Summer is the ideal season for spending time with family and friends. As a result, many restaurants are seeing huge increases in both attendance and revenue. While there are many valuable ways to prepare and manage your restaurant, one of your top goals should be establishing a distinctive summer menu. Fortunately, you won’t need to make many drastic modifications. Minor changes and additions should not only assist attract new customers, but also encourage regulars to return. Here are some simple summer menu suggestions for restaurants to consider this year.
- Fire up the grill.
The barbecue will be your best friend this summer. Everyone enjoys the taste of grilled and charred foods, especially when the weather warms up. Whether it’s steak and chicken or shrimp and salmon, all forms of meats and seafood are fair game.
Vegetables cooked on the barbecue are also tasty. Consider substituting grilled potatoes, asparagus, and corn for your standard side dishes. Remember to offer some entrée-style vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, and mushrooms for vegetarian or vegan customers. Kabobs are another popular grilled entrée in the summer. Kabobs are not only simple to cook, but the possibilities for meat and vegetable eaters are unlimited.
Given that takeaway and delivery have become the standard in most regions, the packaging you choose for grilled foods is critical. Use insulated containers and delivery bags that can hold a lot of heat. This not only keeps the meal warm, but it also helps to preserve the smoky, char characteristics that give your dish that dine-out appeal.
- Make use of seasonal ingredients
Summer isn’t just about the weather; it’s also about the people. Farmers markets are a seasonal feature in many local communities, bringing a vast variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can use in your restaurant.
Also keep an eye out for other fresh ingredients. Spices, herbs, jams, and honeys are all available at many farmer’s markets. Some even offer grass-fed or organic meats that are ideal for grilling. Throughout the summer, all of these ingredients can be used to enhance your regular dishes and specials.
Also, whether it’s on the menu or through signage, find a method to promote the ingredients from your local farmer’s market. Vendors at the market are always grateful for community support.
Infographic: Summer Menu Ideas for Your Restaurant
- Construct Cold Sides
There’s no denying that warm sides like French fries, baked potatoes, or rice are popular among restaurant patrons. During the summer, though, a few chilly alternatives can be extremely enticing. Consider including fresh fruit, side salads, or coleslaw as choices.
Make a homemade potato salad for some of your customers who want potato-based sides. You may prepare a simple deviled-egg potato salad or a more elaborate one with bacon, cheddar, and green onions.
While grilled vegetables are great in the summer, there are plenty of delicious ways to serve them in the winter. Make a chilled balsamic salad with fresh tomatoes, onions, and mozzarella cheese, for example. A Southwestern mixture of corn, black beans, and tomatoes topped with a citrus vinaigrette is a side dish best served cold if your restaurant specializes in Tex-Mex.
Potato Salad is an easy summer menu idea for your restaurant.
- Garnish with Citrus
Citrus fruits are a perennial summertime favorite. Consider some creative ways to incorporate orange, lemon, or lime flavors into various foods and beverages. Salads are a quick and simple remedy. Consider serving salads with orange slices and lemony sauces as a side or entrée dish. For a unique summer flavor, brush meat with a sweet citrus glaze before grilling or charbroiling.
Sure, the main dishes and sides are the major draw, but don’t overlook the beverages and sweets. Aside from margaritas and cocktails (which we’ll discuss later), there’s a wide range of wonderful citrus beers to choose from this season. Remember to stock up on fruity IPAs, radlers, shandies, and saisons for variety.
Everything from lemon torts to citrus-flavored ice creams will be a hit for dessert. Palate cleansers such as sherbet or sorbet in lemon, lime, or orange tastes are a good idea. Another light yet wonderful way to end a summer dinner is with Italian ice.
- Blend Frozen Cocktails and Beverages
When the weather becomes hot, who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing cocktail? They’re ideal for a hot day, and your restaurant’s summer drink menu will be brimming with options. Of course, there must be margaritas. While the classic lime and strawberry tastes should always be on hand, make sure to offer exotic tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and passion fruit as well.
Offer some unusual summer specials if your restaurant already provides conventional cocktails like mojitos and gin and tonics. Throughout the season, several sangria drinks make excellent weekend specials. Serve rum buckets to create a beach-like environment in your establishment.
Don’t forget about the children and non-drinkers! In the summer, lemonade and ice tea are refreshing alternatives to soda. Make some frozen slushes or fruit punches on those scorching hot days. These will be really useful for your patio customers.