How to Get Through the Busy Summer Months

Posted by Tara Stanton

If you’re a restaurant owner, summer is probably a time you both fear and love. On one level, it’s usually the busiest time of the year. Blue skies and cool breezes send people outdoors, looking for patios to sit at, food to eat and cool concoctions to drink.

Larger groups also tend to show up, and let’s not forget about the wedding parties who will be dining with you, too. While these big groups are certainly great sources of revenue, the number of beverages you serve on a daily basis — whether it’s a glass of Diet Coke or a fruity cocktail — goes through the roof. And we all know about the profit margins drinks have.

Summer is great. But, like there's a dark side to the Force and Batman has a nemesis in Two-Face, there’s a dark side to the restaurant business in summer.

The same relaxed vibe that sends people running out to grab more drinks with friends and eat out with their family is also responsible for more employees skipping shifts or calling in “sick.” Being short-staffed while dealing with larger crowds can be unbelievably stressful for management and staff, overburdening the workers and even slowing service.

Summer brings with it a lot of energy, excitement and a huge potential to increase your bottom line. In this blog series, we’ll take a look at both the challenges and opportunities restaurants face during the summer.

Trending Summer Foods

The sun is out and the soup kettles are in storage. No doubt your restaurant serves some perennial summer favorites, such as salads, barbecue, fruit and, of course, ice cream. These menu options will appear throughout your region, so how can you distinguish your establishment from the others? We’ll take a look at how ethnic cuisines can be creatively re-imagined for the season, as well as how to incorporate local foods and flavors into a seasonal menu. Additionally, we'll cover cocktails and mocktails, which are great ways to end a summer night out.

Choosing uniforms that will keep your employees cool

There are clothes for the winter and clothes for the summer. This is true in our day-to-day life, and it should be true in your restaurant as well. Comfortable employees are better employees, and providing them with cooler, more breathable uniforms is also a sanitary measure. It reduces sweat and prevents body odor, two things that could really turn off customers. In this blog, we’ll explore the materials and styles that are best for summer. We’ll also look at a few examples that keep workers cool and looking great.  

Changing your menu to fit the season

These days we hear a lot about eating locally and eating foods that are in season. This is no passing trend. In fact, seasonal options are something customers now expect. It’s part of having a dynamic menu that attracts new customers and keeps loyal ones coming back. Easy enough, maybe, but implementing a summer menu is not without its challenges. Does a revised menu for the summer require new equipment? We’ll take into account some considerations when planning a seasonal menu and how the changes in the front and the back of the house will impact your business.

Keeping your kitchen cool

No matter what time of year it is, kitchens are heat traps. In summer, you have to contend not only with the ovens, burners and warmers, but also with the outside temperature. This can be a dangerous combination. The easiest option is to crank up the AC, but doing so can really impact your electricity bill. In this blog, we’ll take a look at venting systems, fans and other strategies that can keep the kitchen area cool for employees year-round, and especially in the summer.

Summer is a time to relax and enjoy yourself. And though you won’t be able to hang a hammock in your restaurant and still have business go as smoothly as you’d like, this blog series will help you make operations more efficient, profitable and enjoyable for customers and employees alike.

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