The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and Memorial Day is fast approaching, which means restaurants should be gearing up for summer. Although the official start of summer is near the end of June, many Americans would agree that Memorial Day serves as a great kickoff point. Many consumers are eager to take advantage of the nice weather by getting out of the house and having some fun, and restaurants are often popular destinations for families and friends alike.
How can your restaurant prepare for Memorial Day and beyond? Let’s look at five great marketing ideas you can implement this summer:
1. Unveil a summer menu
The best time to feature summer produce is around July, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start adding seasonal dishes for Memorial Day. Implementing and advertising fresh and inviting menu items can help bring a larger crowd to your restaurant for the summer. While some dishes are evergreen, others tend to be craved at certain times in the year. Depending on when certain fruits are fresh, your restaurant can feature attractive seasonal options all summer.
2. Host a cookout
Consumers want to get out of the house during the summer, so cooping customers up indoors won’t help with sales. If your restaurant has outdoor seating or even large windows that can be opened to create an outdoor feel, customers will be much more likely to visit for happy hours and dinner. Take the opportunity to plan and advertise a cookout during Memorial Day weekend to really increase business.
3. Summer-related freebies
If there’s one thing that every consumer loves, it’s something free. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to give away free items with the purchase of an entree or drink, especially if the freebies are going to be useful for the summer. Sunglasses, branded cups or glasses, and bottle openers are all great ideas, and they can be branded with your restaurant’s name and logo. The more useful the items, the more likely customers are to keep them and offer free advertising for your business every time they wear or use them. Freebies are a great marketing tactic because they get customers excited to visit your business and serve as great reminders for repeat business.
4. Summer-themed drink specials
When the weather is nice, people can’t wait to get out of work and relax or have some fun. Happy hours and weekend meetups are a frequent summer occurrence for friends and families, so make sure to draw them in with summer-themed drink specials. These specials can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic in order to cater to customers of all types. These specials can even be added to your restaurant point of sale system, so they are easy for servers to find and select during busy times.
5. Discounts for veterans and active military
Let us not forget that the actual purpose of Memorial Day is to honor the women and men who have sacrificed so much while serving our country. If your restaurant does anything at all for Memorial Day weekend, be sure to include extra discounts for veterans and active military all weekend long. Although this can be seen as a marketing tactic meant to garner more business, it should truly just be a small gesture of gratitude for those who serve and protect our country. After all, if it wasn’t for them, there would be no reason to celebrate.
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