Summer is finally here and for many, that means one universal thing — holidays. The longer days with more time off also mean changes in customer behaviour and certainly how they order, eat and spend.
If you’re a restaurant owner, this time might signal a juggling act of keeping the business in shape and getting some much-needed downtime over the holidays.
Being able to predict the changes that the season brings allows you to get your restaurant ready, whether it’s gearing up with seasonal hires, coming up with summer specials or choosing the right day and time to take a little break.
In this blog, we’ll unpack everything you need to know to thrive this summer including:
Sun’s out, and so are your customers. You will likely see an uptick in dine-in traffic during this time, especially if your business is located in a popular neighbourhood or tourist destination.
What’s different about this year is that customers are more concerned than ever about overall costs—71% even say they have reduced their spending on eating out. At the same time…
Summer diners are more likely to spend on impulse. With summer break in full swing, customers will end up throwing caution to the wind and spending more.
More than half of Brits estimated that they spend more during the summer than any other time of the year, paying an average of £154 more each month. It’s no surprise—with the holidays comes happier folks, and the perfect excuse to treat ourselves to a nice brunch or afternoon drinks in lighter weather.
Tourists local and global are hungry for the UK. A third of Brits are more likely to choose a UK trip for their summer travels this year, while neighbouring tourists are also flocking to the UK for its saner weather amid extreme heat in other parts of Europe.
Local restaurants can expect to see an influx of customers visiting from out of town, keeping dine-in volume at a high.
If dine-in is business as usual (and more), what about delivery? We analysed over 800,000 food delivery orders from last summer so you can guess less and grow more this year.
Despite an average 10.1% drop in the number of orders made, the demand for food delivery remains high during the summer months.
Let’s take a closer look at how customers will order in the summer.
Britons see peak delivery orders on the weekends throughout the year. But in summer, that quickly changes.
We observed that Thursday is the busiest delivery day, with 16.4% of the total orders in a week. This is followed closely by Wednesday at 15.3%. Keep enough hands on the counter for the midweek delivery rush.
The trend for the most popular meal of the day is not too different in the summer.
With time off, Brits are ordering in more often for dinner (51.5%) and lunch (21.5%) than any other meal of the day.
In fact, they tend to spend a tad more.
The average order value for food delivery in the summer months comes up to £22.20 per meal, compared to the £21.30 from January to May.
Since the staff shortage is predicted to continue, it’s good to think about summer staffing and hiring ahead of time. Start finding candidates early and consider offering competitive compensation packages for the seasonal rush.
In these busiest times of year, it’s important to find the right balance to maximise your cost and resources without understaffing shifts. Cross-train your team members so they can be dynamic from front-of-house to back, and use a blended approach to ensure experienced and newer employees can help each other on the same shifts.
With or without a full staff on hand, implementing tech at different touchpoints is a proven way to combat labour shortages, manage operations, and make your staff's lives easier.
Running promotions is a great way to kick off summer and entice new and existing customers. Create limited-time offers for happy hour, brunch, and parties over 5 and get your customers excited through social media platforms.
Reach out to local businesses near you to host a summer event—for example, a bookstore can host a reading at your restaurant, or an ice-cream shop can sponsor a summer party.
In addition, running promotions on third-party apps is an excellent incentive for more customers to order from your restaurant.
With tourism up in the summer, many of your customers will be in town for the first time looking for a place to eat. This means positive reviews will be key to people deciding where to eat.
45% of consumers also say they’re more likely to still visit a company if it responds to negative reviews. Make sure to manage and reply to your reviews on both social and delivery platforms.
Try solutions like Otter’s Reputation Management to manage reviews across delivery platforms easily and turn to our carefully crafted review response templates to answer quickly.
When it comes to updating your menu for summer, let the seasonal produce guide you! Think berries, corn, cherries, squash, peaches, plums, butter lettuce, cucumbers and the like.
Bonus points if you can partner with a local farmers market to source seasonal produce — offering your customers the freshest options and promoting environmentally-friendly options.
Assess your most popular items and see if there are any seasonal ingredients you can add.
Many people love to order salads in the summer, and an easy way to give your menu a summer twist is swapping out in-season ingredients.
These summer menu items are cool, colourful and offer diverse flavours. Given that your customers may come from various places during the holidays, appealing to different tastes and preferences will help you stand out.
Pro-tip: When creating a summer special menu suitable for both dine-in and delivery, it's also important to consider dishes that travel well and use proper packaging to ensure they arrive fresh and appealing at customers' homes.
If you're looking to stay on top of your operations and still get some downtime this summer, see how our solutions can help.
Think about all the hours your team has to spend manually inputting orders into your POS.
With Otter’s POS integration, you can sync all of your systems with your POS so orders come through a single place.
Help your servers be more efficient, effective, and profitable, and reduce errors and losses during the busiest time of the year.
Otter’s Digital Dine-In solution uses mobile ordering to boost your sales, efficiency, and dine-in experience.
If it makes sense for your restaurant especially with the summer buzz, consider implementing QR order & pay to take the load off your staff, encourage tips and allow customers to view your menu and place orders ahead.
Otter's marketing solution, Promotions, automatically creates, runs, and optimises your restaurant’s promotions on delivery apps based on customer behaviour.
When customers are searching for your cuisine type, Promotions can help your storefront rank higher on delivery apps and get your restaurant ahead of competition this summer.