With a year of staying at home behind us, most people (aka your potential customers) are ready to get out and travel again or are at least itching to do so. If your restaurant is in a hot vacation spot or tourist destination, it’s a great time to get ready (fingers crossed) for a busy summer!
Here are a few ideas that will help your restaurant get ready for tourist season!
Update Your Hours Online
With the craziness of the past year, maybe it has been a while since you last took a look at your hours of operation, and they are not current anymore. This is so important to fix! Many tourists will use Google, Facebook, Yelp, or similar services to find places to eat, drink, and be merry, so it’s essential your hours are updated on these platforms. People can’t come to you if they don’t know you’re open!
Staff the Busy Nights
Hiring and keeping staff has proved to be a significant struggle for restaurant owners, and even more so recently. When scheduling, make sure that you’re taking into consideration your busiest nights so your waitstaff is not overwhelmed, which can create a less than satisfactory customer experience. Does your town have baseball games that give you more foot traffic on certain nights? Or are Friday nights the night to be out and about? Take a look at the local schedule of events and increase staff where you can on those days that will likely become busy. Your schedule may look completely different than it did in the winter, but if you’re in a tourist-driven town, that change is crucial for happy customers and not overworking your staff.
Review Your Summer Menu
Similar to adjusting your staff, it’s also important to take a look at your menu so you can order supplies accordingly before summer starts! To focus on tourists and locals alike, it is a great time to emphasize any local delicacies that are you specialize in, or any summer features that you weren’t able to showcase previously. Even if you aren’t adding anything to your menu, go over it to see if there are any areas that can be improved upon as well. It’s always a good idea to review your menu at least quarterly to see if your offerings need to be tweaked due to ingredient availability or your margins.
Add Outdoor Seating
Having an outdoor space has been key and even saved some businesses this past year, so if you have an outdoor space, it is so important that you are using it, especially for tourist season! Promote your patio space by having the necessary furniture ready to go for those willing to eat and enjoy the outdoors. Offering outdoor dining not only allows you to serve more customers, it can also be advertising to attract other customers into your restaurant!
Post or Add to Signage
Signs are always helpful, especially for new visitors! Some businesses mandate masks until you’re seated, at others they aren’t required at all. Whatever your policy is, it’s important to have signage that explains it to your customers. It’s so much easier to have your policies clearly displayed where new and old customers can see them. This will be very handy for out-of-towners whose state’s policies may be different from your location’s. Know that everyone will not read these signs, but your staff will have something to reference should an issue arise.
Create Unique Events
Bring the tourists in with what makes your town (and restaurant) so special! There’s likely a reason people are vacationing where you live, which can be a jumping off point for your creativity. Creating events that coincide with popular tourist attractions/activities can bring more people to your establishment, and if they are returning vacationers, they may become repeat guests! Host a food-specific festival, gallery night, eating contest, or live music showcase that can attract locals and tourists to come to your place of business for the night.
Taking the time to get your restaurant ready for this summer can make all the difference when fall rolls around! With so many people getting the urge to travel again, you’ll want to make sure that your restaurant fits on their itinerary.