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Boosting business in the summer?

Consider these hot renovations and small changes to your restaurant or cafe

While some businesses can slow down significantly in the summer, know that depending on what industry you are in, the warmer weather can just as easily be a way to gain and retain customers. According to a study for those in the restaurant and tourism industry in particular, rising temperatures help drive sales in what is often a volatile sector and can mean more revenue in the summer months. What are some ways you, in the service industry, can help guarantee you are making the most of the sun? Start by thinking of making some changes to your business. 

We know that renovations are a part of running and improving any establishment. Thus , if you already have major existing renovations plans for your business during the summer months, the important thing is to make adjustments for your customers and simply maximize the areas you have dedicated for them. If you don’t have major refurbishments planned, but are open to small or even grander changes you just had not thought of  undertaking as of yet, consider the following ideas as a way to drive sales:

Maximize the outdoor areas

Customers love the outdoors in summer. If you currently have an outdoor space for your pub and restaurant, think about whether you are maximizing it or neglecting its potential. Indeed, an inviting outdoor area can be a huge draw when customers are looking to eat and drink under the sun. 

Things to think about should include ensuring that you have adequate seating areas that are suitable for the weather and areas that offer shade during mid-day.  Once the sun has gone down and those temperatures have cooled slightly, some customers will want to remain outside, so think about outdoor lighting, heaters or blankets to boost the outdoor potential all hours of the day. Depending on your neighborhood, do not forget to ensure that people living nearby are kept happy and perhaps think of putting a curfew or sign on the outdoor encouraging respect and noise control from your customers. 

If the area around your establishment has the potential to expand, think of how you could amp up sales by creating new zones with their own appeal or speciality. For instance, perhaps constructing a separate bar area, kitchen, or BBQ that differs slights from your indoors could entice customers to enjoy (and spend) more? How about running a special “margarita corner” or an “al fresco menu” for just the outside patio area? 

Bring the light indoors

If it is sunny outside, customers might want the comfort of the indoors with the feel and lighting of the outdoors. Think about how best to freshen your indoor space and bring in more natural light. The most obvious starting point is by opening or adding windows, pulling back curtains, building skylights, creating patio doors and opening existing doors to brighten otherwise dark spaces. Is there anything you can do to make it seem a little brighter inside?

Next, think about colors -  lighter ones. Darker colors might look more sophisticated in the winter months, but that is not necessarily what customers want in the summer. Lightening up your indoor color scheme by adding lighter shades or simply adding a dashing new color to make the area pop offer small but dramatic changes.  This can be done anywhere - walls, ceilings, around windows and pillows or curtains. A tried and true method is also adding mirrors to enlarge existing spaces by placing them opposite outdoor spaces (windows and doors) to draw in light and to reflect existing green spaces or outdoor areas. Don’t be afraid to be creative. 

Build a well lit-enclosure

A very smart way to give the feel of the outdoors year round is to build a conservatory or similar enclosure. The advantage is that it gives the allure of being outdoors, no matter the time of year or weather. Why do you think there are so many such enclosures in rainy London? A conservatory can offer dining, private functions or simply be rented for smaller engagements. Because it is sectioned off, it feels special and as an owner you might be able to charge more for this exclusivity. Indeed, natural light and outdoor views are always inviting, but your own segregated room offers something different. It is an easy way to dramatically change your premises and bring in guaranteed additional income.  

Be the entertainment

Summer offers a wide variety of entertainment events from sporting competitions to music shows. Investing in TVs, speakers, or creating special screening areas to feature these events can be a great way to entice customers when they are in full swing. Typically, whether its rugby, the Olympics or concerts, people enjoy watching these events together, with a round of drinks and food. You want to offer that place over your competitors. Similarly, your might want to consider putting on special live events in the summer like your very own musical show inside your establishment. Does your sound system need improving, do you have the right space to do this, are there other events you can entice customers with something different? Set up a budget and get to brainstorming how your own little place can entertain old and potential customers. 

Don’t be afraid to go bold. You will find it is not that difficult and these are just a few easy ways you can take advantage of the summer months and offer something unique to your clientele. 

Jessica Brown
Jessica is a globally renowned writer specializing in International Relations, Economics and Political Affairs. A graduate from Brown and Cambridge Universities she now focuses on helping small to medium businesses grow their bottom line.
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