1. Get your outdoor patio in order. The minute the temperature inches above 20 degrees, people will be clamouring to sit outside, so make sure you’re ready. Take out the outdoor furniture (and replace anything that’s looking worn down), and don’t forget to Mother Nature-proof your set-up with umbrellas, bug zappers, and fans, if you’re somewhere particularly hot. Oh – and don’t forget to take advantage of table categories on GuestCenter and get increased visibility on your outdoor tables.
2. Refresh your drinks menu. Out with the mulled wines, and in with the seasonal beers and cooling cocktails. Alcohol sales are most likely the backbone of your business — and warmer weather means more people will be out to socialise — so it’s worth going the extra mile to promote your new drink offerings on social media, or with a press preview.
3. Up your outdoor signage game. Take advantage of the increased outside foot traffic during the spring and make your restaurant stand out with colourful, creative signs that will bring locals through the door. A no-brainer is the classic chalkboard sign, which you can use to advertise happy hours or any other seasonal promotions.
4. Get rid of your winter enclosure. Don’t be the one restaurant on your block that still has your winter enclosure in the middle of September. When the weather turns, just stick it in storage. It’s an easy task that will automatically make your restaurant feel fresher.
5. Plan events. On warm weather days, people are actively searching for creative ways to get out of the house. This means it’s the perfect time to host a seasonal beer tasting or designated live music nights. Just be sure the event is well thought out and feels unique to your restaurant.
6. Get ready for spring showers. Yes, winter (and winter storms) may be over, but that doesn’t mean that severe weather isn’t as possibility anymore. Prepare for those seasonal rainstorms by having umbrellas on hand for customers and valet, flyaway-resistant outside furniture and utensils, and a contingency plan in case you need to bring outdoor diners indoors.
7. Make a plan for spring holidays. The Spring Racing Carnival is huge across Australia, so you should make sure you have your menu and promotional schedule decided at least a month in advance. Is there another fun, easy promotion that you can do to drum up business? Chances are, just a little bit of creative brainstorming on two or three marketing initiatives will pay big dividends. Don’t forget to sign up to OpenTable’s free Melbourne Cup promo to get increased exposure!
8. Match your décor to the weather. Even little things like opening a window, fresh flowers, and colorful plates can go a long way in making your space feel airier and brighter for the season, and in creating generally positive vibes in the dining room. But you don’t want to go too over the top — you still want your restaurant to feel like your restaurant.
9. Support community events. In addition to planning your own events, make the effort to engage with local community programming. Participate in a festival, donate food to an outdoor charity block party, host a BBQ for a local sports team. These sorts of initiatives will go a long way in building good will between you and your neighborhood.