How Summer Changes Food Delivery for Restaurants in the UK

We explore the ways that the sunny holiday season changes how customers order for delivery, dine-in and more.

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:

  • Consumer behaviour during the summer
  • Food delivery statistics in the summer
  • How to get your restaurant ready for summer
  • 30+ ideas for summer menu specials
  • Plus, some ways Otter can help streamline your delivery this summer!

Consumer behaviour in the summer

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. 

Consumer behaviour in the summer

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.

Food delivery statistics in the summer

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.

Midweek delivery goes up

Britons see peak delivery orders on the weekends throughout the year. But in summer, that quickly changes.

Midweek delivery goes up in the summer

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.

Dinner deliveries still reign supreme

The trend for the most popular meal of the day is not too different in the summer. 

Brits are ordering in more often for dinner than any other meal of the day. 

With time off, Brits are ordering in more often for dinner (51.5%) and  lunch (21.5%) than any other meal of the day. 

Brits spend just as much on food delivery in summer

In fact, they tend to spend a tad more. 

Brits spend just as much on food delivery in summer

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. 

How to get your restaurant ready for summer

Make a game plan for staffing your restaurant

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. 

Run summer promotions 

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.

Manage your reviews

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.

Add summer flair to your menu

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.

31 ideas for seasonal summer specials

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.

  1. Tropical Mango Chicken Salad: Grilled chicken breast with a refreshing mango salsa and mixed greens, perfect for a light and summery meal.
  2. Mediterranean Veggie Wrap: A delicious wrap filled with roasted vegetables, hummus, feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  3. Pulled Pork Sliders: Tender pulled pork smothered in smoky barbecue sauce, served in mini slider buns for a fun, good-for-sharing finger food option.
  4. Prawn and Avocado Ceviche: A zesty and citrusy prawn ceviche mixed with creamy avocado, ideal for a seafood lover's summer treat.
  5. Summer Veggie Paella: A vegetable-packed paella infused with saffron and served with lemon wedges.
  6. Watermelon Feta Salad: A refreshing combination of juicy watermelon cubes, crumbled feta cheese, mint leaves, and a balsamic glaze drizzle.
  7. Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry: Tender chicken stir-fried with fresh basil, colourful bell peppers, and Thai spices, served with fragrant jasmine rice.
  8. Grilled Halloumi Skewers: Grilled halloumi cheese and vegetable skewers seasoned with herbs and a squeeze of lemon.
  9. Raspberry Lemonade Spritz: A thirst-quenching blend of raspberries, lemon juice, and soda, garnished with a sprig of mint.
  10. Summer Berry Salad: A mix of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, tossed with mixed greens and a honey-lime dressing.
  11. Chilli Lime Shrimp Tacos: Spicy lime marinated shrimp served in soft tortillas with crunchy slaw and avocado slices.
  12. Lemon Herb Grilled Sea Bass: Delicate sea bass fillets marinated in a lemon-herb sauce and grilled to perfection.
  13. Mexican Street Corn: Roasted corn on the cob coated in a tangy mayo and cheese blend, sprinkled with chilli powder and fresh cilantro.
  14. Coconut Lime Chicken Curry: Creamy coconut-lime chicken curry with a burst of tropical flavours, served with steamed jasmine rice.
  15. Caprese Pizza: A summery pizza topped with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and a balsamic glaze drizzle.
  16. Chilled Gazpacho Soup: A refreshing cold soup made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and a hint of garlic.
  17. Sticky Ribs: Tender and flavourful barbecued ribs coated in a sticky glaze, perfect for a finger-licking summer feast.
  18. Poke Bowl: A bowl of marinated raw tuna or salmon with tropical fruits, avocado, edamame, and a soy-ginger dressing.
  19. Minty Lemon Sorbet: A refreshing lemon sorbet infused with mint leaves, served in a citrus cup.
  20. Summer Garden Pasta: A light and colourful pasta dish with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil, and a lemony olive oil dressing.
  21. Korean Beef Tacos: Tender marinated beef bulgogi served in soft corn tortillas with kimchi slaw and a drizzle of spicy gochujang sauce.
  22. Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad: Grilled peaches paired with creamy burrata cheese, arugula, prosciutto, and a honey balsamic glaze.
  23. Coconut Curry Vegetable Skewers: Skewers loaded with summer vegetables, marinated in coconut curry sauce, and grilled to perfection.
  24. Greek Orzo Salad: Orzo pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, and a lemon-oregano vinaigrette.
  25. Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Bowl: Grilled teriyaki chicken served with pineapple chunks, steamed rice, and a side of stir-fried vegetables.
  26. Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers: Juicy lamb patties seasoned with Moroccan spices, topped with harissa mayo and pickled red onions, served in brioche buns.
  27. Summer Berry Pavlova: A light and airy meringue topped with whipped cream and a medley of fresh summer berries.
  28. Thai Coconut Lime Soup: A fragrant and creamy coconut-lime broth with chicken or tofu, mushrooms, lemongrass, and chilli.
  29. Corn and Black Bean Salad: Roasted corn and black beans tossed with diced bell peppers, red onions, cilantro, and a lime-cumin dressing.
  30. Iced Lavender Latte: A refreshing iced latte infused with a hint of lavender syrup, perfect for a summer caffeine boost.
  31. Summer Soba Salad: Chilled soba noodles tossed with a variety of fresh and crisp summer vegetables such as cucumber, radishes, and julienned carrots.

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. 

Some ways Otter can help streamline your operations this summer

If you're looking to stay on top of your operations and still get some downtime this summer, see how our solutions can help.

  1. Simplify your restaurant’s order management with POS integration

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.

  1. Increase sales & reduce labour costs with QR code ordering

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.

  1. Automate summer promotions to increase your sales on delivery apps

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.

Learn more how about Otter can help your restaurant in summer and beyond by filling out the form below.

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