Make your place a summer destination
Every year Canadians rush to pack a year’s worth of warm-weather fun into the peak period from June through August. That means they’re heading to outdoor cafés, patios and BBQ restos in search of the perfect summer dining experience—an experience that savvy operators are ready to deliver.
These “staycationers” may be watching their budgets, but they are still looking for the flavour experiences they enjoy when they discover new foreign destinations.
Consumers are seeking out menu options that reflect Canada’s global influences. That multicultural vibe informs a growing hunger for hot, spicy and adventurous foods. In fact, 56% of consumers indicate that they enjoy very spicy foods, including sauces, dips and condiments. That’s a 6% jump since 2011.1
Clearly, today’s diners are looking for flavour innovation so adding in well-placed global accents may help drive repeat business and increase loyalty. With 66% of consumers reporting that they enjoy a fusion of flavours from more than one type of cuisine, it’s time to get creative.1
Creativity without taxing your back-of-house—that’s the sweet spot. Perhaps it’s as simple as spiking ranch dressing with harissa paste for a salad special. Or serving fries with a unique dipping sauce of mayonnaise laced with chipotle purée. A deft hand here can help entice flavour-seeking staycationers.
Here are five tips to help you make your summer patio season a hot success2:
Make your patio attractive by using rope lights or put lamplights on each table. You don’t have to spend a fortune to add character to your patio. And remember to keep the decorations in line with your restaurant’s menu.
Entice with the power of smell by setting up an outdoor barbecue (if you have the space). Those strolling past your restaurant will be lured in.
Use a rolling menu board so you can update it daily and remove the problem of menus blowing away or getting dirty.
Make it easy on your servers by setting up a bussing station on the patio so they don’t have far to go to service the guests outside.
Market to larger crowds and parties by setting up a special area on the patio for large groups (space permitting). You can even set up a special menu for this area with lots of sharing items and finger foods.
(e.g., savoury, fresh ingredients,
Forecast to be a huge trend in 2015, non-alcoholic mocktails will include handcrafted or small-batch sodas, hand-pressed juices and healthy teas. According to Technomic Canada Inc.’s 2014 Canadian Beverage Trend Report, the fastest-growing beverage flavours are coconut, vanilla, lime, cranberry and pineapple.
A substantial proportion of Canadian consumers are purchasing more lemonade today than they did in 2012.3 Country Time Lemonade Drink Mix gives your guests a refreshing drink that’s not too sweet and not too tart. It also helps you build out lemonade-based drinks without adding too many extra steps.
For most busy Canadians, a long lunch on a sunny patio
is an occasional luxury. Much of the time, they can only dream of patio dining while tied down to the office desk.
In fact, leisurely lunches anywhere are a rare treat these days. But worker bees still have to eat—entice them with delicious on-the-go options. The easiest way to add a to-go lunch business is through sandwiches. Canadians love their sandwiches—94% eat at least one per week.4
Quality counts even more with today’s savvy consumer so your offerings can stand out against a sea of quick-serve options.
Offering portable menu options is key, but so is building a sound business strategy to support efficiency here. Keep the menu choices limited and appoint one staff member to manage the flow. If possible, use online ordering and smartphone applications to limit wait times.
With their growing interest in global culinary influences, diners are looking for distinctive barbecue sauces. Start with a base such as Bull’s-Eye Barbecue Sauce and add on-trend flavours like sriracha, chipotle and maple.
Burgers continue to be the ultimate summer BBQ staple. Canadians love their burgers, with the overwhelming majority of consumers (89%) eating burgers once a
month or more. More than half of consumers (57%) say that build-your-own-burger concepts are appealing, and 55% say that the ability to customize burger toppings and condiments is important to them.5
Consider turning a simple burger into a winner by adding different toppings and cheeses, like provolone or Havarti.
When the temperature rises, many of your guests will turn to lighter fare like crisp, green salads—eaten as sides or with a protein added for
a light main course.
Perhaps the most significant value considerations for salad purchases are uniqueness and differentiation, according to Technomic Canada’s Left Side of the Menu: Canadian Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report. Consumers who purchase
salad away from home are looking for options they can’t easily prepare themselves.
In fact, about 30% of consumers say it is important that
the salad they order in restaurants be unique.6 By adding innovative twists to traditional favourites, you can give
them what they’re looking for. For instance, turn a Caesar salad into a summer signature with grilled shrimp, summer squash and eggplant.
Summer-Ize Your Dressings
Use this chart for creative ways to make season-specific dressings with Kraft Dressings and a few easy add-ins. Get more ideas to help turn your dressings