7 ways to prepare your restaurant for a successful summer


Spring brings warmer weather, more daylight, and the craving for cold drinks. This is the perfect time to get your restaurant summer-ready. From transforming your space into an outdoor retreat to making the most of occasions like Father’s Day and Pride events, there are several ways to elevate your dining experience, attract new guests, and boost your bottom line this season.

Use these seven tips to prepare your restaurant for the summer vibes:

Embrace summer holidays

Summer is full of holidays and celebrations, from Father’s Day and Pride celebrations that happen across UK cities from May to August. Here are a few creative ways to generate buzz and bring in guests for the summer holidays:

  • Run a 'Dads eat for free' Father’s Day promotion
  • Create a special cocktail tailored to dads
  • Partner with LGBTQ+ influencers in your community to showcase your restaurant as a safe and welcoming place
  • Run a Pride contest on social media
  • Host a post-Pride parade happy hour
  • Offer Wimbledon Championships inspired dishes and drinks

Whether you create a unique Experience or a holiday-themed social media campaign, doing something different will set your restaurant apart and help guests remember you.

Update your menu

One of the best ways to attract guests during the summer and keep them coming back for more is to refresh your menu. Summer-ify it by adding dishes that reflect the flavours and ingredients of the season like fresh, local produce, light and refreshing entrees, and vibrant cocktails to cater to the summer palate. Colourful salads, fresh-caught seafood dishes, and fruity desserts are always a hit, too.

Perfect your outdoor seating

Whether it's a sidewalk café, rooftop terrace, or garden patio, outdoor dining is a major draw for guests when the weather warms up. Expand your al fresco seating and create a welcoming and comfortable outdoor space with stylish furniture, shade umbrellas, and ambient lighting. Outdoor dining lets guests enjoy the sunshine and fresh air during their visit, enhancing their overall dining experience. Just make sure you have a plan for handling any challenges mother nature might throw your way.

Become a destination for summer parties

During the summer, people go out to eat more——and often in bigger groups. Many companies host summer parties, giving their employees a chance to step away from their 9-5 pm responsibilities to enjoy some refreshing sips and a delicious meal as a team. Look around your restaurant and see which spaces you can offer for private events.

OpenTable's private dining marketplace makes it easy for diners to find and book your space while helping you streamline your operations.

Dial up your online presence

Millions of undecided diners search OpenTable for the perfect restaurant each month. That's why keeping your restaurant profile up to date is essential—from a thorough description, to seasonal menus, and recent photos. Great profiles increase a diner's likelihood of booking at that restaurant once they land on the profile.

In addition to updating your OpenTable profile, use social media, email marketing, and your restaurant's website to create buzz around your summer offerings. Engage customers with mouth-watering photos, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and seasonal deals.

Build strong relationships within your community

Team up with local businesses to amplify your restaurant's presence and attract a broader audience. Consider partnering with nearby attractions, hotels, or event organisers and cross-promote each other's offerings. Host collaborative events, sponsor community initiatives, or participate in local festivals to increase brand awareness and reach new diners.

Prepare your staff for the influx of guests

A successful summer season hinges not only on your menu and ambiance but also on the quality of service your staff provides. Prepare your team for the increased demand. Train them on your seasonal menu items and summer promotions, and make sure everyone can navigate your outdoor space efficiently. Emphasise the importance of efficiency, friendliness, and attention to detail in creating exceptional dining experiences.

Beyond the nuances of your restaurant, encourage staff to level up their OpenTable skills. OpenTable Academy offers a variety of trainings for every role—from how to make a reservation to analysing POS data—and any member of your team can register and complete the courses.

As you gear up for a successful summer season, get creative and focus on the guest experience. With these tips in mind, you’ll create a vibrant atmosphere that keeps happy guests coming back throughout the summer and beyond.