It’s summertime. That means the sun is out, and so are thousands of potential customers, milling around in the heat looking for their next meal. Luckily, pizza is the perfect summer food. You know what? Pizza is also the perfect wintertime food. And the perfect autumn and spring food…Maybe the lesson here is that pizza is amazing year-round.

All that aside, the real takeaway here is that pizzerias have a golden opportunity to entice customers this summer with mouthwatering delights and refreshing promotions. With the right marketing strategies, pizzerias can stand out from the competition and draw in those summertime customers. In this article, we’ll explore summer promotion ideas that can help pizzerias bring in more customers and boost their sales during the summer season.

1. Seasonal Specials
Create a dedicated summer menu featuring fresh, seasonal and locally grown ingredients that capture the essence of the season. Offer unique pizza combinations like barbecue chicken, grilled vegetable or tropical fruit pizzas. Highlight lighter options, such as thin-crust or gluten-free varieties to cater to health-conscious customers. Incorporate vibrant colors and flavors to evoke the essence of summer in every bite.

Related: How Frank Pepe’s makes headlines every summer with one unique pizza

2. Thirst-Quenching Combos
Beat the summer heat by pairing pizzas with refreshing beverages. Offer combo deals that include chilled soft drinks, lemonades, iced teas, handcrafted cocktails or craft beers. Consider introducing limited-time flavors or house-made summer-inspired drinks, as well as mocktails, to enhance the overall dining experience. Promote these combos as the perfect solution for a complete summer meal. Drink combos are also a great way to entice customers to dine-in house rather than simply take your pizza to go.

3. Family-Friendly Promotions
If there is one demographic that has historically been known to love pizza, it’s kids. Make sure you include them in any of your summer promotion ideas. Target families by offering promotions that cater to their needs. Create special deals for family-sized pizzas or meal bundles that include sides and desserts. Offer discounts for kids’ meals or provide complimentary items such as coloring books or small toys to keep children engaged while parents enjoy their meals. Highlight the pizzeria as a fun and welcoming destination for family outings.

4. Outdoor Dining Experiences
Make the most of the summer weather by offering outdoor dining options. Set up inviting patio seating areas, decorate with colorful umbrellas and plants, and create a relaxed ambiance. Use social media to promote the experience of enjoying a slice of pizza under the warm sun or twinkling stars. Consider live music or entertainment to enhance the atmosphere and make the dining experience memorable.

5. Social Media Engagement
Utilize the power of social media to engage with your customers and create a buzz around your pizzeria. Encourage customers to share their summer pizza moments using a dedicated hashtag and offer incentives such as discounts or giveaways for participation. Share tempting photos and videos of your summer specials on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to attract new customers and create a sense of urgency.

Related: Summer suds: How to make perfect pizza-and-beer pairings

6. Loyalty Programs
Implement a loyalty program to encourage repeat customers. Offer rewards such as free toppings, discounts on future purchases, or exclusive access to limited-time promotions. Create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation for loyal customers by sending them personalized offers or invitations to special events. Loyalty programs not only retain existing customers but also help generate positive word-of-mouth recommendations. On top of that, making a loyalty program just for the summer gives it a greater sense of urgency and immediacy.

7. Collaborate with Local Events
There is so much going on during the summer, which means there are countless events and organizations you can get involved with at your pizzeria. And more so than most other foods, pizza travels well and everyone likes it, so it’s an easy pairing with almost any event. Collaborate with your local Humane Society on a fundraiser or an adopt-a-pet event. Partner with and sponsor local summer events—such as concerts, festivals or sports tournaments—to expand your reach and gain exposure. Set up stalls or offer special promotions at these events to attract attendees. Consider sponsoring or hosting a pizza-eating contest or organizing pizza-making workshops to engage with the community. Collaborations with local events can boost brand visibility and attract new customers.

By offering seasonal specials, refreshing drink combos, family-friendly promotions, outdoor dining experiences, engaging social media campaigns, loyalty programs, and collaborations with local events, pizzerias can create a winning formula that appeals to customers seeking delicious food and memorable experiences. Embrace the spirit of summer and let your pizzeria shine as a go-to destination for a slice of happiness under the sun.

Mark Plumlee is a freelance writer whose articles have been published in Full Service Restaurant, Modern Restaurant Management, Quick Service Restaurant, Hospitality Tech, That Oregon Life, The San Francisco Examiner, Blazersedge and other blogs. As a copywriter, he has helped restaurants and small businesses grow and define their brand for more than five years.