A great American composer and songwriter once penned the lyric “Summertime/and the livin’ is easy” Cole Porter’s timeless classic from Porgy n’ Bess embodies the true American spirit of summer. When the weather gets hot and sunny, thoughts turn to vacation, relaxation and favorite summer foods. Part of enjoying the summer months for many families is ordering out to keep the house cool by not cooking a meal or preparing simple dishes that do not require heating or cooking.
Ordering online from a favorite restaurant is a summer delight busy families consider an attractive option. So, having a menu of summer-friendly favorites uploaded and ready to go is critical to making your summer season successful. Here are some helpful guidelines for selecting the ideal foods for your summer online ordering menu.
Keep it Fresh and Fun
Working with your chef and kitchen staff, focus on offerings that include plenty of fresh ingredients and do not require extensive cooking or are served chilled. Summer salads, picnic salads, cold meats and sandwiches and fruit desserts are all popular for summer dining. Your chef and line cooks can source and prep ingredients that fit the cuisine your establishment typically serves. They will also be able to provide you with helpful suggestions about how to keep takeout and delivery orders fresh until they are served.
Hot Entrees Need Cold Sides
If you intend to offer hot dishes on your summer menu, offer sides that can be served chilled or cold. Keeping everything hot or reheating food once the customer gets it home often defeats the purpose of summer takeout. If the entree is hot off the grill or fresh out of the barbecue pit, balance out the heat with something cool. If your customers intend to dine outdoors, serving up all hot dishes is likely to make everyone at the table uncomfortably warm after eating. Focus on low-carbohydrate, low-fat sides that will prevent your customers from feeling over-full and too warm in the summer heat.
Simple is Best
Stick to entrees and sides that have minimal ingredients. Not only do they take less time to prepare, but they also tend to be more popular with customers in the summer. Simple entrees and simple sides that are easily served cold or at room temperature are great choices. People want to keep their summer relaxing, fun and uncomplicated. Your online ordering menu should help them achieve this goal.
Put Your Own Twist on Traditional Summer Foods
Regardless of the type of cuisine you typically serve, you can put your own personal spin on American summer favorites. Racks of ribs with an Asian-style glaze, delicious Italian antipasto, cheese and charcuterie boards and smoked pork or beef with Central or South American seasoning are all popular in regions across the United States. Side dishes like potato salad, cole slaw, ambrosia and other seasonal favorites can easily be adapted to specific flavor profiles and styles of cuisine. Get experimental and try creating a few original recipes. You may end up creating a new favorite that keeps your customers coming back for more.
Meal Kits are Always a Big Hit
Pre-prepped meal kits are a great way for families to take care of dinner and spend time bonding in the kitchen, too. Design some pre-measured and portioned meal kits your customers can throw on the grill or make together at home. Not only does it offer an innovative way to get takeout or delivery, but it also allows you to help your customers create memories that will last a lifetime.
Test Your Menu With a Preview Night
Host a preview night for your summer menu and offer free samples in exchange for completed feedback cards. The information you get back will help you find out if your menu is a hit and can also provide valuable feedback that can help you update your online ordering site or mobile app. Customers can try your menu before coming in for a meal and you can get the lowdown on what the public thinks about your specials. The feedback from your preview night will help you make changes or additions before the food is available to the masses.
Bottom Line: Make Summer Dining Fun And Easy
Make your customers’ lives easy, and they will keep coming back and ordering out more and more often. Simple summer fare with a unique twist fills a niche in the takeout/delivery market that few restaurants master and you have an opportunity to be that local restaurant for your customers. Help your customers live their dream life in the summer and you will see excellent results from your summer menu program. If you need help getting your online ordering system or mobile app in shape for summer, contact Orders2me today. We can help you.