• With summer in full bloom, customers are looking for new dining options. Are you taking full advantage of your social media platforms to reach them?
  • Now is also the time to introduce a few unique menu items, including summer cocktails, salads with local produce and sandwiches.

Related: Keeping your restaurant staff happy this summer

Thanks to nicer weather, more leisure time and increased tourism, the summer months tend to be the busiest of the year for most restaurants. So it’s a good idea to prepare some summer plans to ensure that you’re providing a wonderful experience for tourists who might leave positive reviews or recommendations. You’ll reap the benefits later during the slower seasons!

Having some strategies in place to help boost your sales, retain customers and spread the word about your pizzeria is something you should plan to do during this busy season. Here are three ways to make that happen:

1. Revamp Your Social Media.
If you’re not already on social media, what are you waiting for? A social page—such as Facebook or Instagram or both—that reaches potential clients could be the single factor that makes a customer choose you over a competitor. Social media allows you to communicate directly and efficiently with customers, share important restaurant news and attract more diners. Consider the following ideas for posts:

  • Your best dishes. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to share quality photos of your kitchen’s best dishes. Snap a photo on your smartphone and post it to entice guests. If you’re not confident in your own skills, recruit a member of your team who has mastered the art of smartphone photography.
  • Discounts or exclusives. Share eye-catching graphics with information about upcoming dinner specials, discounts, loyalty program offers or events to keep guests in the know and interested.
  • Real-life content. To make your social media page more personal and engaging, spotlight a hardworking staff member, snap a photo at your next staff event or share footage of the chefs cooking. When followers see this kind of content, they will feel a more personal connection to your restaurant, which will keep them coming back.

Related: 5 tips for shooting pizza photos with true appetite appeal

2. Add Summer Menu Items
Offering exclusive summer-focused food or drink specials at your restaurant is an excellent way to drive up profits. Most restaurateurs know that creating dinner specials is a delicate balance between thinking up fancier dishes while using less expensive ingredients. Come up with a few summery dishes that are a bit jazzier than your typical menu items and sell them at a slightly higher price point for maximum sales and profits. Make these dishes look visually appealing and share photos of them on social media to entice diners. In addition to pizzas, put some thought into summer salads featuring local produce or sandwiches that make a light but satisfying meal.

An even higher profit margin can be made by offering summer drink specials. Having a summer cocktail menu is a great way to increase profits by using materials and ingredients that you already have. Plus, you can sell drink specials at a price that seriously outweighs what it costs to make them. Consider splurging a bit on fun cocktail glasses or garnishes to make these exclusive beverages even more enticing. Share a colorful, attention-grabbing Instagram post to promote your summer specials so that the information will be readily available when potential customers visit your page.

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

3. Use That Outdoor Space!
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor patio or seating area at your restaurant, it’s likely going to get a lot of use this summer. Go the extra mile to ensure that your outdoor space is clean and nicely decorated for your guests. Moreover, having outdoor space means you have more opportunities for unique summer events, like outdoor movie nights, live music or pups-on-the-patio fundraisers. Even if you don’t have that space, keep an eye out for potential new legislation as states like New York consider amending zoning laws that will allow restaurants to utilize parking areas for outdoor dining.

If you don’t have an outdoor dining area, the summer is still a wonderful time to collaborate with local vendors or neighboring restaurants to create a unique event that will attract both your customers and your collaborator’s customers as well. For example, if you’re located near a brewery or vineyard, create a collaborative menu with food and drink pairings for an event you host together. Or get together with other local eateries for a fun food-fusion event that celebrates various cultures. If you’re located near a farm, shelter or non-profit organization, partner up for a fundraising event that will benefit both of you. Get creative and do some outreach!

Since the summer months usually mean extra business, be prepared with strategies to ensure that new customers leave impressed and that regular customers want to stick around. Get creative with your summery food and drink concoctions and never underestimate the power of both old-school and new-wave forms of marketing and advertising!

Related: Start getting your pizzeria ready for outdoor dining now