Eating out safely together as a family will be one of the first things people do as they seek the comfort and nostalgia of life before lockdown. Here's some tips on how to make these customers feel welcome
Make the most of the big events in May and June
National Vegetarian Week 10-16 May
With the number of people going vegetarian and veganism growing every year, most venues are already tapping into the broad new market. 12 million Brits say they’ll be meat-free by the end of 2021.
Teach them young
Schools are fuelling the trend for making vegetarian food fun and a week of events dedicated to showing customers or pupils that vegetarian food doesn’t have to be bland or boring is leading the charge. If you work in a school kitchen, you’ll know that educating the children means the message will be taken home too.
Beans, chickpeas, eggs and lentils are great sources of vegetarian protein and give a meal colour and texture. Make sure you mix up the menu – a cheese fest with a mozzarella salad starter followed by goats’ cheese tart isn’t going to cut it. Be inventive – try this jackfruit chilli, which is packed with tasty beans and roasted peppers.
Make the vegetarian section of your menu the star for the week with promotions to attract even the most staunch meat eater.
Give this a try too:
- Meatless Mondays
- Free samples
- Tempt customers with blind taste tests.
Coeliac Awareness Week 10-16 May
Just because 1% of the population has coeliac disease, it doesn’t mean feel-good food is off the menu. Increasing numbers of people are looking to find a good gut benefit, so why not make gluten-free gorgeous and fun with a ‘can you taste the difference?’ event?
- Try a twist on some of your existing popular dishes by making them coeliac friendly. Ask for feedback from customers and keep a few of the most popular dishes sprinkled in among your classic menu dishes.
- Try a small run of gluten-free drinks to show visitors this isn’t just a week-long commitment.
- Surprise customers with food that they wouldn’t normally associate with gluten-free diets, like fish and chips, pizza or pasta.
Find out more
A special activities hub with advice for pubs and restaurants will go live nearer the event at coeliac.org.uk
English Wine Week 19-27 June
The days when customers scoffed at a good drop of wine from these shores are history as growers are making the most of a change in climate to produce some cracking tipples. There are now an impressive 577 vineyards across the UK – most in south-east and south-west England – and wine production has come a very long way in the past 20 years.
This year’s event coincides with when Glastonbury Festival would have been, so why not mix music and merlot? Provide tasting notes along with advice on food pairing while also promoting the sustainability of the home-grown grape. Even if you have to mix takeaway with a virtual tasting, it will keep customers engaged with your business.
Celebrate in style
- Host staff wine tastings to broaden servers’ knowledge
- Sell the wine’s story
- Encourage customers to go premium and treat themselves with a home-grown bottle
- Provide tasting notes to demonstrate the provenance and regionality of the wine
Father's Day 20 June
There are only so many socks you can buy, so families celebrating the male role models in their life are increasingly turning to a meal out.
Father’s Day must happen whatever the restrictions, so think pop-ups in a local park, movie events, takeaways, dads eat free or even a special Dad’s cocktail.
Plan your menu and marketing and take bookings even if you usually don’t. It’ll be key to a successful day for your venue, and should include breakfast, brunch and dinner options. Reservations on the back of a pre-planned social campaign will help you gauge numbers and make your ordering process more streamlined.
Offer customers who had a takeaway from you on Mother’s Day or at Easter 10% off or a free round of drinks when they bring their receipt/order email with them on Father’s Day.
“22% is the average increase in restaurant revenue on Father’s Day, with steak, seafood and BBQ food the most ordered”
Spice up dad!
For those chilli-loving dads, make sure you’ve got a hot dish on the menu. Try these Louisiana Chipotle Hot Wings. Cut chicken wings in half, marinate in buttermilk and Bull’s Eye Louisiana Chipotle Hot Sauce for 3 hours. Coat the marinated wings in plain flour, then deep-fry at 180C until crispy and cooked through. Remove from the fryer, place in a bowl and toss with more hot sauce.