The climate is changing… and we don’t just mean the weather. As COVID cases decline and more people get vaccinated, states are lifting dining and bar restrictions. Yet while more customers may head out for drinks or a meal, they’re still cautious after over a year of COVID anxiety. They’re also more comfortable and used to outdoor dining and delivery. So what does this mean for your summer business strategy?
Cocktails to Go
Time for tiny umbrella drinks! Whether you manage a bar, restaurant or another type of entertainment venue, summer is all about summer cocktails. Even more so, now that many states are considering passing laws that would make to-go alcoholic beverages permanently available. In California, legislators are also considering a new kind of liquor license that would allow entertainment venues to serve alcohol without having to cook food in a full kitchen.
Some meals simply don’t travel or reheat well. Plus, summer is the season of outdoor cookouts. So why not put two and two together and create cookout meal kits complete with take-home ingredients and recipes? Some innovative restaurateurs have already made this a strategy and boosted sales. Wisconsin’s Manila Resto offers sushi-to-go kits as well as an online video to help customers prep the meal. Owner Marlo Ambas says that prior to the pandemic delivery was about 10% of his business. Now, it’s “more like 60%”.
In winter, many restaurants and bars invested in pop-up dining pods to maintain sales. Chicago restaurant Fiammé outfitted prefab greenhouses with doors, wall hangings, twinkling lights and space heaters for a cozy yet luxurious outdoor vibe. In summer these same pods can be air-conditioned. Last season, England’s The Barn Restaurant, served outdoor diners in elegant, air-conditioned domes. Based on their pod-dining profits, many restaurants plan to continue the trend and expand their dining capacity ‘year round.
Themed outdoor dining areas have helped many bars and restaurants survive the pandemic. Yet as COVID cases decline, these themes may be key to helping your restaurant or bar business stand out in the summer crowd—and thrive. In California, Baja Cantina increased outdoor seating by transforming their parking lot into a tented beach. They even poured sand over the asphalt, installed umbrellas and added a portable bar. When asked about their beachside oasis, bar manager Ramar Green said “Customers really love it. It’s different and has caused a lot of buzz.”
Secret Summer Ingredient: Portable Bar
Last but not least, the secret ingredient to a successful summer is a portable bar. Our Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Fold & Roll Bar is perfect for the season. High-quality stainless steel makes it durable enough for the outdoors plus easy to clean. The versatile work surface is designed to support up to 2 bartenders—ideal for summer crowds. Interchangeable acrylic, textured vinyl, laminate and stainless steel panels let you design a look that fits your venue’s style. You can also brand them with vinyl printing for special events or themes. Call us today at 877-709-7636 to customize your new bar. It’s time to toast summer!