The summer season is now well and truly upon us, which means it’s time to dig out our sunglasses, shorts and sun cream to deal with the sharp rise in temperature. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also time for caterers to start planning for the warmer weather if they haven’t done so already.
After all, the sights, smells, and tastes of summer cause many diners to forego the kitchen. Instead, they seek out somewhere new to eat. However, when you’re jostling with competitors for the attention of these hungry customers, you need to make sure your establishment has everything it needs to stand out in the summer heat.
From creating a summery menu to providing effective outdoor seating, we’ve put together some quick beginner’s tips on how to prepare your catering business so that you can make the most of the summer season.
Create a Seasonal Menu
After liaising with your food distributors, you need to start crafting the perfect summer menu. During the warmer times of the year, diners have a preference for lighter, healthier bites which will help them cope with the intense heat, and caterers need to make sure their menus reflect the changing needs of their customers.
Instead of serving up dishes swimming in hot gravy, for example, caterers should provide diners with a choice of fresh summer salads like our prawn caesar salad, tasty wraps and other healthy options which can be eaten cold. However, these dishes also need to be packed with colour and exotic flavours, since this will help you to create a menu which truly captures the vibrancy of the summer season.
A great summer menu will serve up an explosion of new flavours, while some sort of tapas theme will always be hugely popular in the warmer weather. These smaller plates help diners to keep things light, although there’s also no denying that a barbecue-themed menu, which offers a choice of burgers and hot dogs, could also be a big hit in the summer.
Focus on Desserts
No summer menu will ever be complete without a great dessert section. After all, when temperatures are rising and the sun continues to blaze overhead, sometimes you just can’t beat a fresh bowl of ice cream. However, caterers need to make absolutely certain they’re offering desserts for diners of all tastes, which involves providing a suitable vegan option for those wanting to avoid dairy.
Fruit-based desserts are always particularly popular during the summer months, with strawberries, oranges and lemons perhaps the most commonly used in catering. Fresh tarts, creamy trifles or a stunning fruit gateau will always serve up a real slice of summer, but your choice of dessert menu will obviously depend on what your target audience will enjoy.
Offer Outdoor Seating
When searching for somewhere to eat on a hot and sunny day, one of the main things diners will look for is adequate outdoor seating. Although this certainly won’t be a viable option for many caterers across the country, if you have the opportunity to provide outdoor seating then you need to seize it with both hands. During the height of summer, your diners want nothing more than to soak up a little sun while they eat.
Of course, outdoor dining provides a few problems from a caterer’s point of view, such as having to deal with the potential issue of insects that can often be attracted by the food you have on offer. However, this is a minor problem that seasoned caterers will be able to easily handle.
Any problems are also far outweighed by the potential benefits of providing outdoor seating since such facilities could essentially persuade customers to choose your establishment over another.
More importantly, this additional seating means you’ll also be in a much better position to handle any increased footfall over the summer period, meaning you can maximise your profitability and really make the most of your seasonal menu. If you’re unable to seat diners outside, then you need to make sure that any indoor seating areas are properly ventilated and provide plenty of cool air.