Summer is here and boy oh boy is it a scorcher. While the rest of the world spends nine months yearning for the summer months, here in Dubai the summer tends to be the period where people are going out less, in favour of staying home in their air-conditioned apartments, waiting for the weather to cool down.
Attracting customers out into Dubai's summer heat requires a compelling offering, one that's tempting enough to brave the sweaty transit.
Here are eight ideas to bring business to your restaurant this summer:
Bring the Outdoors Indoors
While your customers are no longer able to withstand the sun outside, bringing the outdoors indoors can invigorate a restaurants vibe and attract customers that are missing the outdoor feeling while being forced indoors in the aircon.
Summer is a great time to give the inside a revamp, add some summer themed trimmings like tropical palm pictures or table settings and fill the room with low-maintenance and air purifying plants like Boston Ferns or English Ivy.
Cool Customers Down With Cold Beverages
Who can resist a cold beverage on a sweltering summer day? Tailor your marketing promotions to tempt the desires of the cities burning residents.
Consider introducing a drinks promotion. You could offer a happy hour, a free beverage with a particular meal purchase, design a new range of summer cocktails, or create a summer drink tasting event. Consider your offering and where there are opportunities to add a summer promotion.
Introduce a Summer Menu
When the weather outside is baking, people are typically less attracted to hot, warm and heavy foods. Putting light, fresh and tropical plates on the menu is an easy way to pique interest as residents eagerly search for ways to cool down.
People eat with their eyes, so the introduction of a new summer menu should be coupled with a campaign promoting the menu and showing off high-quality images of the dishes they can come and enjoy to cool down.
Create Your Own Summer Holidays
Try tempting customers out of their homes with fun, fake summer holidays. Think "Ice Cream Sunday", "Mohito Monday", or "National Frappe Day".
Consider your restaurants brand and think of something that would appeal to your audience and be relevant to your offering. Have fun with it and add in a social campaign to get a recurring event going.
Invest in Some Influence
Food social media influencers have a serious amount of clout in Dubai and may be just what the restaurant needs to draw a crowd in the summer months.
Consider the campaigns you want to run and bring an influencer on board to create extra hype to your new menu, or pretended summer holiday.
Reward Loyal Customers
When numbers are down, it is time to show your loyal customers that you appreciate their support, while encouraging them to continue to come back.
Try running a summer loyalty campaign offering deals on particular menu items, or a free drink or meal for every five visits in the next three months. Keep it in line with your brand and offering, and at a price point that you're able to sustain.
If you can't get your customers to come into the restaurants, why not make your meals available to them from the comfort of their own home?
With an online digital menu, you can have your new summer menu items accessible and orderable online from whatever device your customers search on. Connect with a delivery service, and you can secure orders without even having to wait tables.
Host Community Events
When the restaurant has some extra capacity, it's worthwhile engaging with local businesses to promote your venue for events, or even consider setting up your own.
There are always groups on the lookout for venues willing to host their events. Check out Meetup or similar online platforms to find groups that may be interested in securing a table. You can give them the space in exchange for them bringing in potential customers.
Getting customers through the doors in Dubai's summer months takes a little creativity and a whole lot of air conditioning, but the effort is well worth it. Keep themes in line with the cooling elements of a summery feel -- ice, cold drinks, tropical ingredients, fruity cocktails, etc. -- to tempt customers out of their homes, and make sure to invest a little extra in promotion, community engagement and loyal customers while bookings are light.