Is your pub ready for summer?

A few sunny days in early May and the Great British Public think it’s summer! As well as dusting off the BBQ and stocking up on factor 30, they’re also looking forward to a long summer spent in pub gardens around the country.

Are you ready? With the Spring Bank Holiday signifying the start of the summer season, pub landlords have only a few days left to get their pubs in order and welcome the summer trade. Here are our 8 top tips for cashing in while the sun shines!

1. Front Of Pub

Go outside and have a long look at the front of your pub. Does it reflect the service and experience your customers will get when they walk through your door? Put yourself in a new customer’s shoes, would you go in?

For summer trade think about what you have to offer and how you sell it. If you have a pub garden are you letting passers-by know? A new summer menu or promotional offers on summer drinks are a great way to encourage new and old customers through the door, but only if you tell them!

2. Clean Your Garden

If you haven’t yet tidied up the pub garden, be quick about it! As well as mowing lawns, weeding flowerbeds and clearing away any debris winter left behind, you should also take stock of your furniture and seating areas. Could benches, tables and chairs do with replacing? Are your umbrellas and gazebos looking smart? Is decking and other outdoor flooring in a good state of repair?

3. Summer Planting

Hanging baskets, containers and pots can instantly transform the front and back of your pub, making all the difference between a customer walking in or walking by. If you don’t have green fingers you may find a keen local gardener who does and would love to help you put on a great display. Alternatively, providers such as PHS Greenleaf can install and maintain hanging baskets for you, ensuring your outside spaces are blooming all through the summer.

4. Drinks Range

Customers will often change their drinking habits over the summer months looking for long, cool refreshing drinks and seasonal ales. Pimms is quintessentially part of the British summer so offering jugs of Pimms or products like the Pimm’s Cider Cup are a great way to put customers in a holiday mood. Make sure you let customers know what seasonal drinks you have by making up promotional material using our online design toolbox GoCreate.

5. Outside Food

Service times are longer for outside food and therefore you won’t do as many covers as inside. One way to manage this is to create a bespoke outside food menu; one that features food that’s quick to prepare and serve, delivers attractive margins and also taps into what customers want from al fresco dining.

6. Team Skills

Not only will your staff need to learn how to effectively serve food outside, negotiating sleeping dogs, small children and other features of the pub garden, they will also need their sales heads on. Outside dining customers are less likely to come inside to re-order so your staff will need to anticipate their needs and proactively upsell drinks or desserts before they prepare to leave.

7. Tell People About It

Just as you need to promote your summer offering at the front of your pub, you should also be telling everyone about it on social media. Take some pictures of your pub garden, new menu, and delicious looking drinks and share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Have a look at the events coming up over the summer that you could promote alongside the pub. For example Father’s Day is a great opportunity to do a roaring trade in family lunches, perhaps throw in a free pint for Dad for anyone who spots your Facebook update!

8. Weather Plan

While we all hope for a long, sunny summer we all know that the British weather doesn’t always deliver what we hope for. Therefore a contingency plan is essential if you want to make the most of the summer season. For showery weather you’ll need canopies, parasols or umbrellas to provide shelter, as well as shade on really hot days. Patio heaters are also a great idea for cooler evenings, extending the use of your outdoor spaces throughout the summer and into the autumn months.

The summer months are a great time to start the search for a new pub business, giving you the perfect opportunity to see how popular pubs are in your chosen area, and what summer promotions go down well.