In the summer, our preferences change – from the weather and the environment to the way we dress and what we choose to eat. Gone are the cravings for hot winter soups, hearty meals and roast dinners, and instead many of us prefer to indulge in salads, lighter meals and fruit juices.
As a cafe owner, there are plenty of ways you can take advantage of this. In fact, changing up your menu when the seasons change can help draw more customers in and make your establishment more appealing – after all, who doesn’t want a refreshing ice cold smoothie on a summer’s morning, or a fresh crunchy salad when the weather is hot outside?
Many people will walk right past your restaurant if your menu doesn’t appeal to them, and this means you’ve got to pay attention to the general mood and desires of your customers. Sure, some people may still want to tuck into a hot soup after a long day or enjoy an al fresco roast dinner, but there are lots of fun, exciting and creative ways you can change up your menu for the summer months.
Below, we share our top tips for creating a fun summer menu for your cafe and how you can incorporate fresh new flavours and limited-time offerings.
Stock up on fruit juices
Firstly, let’s start with the most basic of drinks: fruit juices. Everyone loves a cold, refreshing fruit juice in the sun. Whether your customers are stopping at your cafe for a break from their bike ride or coming by for some lunch, having a range of fruit juices available is key. Don’t just opt for your standard apple and orange juice; think jugs of grapefruit, pineapple and tropical juice.
Plus, fruit juices can be used to make some deliciously refreshing cocktails for your customers too! From simple rum and pineapple juice and vodka and cranberry to tantalising tequila sunrises and delicious campari cosmos, updating your summer menu with fun and fruity cocktails will draw in customers who are craving a refreshing break.
Introduce fruit salads
We all love a good crunchy salad in the summer, but why not get creative and have some fun with sweet salads too? Fruit salads are super easy to make and they taste delicious, especially when accompanied by a good dose of sun. Sweet salads taste refreshing and they’re packed full of tasty, in-season fruits – what’s not to love?
Our favourite fruits to put in sweet salads include blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, grapes and – perhaps the most tasty sweet salad fruit of all – watermelon. When it comes to sweet salads, you can get as creative as you like; whether you need to use up fruit before it goes out of date or you want to make a huge bulk batch before a busy day at the cafe, they’re super easy to make and will satisfy your customers. You can arrange fruit slices in colourful patterns – and a simple drizzle of syrup over the fruit will take it to the next level.
Get creative with summery desserts
There’s just something so appealing about tucking into refreshing sweet treats when the weather is warm outside. There are plenty of summer desserts to explore and put on your menu, many of which are extremely easy to make. Again, this is the perfect way to make use of in-season fruits.
Strawberry pavlova is a classic summer dessert that is popular in cafes and restaurants during the warmer months, but there are plenty of other summery desserts to explore and try too. Why not go for a gooseberry and elderflower trifle, a tropical tiramisu or even a gin and tonic cheesecake? The more creative you can get with you desserts, the more your menu will stand out and draw in the crowds. Don’t forget to stock up on cream to serve with your dishes too!
Have fun with summer promotions
Summer is the perfect time to make the most of promotions and have fun with new marketing campaigns and ideas. Whether you’re hoping to attract tourists visiting the area or you want to capture the attention of locals, there are plenty of different options to explore. Here are just a few of our favourites:
Candlelight dinners for couples
For those in a relationship, attending a candlelight dinner can be a romantic treat – and you might even get a few proposals! Candlelight dinners are one of the most simple yet effective summer promotions you can offer; all you need is an outdoor space, some candles and fairy lights to create a romantic and intimate atmosphere for your customers. Don’t forget to turn on the romantic tunes too!
Who doesn’t love tucking into some delicious food while enjoying live music? It’s highly likely there are lots of professional and amateur groups in your area offering entertainment options, from live bands to stand-up comics. Put on a summer entertainment evening once a week for the whole of summer and get a lineup of local talent together for your customers to enjoy while they dine. Eating while listening to stand up comedy or watching professional dancers with a cocktail is a unique experience that will draw customers in.
Interactive experiences and classes
Creating an interactive experience for your customers that gets them directly involved will result in a memory they’ll never forget – and one that they’ll probably tell friends and family about too! Creating an interactive experience or class doesn’t have to be difficult or costly; why not get your best cocktail maker to teach customers how to make their very own cocktails, or ask your chef to show a handful of guests how to create the perfect starter? To ensure guests get the word out about your fun experience, ask them to post pictures on their social media accounts of their creations and reward the best one with a prize!
Pitch a lemonade or iced latte stand
When the weather’s hot, people crave refreshing drinks to cool them down. Set up a lemonade stand outside your cafe to entice guests in – they won’t be able to resist the sound of ice clinking and the fizz of the bubbles in the drink. To take your stand to the next level, why not upgrade to iced lattes? Even if customers don’t come in for a meal, they can grab a takeaway coffee and you’ll still benefit from their custom.
Freshways: wholesale foods and dairy products across the UK
Above all else, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re fully stocked with all of the products you need to create the perfect summer menu. At Freshways, we’re dedicated to providing each and every one of our clients throughout London, Wales and the UK with the freshest milk and dairy products available. We pride ourselves on being an independent and family-run business offering only the highest quality dairy products.
We’re proud to offer a bespoke wholesale food service that is quick, efficient and reliable. Whether you need a reliable supply of milk, cheese, bread, juices, cream, yoghurt, eggs, butter or more, we’re the company to turn to. For the freshest choice, choose Freshways!
For more information about our products and services, visit our website.