restaurant food promotion ideas
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Summer is drawing to a close, but the fun should just be getting started at your restaurant. Celebrate the end of the warm season in style with unique summer marketing ideas that will excite both new customers and regulars alike. Below, you will find restaurant food promotion ideas perfect for an unforgettable last month of summer.

Without further ado, let’s get this party started with some irresistible summer promotion ideas for restaurants:

10 Restaurant Food Promotion Ideas for the Summer

The hot season often draws more people outside, looking for new places to eat and drink. If you want to attract more customers in this warm weather, start by implementing the following summer promotions for restaurants.

1. Add irresistible summer desserts & drinks to your menu

The best way to make your menu shine in any season is to rethink and redesign it according to what people crave that time of year and the seasonal ingredients that you can buy locally.

Are you searching for summer menu ideas for restaurants? Look no further.

A seasonal restaurant menu can help you lower food costs and attract more people to your restaurant by serving tastier and healthier food.

However, if you don’t think changing your menu for summer is the right move for you, you can always simply add a few things to it for the sizzling hot season. For example, desserts are a quick and easy way to refresh your restaurant’s summer menu without changing too much.

Case in point, ice cream. Everyone loves to enjoy a refreshing cone of ice cream in the summer. Add that to your menu and think of other ways to use it, such as creating delicious ice cream frappes.

Read more: 10 Ice Cream Marketing Ideas to Sell More in the Hot Season

restaurant summer drinks

And speaking of summer beverages, when making your summer menu plan, don’t forget about refreshing drinks like lemonade and ice tea.

Even more so, train your servers to ask your customers first thing if they wouldn’t like a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade to quench their thirst.

Furthermore, help people enjoy themselves by adding some restaurant summer specials to your cocktails list. For example, use seasonal foods to make drinks like Paloma, Watermelon Daiquiri, Thai Sangria, Strawberry rum coolers or Apricot Nectarine Julep.

Don’t forget to also delight the people who don’t drink alcohol with some virgin options such as Goji berry & raspberry cooler, Mojito mocktail or Pineapple and lime mocktail.

If you use the online ordering system from GloriaFood, you can update your menu instantly and as many times as you want, at no cost. Every time you want to add a new summer special at your restaurant, all it takes is a few clicks in admin and the new product will be immediately visible in your online menu.

See for yourself in this explicative video:

2. Participate in food and music festivals

One of the most creative marketing ideas for restaurants during the summer is participating in local food and music festivals. August is the month of festivals when people throw one last hurrah before the end of summer.

If you want to become a household name in your neighborhood, be a part of these events. Inquire whether you can sell your food at local music festivals and participate in food festivals.

Don’t forget to come prepared with some unique restaurant promotion messages that will attract customers to your stand and, later, to your restaurant. Bring printed business cards to give out to people and encourage them to visit your restaurant.

If you want to stand out in the sea of other businesses with summer restaurant menus, ensure yours is extra special! For example, you can create two dishes that fit in with the music festival theme and will only be available at your festival stand.

Promote your new menu items online and tell people to hurry before they miss out on the opportunity. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a great marketing technique that will get you noticed.

If you are offering food delivery services, add the website where they can order to the card with the message “We deliver.” Even better, turn your online menu into a QR code so they can quickly scan it to place an order.

Did you know that 42.55% of customers feel most secure at a restaurant when they can scan a QR code? It’s time to provide customers with the peace of mind they need by converting your dine-in menu into a QR code.

In the video below, we walk you through the steps of creating a free QR code menu that you can use for contactless dine-in ordering.

3. Organize events on your patio

If your restaurant has a terrace or a small patio, take advantage of it as much as possible before the cold season begins. Allow people to enjoy the breeze and an exciting activity at the same time by organizing different events.

Here are some restaurant event ideas for you to implement before summer is over:

  • Sports watching parties: from local teams playing each other to international sporting events, find out what people in the neighborhood are passionate about, and then stream it on a TV on the patio. Offer discounts on beer, wings, and nachos to get the party started.
  • Date nights: summer is all about celebrating love with that special someone. Make your restaurant the place to do that by organizing regular date nights on the terrace. Make the atmosphere romantic by decorating the place with candles, flowers, or balloons. You can even bring in a photo booth where people can take snapshots as memories of this wonderful night.
  • Wine/beer tasting: organize a wine or beer tasting (or both) outdoors depending on what your customers enjoy most. Feature local craft beers and wines to support other local businesses and show people you are a team player who loves to get involved in the community.
  • Family night with arts and crafts: if your restaurant caters to families with kids, it’s important to organize events for them too. One such example is an arts and crafts evening. Kids can use paint and decorations to express their creativity, and parents can supervise them while enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace.
  • Dance party: if your patio is large enough to allow people to dance, organize a dance party with a specific theme. It can be a romantic dancing evening for couples or a lively fiesta for singles. Whatever you schedule, don’t forget to promote it on your social media to build anticipation.

4. Partner up with local tourist attractions

One of the most creative restaurant food promotion ideas you can come up with is to make your food known throughout the neighborhood by contacting other local businesses such as hotels and museums.

People love visiting foreign cities in the summer. If your restaurant is located in a particularly touristy location, capitalize on that by turning yourself into the restaurant to see if you want to enjoy a traditional meal.

Get in touch with tourist attractions in your area and inquire about leaving some of your flyers at their location for visitors to see.

If they agree, create flyers featuring a mouth-watering photo of your food, your restaurant name and logo, location, the website where they can order, and most importantly, a discount or promotion to entice them to pick it up.

