your ingredients.

If you aren’t already, conduct regular inventory checks monthly, weekly, and even daily. Getting organized, setting up a schedule, and communicating with your team will help to cut down on waste, account for food price fluctuation, and stay on top of your ingredient usage.

Address any issues

Is your restaurant summer-ready? If you have a patio, do you have adequate seating for the volume you can accommodate? Is there missing or broken lighting you need to address? Are your umbrellas functional? Look at your summer operation from all angles to make the most of the season to maximize your margins.

As the busy season approaches, set your restaurant up for success with a winning summer strategy.