How to Increase Summer Traffic in Your Restaurant or Bar

patio

Days get longer, the sun gets stronger, and everyone is taking vacation days. After Memorial Day Weekend comes and goes, summer is here in full force. This can mean more traffic, different clientele, and new struggles for your business. But no need to stress, there is more opportunity to summer than what meets the eye.
This transition to a new season is an easy way for you as a restaurant or bar owner to include fun activities into the calendar. Summer is a great time to differentiate your business and show off your niche!
Here are some tips to start sprinkling a little summer sunshine (and beat your competitors to the punch).

1) Know Your Audience
Market to your audience smarter, not harder. It is essential to know who you are trying to draw in. Is it all out-of-towners that flock to you during this time or is it your regular crowd shuffling in? By doing a little research, you will have a better idea of interests that attracts this group. If summer also means tourist season where you are, be ready for traffic increases. Train the staff on this shift as well, explain the importance of making sure each guest has a memorable experience (in a good way). Understand what you have to offer and who you will be offering it to.

OutdoorSpace

2) Spatial Awareness
If you are the type of establishment lucky enough to have an outdoor area, it’s time to break out the patio furniture. The end of May is a great benchmark to start having outside seating available to guests, but it all depends on your climate. Not only does it allow guests to enjoy a nice breeze, it helps with overflow seating as well! Just make sure your furniture is up to par before you stick it outside in the inevitable summer storms.

3) A Dash of Summer
Got a fierce strawberry spinach salad you’ve been dying to put on the menu? What about a frozen drink that your bartender came up with by just throwing a mix together? Take advantage of what’s now in-season to put on your menu and come up with summer specials. This is a great way to show off food or drinks that are too expensive to routinely feature. Highlighting these items will present more of an opportunity to be noticed by your patrons, and therefore, ordered. Take it one step farther and get some feedback from these specials. Finding what works may lead to a new staple for your regular menu!

Music

4) Turn It Up Some
While you’re taking the advice of tip #2, use your outdoor area to host live music. Whether it’s a singer-songwriter, DJ, or local band, find an entertainer that fits your genre. Bringing an artist in is a great way to publicize all the extras your establishment has to offer and it might even turn into a tradition. This type of event may also bring people to your restaurant or bar that wouldn’t typically visit. You may be introducing them to their new favorite haunt!

5) Fiesta Like There’s No Manana
There are quite a few holidays that fall within the summer months; so why not celebrate them? Between Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or just the fact that it is summer, you’ll be able to find a celebration that you can throw a party for in your restaurant or bar. Decorate, have themed entrees or drinks, sponsor a contest- the opportunities are endless! If your budget only allows for one of these types of celebration, no worries, just make it work for your restaurant or bar! Go all out without abandoning the main focus of your establishment or bankrupting your business.

Now that you have some tips to expand your summer plans, the key takeaway is to entertain your clients. Take this chance to have old customers remember why they consistently pick your establishment and invite new ones into an exciting environment to make memories. Variety is the spice of life; the same goes for your summer business when the seasons change.
Does your restaurant or bar have any summer traditions or any advice for starting them? Let us know in the comments below, we love to hear feedback from our readers! Check us out on Pinterest for more inspiration.

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SnagaStool Helps Bars Boost Traffic with Online Bar Stool Reservations

SnagaStoolWould you like to fill up your bar stools during off-peak periods?  Or guarantee a packed house during the big game?  A start-up company out of Boston is offering a service they say is similar to OpenTable but for bar stools.

“It started when the Bruins were in the playoffs.  I offered to pay someone to sit in their seat at the bar, because it was so crowded,” explains CEO and Co-founder Jamie Manning. “When I get to a bar, I like to sit right at the bar facing the big screens, rather than at a table or standing behind someone.”

Knowing the frustrations of being a guy who just wants to find an empty bar stool at the bar, Manning came up with the idea of using an app to reserve a stool before arriving at the bar.

“People are willing to pay for that privilege,” says Manning. “Bars can determine how many and which stools to assign as SnagaStool stools based on supply and demand principles, and then use our service to increase their profits.”

SnagaStool shares the premium snag profits with the bar in a 50/50 split and is currently working out other “bundle” packaging opportunities to entice more bars to accept stool reservations.

“We are still in our pilot program,” explains Manning. “We want to work with our bar partners to come up with the best type of service for their patrons and to increase their profits.”

In addition to stool reservations, they are experimenting with offering pre-sale “tickets” during premium time slots (e.g., championship games), bundling a stool with meal packages (i.e., reserve your stool…and burger, too!), as well as allowing the bar to offer special promotions (e.g., half off appetizer) during the off-peak times.

“I worked in the bartending industry for years and designed the service to improve the interaction between bartender and customer,” says Manning.

Bars simply put the SnagaStool tent on the stools that can be reserved or are waiting for their reservation to show up.  Then, people who have a stool reservation just check in with the bartender by showing the confirmation on their mobile device, and the bartender shows them their stools!

Bars in Massachusetts and Florida are already participating, and SnagaStool is signing up new bar partners to join in on this service.  If you’re a bar interested in running promotions to your customer base using SnagaStool, visit them online at SnagaStool.com.