Restaurant guide: 4 tips to prepare for summer dining
The summer months bring warmer weather and longer evenings, which are key ingredients for an increase in foot traffic to your restaurant. Bringing in more business is a good thing, but it’s important to plan accordingly—especially if you’re also managing off-premises orders through delivery and pickup. Whether your goal is to attract new customers, optimize your current business, or deepen loyalty over the summer, this guide is designed to set you up for success.
Keep your composure and make the summer sizzle for your restaurant with these 4 strategies:
Streamline your off-premises operations
If you’re anticipating more in-store visits over the summer, one of the first steps you can take is to make sure your off-premises operations are running smoothly. Delivery and pickup will remain important revenue streams for your restaurant, so it’s important to create the right infrastructure to account for both. Here are a few off-premises strategies that can also benefit your in-store operations:
Establish takeaway areas. Create clear waiting zones and pickup flows for customers and delivery people. Make sure the space you create doesn’t crowd outdoor dining areas, your host stand, or the kitchen. The goal is to prevent congestion for your staff and in-store diners.
Use clear signage. A combination of signs, floor decals, and roped-off areas will help customers and delivery people navigate your restaurant. Visible instructions will reduce the need for your staff to play a hands-on role—giving them more time to focus on the in-store experience.
💡Uber Eats best practices
Adjust your online hours. If your restaurant sees the most in-store traffic during dinner, it might not be the best time to also accept delivery orders. Tailor your menu hours so that your store is only available in the app during the most optimal times for your business.
Pause incoming delivery orders. When you’re experiencing an unexpected volume of in-store customers, you can temporarily pause online delivery through your Uber Eats Orders tablet or your integrated POS system until your staff is ready to handle more orders.
Increase your preparation time. During peak periods, you can enable Busy Mode in your tablet or integrated POS system. This feature increases your preparation time, which can give you more breathing room to get orders out the door.
Spruce up your menu offering
The summer months bring seasonal ingredients that can make for a mouthwatering menu. Satisfy your customers’ cravings with these quick tips:
Adapt your bestsellers. Assess your most popular menu items and see if you can give an old favorite a new twist—like adding local tomatoes to a sandwich, or grilled corn to your house salad. By making these items limited-time offers, you can further entice customers and boost sales.
Tap into local partnerships. Consider working with vendors or restaurants in your area to expand your offering. For example, maybe an ice cream shop in the neighborhood would be willing to add scoops to your dessert menu. Creating these connections is a good way to reach a new customer base while supporting local businesses.
💡Uber Eats best practices
Experiment with your delivery menu. Try adding a section to your delivery menu with prepackaged goods based on your bestsellers. You can prepare these items ahead of time and give your customers something to enjoy during a summer on the go. Check your most popular items directly in Uber Eats Manager using the following steps: navigate to Performance, followed by Analytics. Select Sales, then scroll down to Item Rank.
Make your menu a visual experience. Incorporating detailed descriptions and menu photography is key. In fact, our internal data shows that customers order menu items with photos more frequently than menu items without photos. Using the Menu Maker tool in Uber Eats Manager, you can easily upload eye-catching pictures and create an experience that jumps off the screen.
Add beverages to your menu. Hot days call for cold drinks, which means customers may be looking for something refreshing to round out their meal. Plus, adding beverages to your delivery menu is a key way to boost online order sizes. Showcase your drink variety to customers, build unique meal bundles, and encourage upsell opportunities at checkout.
Invest in your online presence
When customers are browsing for somewhere to eat, one of the first places they’ll turn is online. At the very least, you’ll want to make sure your location, hours of operation, and contact information are accurate across your website, social channels, third-party apps, and other online business profiles. Once the basics are covered, you can experiment with a few creative marketing tactics to drive traffic. Some include:
Improve your local search engine optimization (SEO). Think about terms that customers might be searching for when they’re exploring new restaurants in the summer—such as “outdoor dining” or “restaurant with patio.” If you see a significant search volume behind these terms, make sure to incorporate them on your website or in your blogging efforts. This is an effective and low-cost way to get your brand in front of more people, so long as you actually offer what customers are searching for.
Stand out on social media with video content. According to data from Wyzowl, 89% of consumers are persuaded to buy a product after watching a video, and people are twice as likely to share videos than other types of online content. Use this trend to your advantage by bringing your brand to life on channels that favor video, like Instagram and TikTok. You don’t need a big marketing budget or production team to do this well. Simple phone footage and authenticity can go a long way.
💡Uber Eats best practices
Refresh your storefront image. Your hero image is the first impression your store will make on the Uber Eats app. It’s important to keep this prime piece of real estate up to date. Swap in a bright image that shows off exclusive summer items and gets people in the spirit of the season.
Respond to customer reviews. Taking the time to respond to your reviews using the Review Response tool in Uber Eats Manager shows that you’re listening and genuinely invested in creating a positive experience for your customers. If you’re short on time, you can use the review automation feature to build custom templates based on attributes like star rating and average order size.
Optimize your outdoor dining space
Customers spend the entire year dreaming of dining al fresco during the summer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to setting up your outdoor dining space, but you can prioritize a few areas to ensure that you’re creating an experience that’s safe, enjoyable, and memorable. These include:
💡Uber Eats best practice
- Highlight Uber Eats in your restaurant. Let dine-in guests know that they can also order delivery and pickup from you on Uber Eats. Visit the merchant store to browse floor decals, window clings, tabletop signs, and more. Send a message that you’re ready to meet customers where they are.
Keep your cool as demand heats up
As you prepare for the summer months, remember that you don’t have to do all the work yourself—especially when it comes to your delivery operations. With tools built into the Uber Eats platform, you can count on technology to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Tap into features to help you control your order volume when your store gets busy, drive demand for your restaurant on slower days, and make delivery work on your terms.
For additional tips, tricks, and best practices for making Uber Eats work for you, explore self-guided lessons in Merchant Academy.
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