The casual dining industry thrives during the warmer months. With potential new business opportunities during the coming spring and summer months, it’s crucial you have a strategy in place to maximise footfall and deliver a fresh and exciting catering experience.
Spring is an uplifting season, all about fresh starts and looking to the future and it’s important to reflect this in the dining experience you offer your customers. One of the easiest ways to offer a sense of the new and exclusive is to focus on seasonal events, whether it’s Easter, upcoming sporting occasions, or even just the brightening weather that gets you inspired. We’ve put together a few ways to make the most of the coming season, to help your casual dining location thrive.
Focus on seasonal ingredients
After months of heavy winter meals, lighter, airy, flavoursome meals will draw the crowds as diners become more health conscious in the wake of the festive blow out. Luckily, a host of new ingredients show their faces in spring, including, watercress, leeks, peas, spring lamb, rhubarb, and wild garlic. With this in mind, including a couple of seasonal spring ingredients is a great way to capitalise on the changing of the seasons, and offer customers something new. You could even try offering some on trend “spring small plates” separate from your usual menu, to really highlight what spring has to offer.
Switch up décor
The spring season is a great chance to give your business a makeover, following the season’s feel of fresh beginnings. However, a revamp doesn’t have to mean stripping down the wallpaper and doing a complete makeover, as something as simple as putting up some Easter bunting or window displays can help to create intrigue.
Create one-off menus
Creating a one-off menu, or a limited-time meal, is a great way to delight your existing customers and help spread your reputation as an interesting, refreshing place to dine. If you’re looking for variation, why not put a casual dining
twist on firm Easter favourites around the bank holiday weekend, when families will be heading out in their droves. Rather than serving a rack of lamb with all the trimmings, you could create an Easter inspired lamb kofte burger with seasonal mint and cucumber sauce and sweet potato fries
. One off menus can take effort to produce, but are a great way to test the water should you wish to take your food in new directions too.
Here comes the sun – and you can bet your customers will follow it. If you have the means on your premises, it’s a brilliant idea to make sure you provide an outside eating and drinking area. Combine this with a delicious, nutritious seasonal menu, and your customers won’t be able to stay away.
Capitalise on sporting events
With the Olympics, the Euros, and the 6 Nations, 2016 is packed with a host of exciting sporting events, and catering to the cravings of the sport-mad is a guaranteed way to draw you extra business over the spring and summer. The sports crowd may not be for everyone, so don’t worry, you needn’t turn your casual dining restaurant into a sports bar. Simply having a few international inspired snacks and quick bites on the menu is a great way to get in on the competitive spirit of sporting events; why not take a look at our potato recipes from around the world
for some inspiration? Or, you needn’t have to touch your menu at all; switching up the décor with some international flags or bunting can really help your location get in on the buzz, especially if you usually serve cuisine from one of the competing nations.
Bring casual dining home
Takeaway food is a must for the warmer months. Avoid unnecessarily losing business by providing people with the option to grab their food on the go. From picnickers, to couples wanting a night in front of the telly, if your food is available to be taken away, your potential customer base grows instantly. Restaurant quality takeaway food is booming at the moment, with companies like Deliveroo giving casual dining locations the ability to offer takeaway food where it was previously impossible, so this is really one aspect of dining that it’s worth looking in to.
With the right combination of a new, exciting menu, a refreshed décor, and some savvy exploiting of the year’s upcoming seasonal events and trends, you can keep the customers streaming in all season.