By signing up for the GloriaFood free online ordering system, you can create your own online ordering flyer using our easily customizable template. All you need to do is access your restaurant dashboard and go to Marketing tools -> Flyers -> Your flyers -> Add flyers -> Promote online ordering.

online ordering flyer for restaurants
Furthermore, go on TripAdvisor and other travel platforms in your area and search for food tours that are organized in the city you are located. Contact the organizers and sell your restaurant as a great place to add to their tour. Emphasize what makes your place unique.

You can convince them to give you a trial run by implementing some restaurant summer promotions only available for the organizer and the food tour participants. Think along the lines of a free drink, free appetizers or 10% for their big order.

5. Organize open-air concerts or movie nights

Live entertainment thrives in summer when people can enjoy a concert, stand-up show, or movie projection out in the open air. Contact local performers and strike up a mutually beneficial partnership that will get you both more visibility in the neighborhood.

From musicians to magicians, comedians, and others who entertain people for a living, turn your restaurant into a hub of culture and entertainment before the summer comes to an end.

If you can’t afford live entertainment, create a low-cost open-air cinema using the building or a large sheet as a screen and buying an affordable projector.

While people enjoy their concert or movie, serve your dishes and drinks at special prices or offer freebies such as free popcorn on the house on movie nights.

6. Melt down your prices with unique discounts

In the summer, even prices melt. This is your chance to develop creative restaurant promotions that will make you stand out from the competition.

Are you wondering what other summer specials for restaurants you can implement at your place? Start with great deals potential customers won’t be able to say no to.

Offer regular discounts, special offers, and freebies during August to close the summer in style. Give the initiative a catchy name like “Big Summer Blowout” and have a new offer available every day (or week).

Word will spread that you are offering discounts and other perks every day and people will grow excited to find out what the next day’s summer restaurant promotions will be.

Here are some summer promotions ideas you can implement:

  • Happy hour: 50% off all craft beers between 5 and 8 PM.
  • Get it before it melts: 25% off ice cream cones on the weekends.
  • Refreshing brunch: a free lemonade on the house during brunch hours.
  • Frappe date: bring a date, and you both get a frappe on the house if you order a main dish.
  • Summer party: parties of at least five people will get a 10% discount on their check if they order at least three bottles of wine.

Don’t forget about rewarding your ordering customers, too, with promotions on your online menu.

Free Promotions Module for Online Ordering Choose from 7 templates you can customize

7. Celebrate summer holidays

Suppose your restaurant is celebrating big holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. In that case, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t also celebrate minor food-related holidays such as National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day or National Lemonade Day (yes, these are both in August).

Give people even more reasons to celebrate by doing something special for these holidays and giving your current restaurant promotions a boost.

Related: 4th of July Restaurant Promotions & Ideas to Celebrate Independence Day

If you think it’s hard to keep track of all these holidays, I have good news for you. We’ve created a food holiday calendar for 2024 that features some of the essential food holidays in every month and some restaurant promo ideas for each.

Download our Food Holiday Calendar and Promotion Ideas for 2024 here. Feel free to print it and display it in the kitchen for monthly inspiration.

8. Do an end of summer giveaway

Giveaways are a no-brainer when looking for restaurant food promotion ideas. They draw attention to your restaurant and get people engaged without much effort on your part.

Are you looking for food business promotion ideas to increase your audience? Start by organizing a giveaway to end the summer season with prizes that people can enjoy in the months to come. For instance, you could offer a coupon code for three free pumpkin spice lattes in September. That way, you motivate people to come back and encourage customer loyalty.

If you want to stimulate engagement on your social media, consider a giveaway featuring user-generated content.

For example, you can ask people to post a photo of themselves enjoying their favorite drink at your restaurant and tag you. Then, with their permission, share the images on your profile.

9. Add sizzling offers to your takeaway menu

As I mentioned before, make sure your ordering customers don’t feel left out with all this talk of food and beverage promotions ideas by offering exclusive takeaway promotions.

Add these special offers at the top of your online menu so customers become aware of them when they open the menu.

Lacking inspiration on what restaurant food promotion ideas to offer to takeaway customers? Try these:

  • Complimentary cocktail to go: order food worth at least $30, and you get a free cocktail of your choice.
  • Summer salad: order a summer salad featuring delicious, fresh, local ingredients for 15% off.
  • Strawberry dessert: enjoy our strawberry cheesecake made with locally-grown strawberries for free with any meal worth at least $35.
Free Restaurant Menu for Online Ordering Restaurant promotions section included

Are you looking for an easy and fast way to add promotions to your restaurant menu? Than you are in luck, because our online ordering system helps you set up a variety of attractive promotions in just a few seconds.

Watch this video to learn how add restaurant summer promotions at the top of your menu where clients will immediately see them and feel tempted to take advantage of them:

10. Ramp up anticipation with limited-time offers

Finally, one of the most successful promotional ideas for restaurants, no matter the season, is to offer limited-time discounts. The end of summer gives you an excellent opportunity to do that by encouraging customers to enjoy these discounts before the season is over.

When you market your summer promotions, make sure to highlight the fact that they are limited. Instead of putting it off until tomorrow, you might persuade people to try them today just in case they’ll disappear.

Are you looking for even more restaurant food promotion ideas? Read our Unique Restaurant Promotion Ideas article.

Final Words

Creative summer marketing ideas can pull you out of anonymity and increase your profits. All you have to do is think outside of the box and come up with restaurant food promotion ideas your target audience would love. The suggestions above are an excellent starting point that you can build on according to your needs.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.