Summer is Time to Heat Up Restaurant Marketing

Ah summertime. Longer days, hotter temperatures, pools, beaches and vacation season. And rising temperatures lead to rising consumer spending. Researchers call this the “temperature-premium effect,” meaning that warmer temperatures make people feel emotionally warm and better about spending money.

The restaurant industry is no stranger to busier summer months, as 48 percent of people say they dine out more in the summer than any other season. Whether it is a group of friends hitting up patio happy hours or families dining out on a road trip, the fact is that people are filling up restaurants and searching for the perfect dining experience.

These days, customers are using their mobile phones to look for places to eat, searching for “restaurants near me.” And when they search, you want to make sure they find your restaurant (and not your competition). 

Here are three key ways restaurants can make sure they are found by people looking for the perfect summer dining experience.

Search and Maps

A whopping 77 percent of Americans own smartphones, and research shows that mobile usage rises faster in the summer than any other time of the year. So, it’s likely that when people want to find the nearest restaurant or the town’s best sushi or pizza place, they are pulling out their phones and searching on Google.

What this means for restaurants is that you need to make sure you are at the top of the listings so potential customers find you. Using a mix of Google paid search, making sure your map listing is claimed and optimized, and enhancing your website to increase your Google organic search ranking will all help your restaurant show up when people are searching for “places to eat near me.”

Social Media

When people go to social media to post pictures of their latest beach vacation or day at the pool, they are also stopping to browse. That’s why people spend more time on social media in the summer than other time of the year.

For restaurants, social media offers the opportunity to share compelling visual content by showcasing your food and atmosphere. If your restaurant doesn’t already have active social media accounts, make sure you’re launching pages on the sites where your audience is most likely to be. Facebook is of course the largest network worldwide, with almost two thirds of Americans active on this platform. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn are other popular networks.

Once you determine which social media platforms are best for your business, get the most out of your profile by enhancing your profile, leveraging visual content, encouraging customer reviews, and including clear calls to action.

Creative Content

Summer is all about a fun, laid back lifestyle, so it’s the perfect opportunity for restaurants to incorporate creative personality into digital content and make emotional connections with customers.

Think about how you can take advantage of popular summer topics in your digital content. Got a fun new fruity, cool drink on your menu? Show it off! Have you added a few specials from the grill? Post some pictures! Nothing says “yum” like a beautiful picture of a savory summer meal you can almost smell. From photos and videos to witty captions and hashtags, there are many opportunities to capitalize on the feel-good vibes of summer and invite customers to make lasting memories at your restaurant.

The good news for restaurants is that warmer temperatures and happy summer feelings continue to stick around well after vacations end and the kids are back in school. Help consumers hold on to those happy feelings a little longer by continuing this feel-good push. There’s still an opportunity to capitalize on longer days, increased spending, and the desire to visit restaurants with family and friends well into the fall months.

Vivial’s free summer marketing ebook has more strategies and tips for restaurants to make the most of summertime marketing. To learn more, visit