With fall right around the corner, consider engaging ways to drive traffic through end of summer marketing and LTOs. Surveys report that close to 70% of consumers believe it’s important for restaurants to offer seasonal menu items. Here are a few ways to increase traffic while saying farewell to summer.

Single Ingredient Salute

Summer is known for some of the best produce of the entire year, from tomatoes to peppers to peaches. Choose one that’s particularly abundant, that your BOH loves to work with, and design an LTO menu around that ingredient.

It could be Peach Week, with daily specials on peach-centric apps, mains, desserts, and cocktails. Or maybe it’s all about creating spicy creations with fresh summer chilis to delight the pepper heads out there. Get creative and fun with the menu and branding around the event. Invite press and influencers and consider gamifying the experience so guests are encouraged to come in multiple times to try all of the available LTO specials.

Go Al Fresco

Take advantage of the warm weather and really maximize whatever outdoor dining space you have available. If it’s a larger patio, consider hosting live music or movie screenings. Get guests outside and having fun, while preparing food and drink specials that work well for outdoor dining, like chilled soups, frozen cocktails, and shareable snacks.

Ice Cream Socials

As the school year looms ahead, local PTAs, homeschool co-ops, and other academic groups may be looking for options for meet-and-greet style events. Let your audience know that you can host these types of events easily, taking all of the stress of planning off the shoulders of the organizer.

Create an ice cream social package that includes food, beverages, private space, and whatever other bells and whistles you want to provide, and then share this offering with your networks on social media, in your newsletter, in tabletop signage, and wherever else you communicate with guests.

So Long, Summer Specials

For many, Labor Day represents the unofficial end of summer, so Labor Day weekend is a good opportunity to say goodbye to some of your favorite summer menu items. Since Monday is a holiday, a special Sunday brunch could also be attractive to folks who are trying to hang on to the season for one last day.

Walk-In, Cleanout Specials

Don’t forget your takeout crowd. They’ll be looking for specials as well, and that’s a great opportunity to use up the lingering summer ingredients in your walk-in to create LTO summer specials. These can be freebies that guests get for ordering a certain dollar amount, or they can be heavily discounted limited-time items. Marketing around these specials should emphasize that they’re going to be gone for the year soon, so that guests feel a sense of urgency to order them.

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