Restaurant Articles

Summer Dining Trends

By July 26, 2016 No Comments

What Diners Want From Restaurants During the Summer

As the temperatures change from season to season, so do diners’ food preferences. Restaurant goers are looking for lighter foods, drink offerings to complement those foods, and innovative new ways of enjoying their food and beverages. From unique seafood dishes to trendy bar food, here’s what diners are looking for this summer.

Seafood is a favorite summertime restaurant offering

Seafood is well-loved by diners throughout the warm summer months, so you would be wise to include it on your menus if possible. Restauranteurs don’t have to stick to traditional seafood dishes, either. Adam Geringer-Dunn, the New York City-based chef and owner of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster is making the seafood trend work for his particular venue. The offering? A Lobster Corn Dog. His goal is to, “Try and elevate the corndog and make it something fun that people can enjoy again in a different way.”

Try taking Geringer-Dunn’s lead, and see if your restaurant can put it’s own twist on the summertime desire for more seafood dishes.

Let your drink offerings shine during the summer

For some diners summer is all about beer, wine, and cocktails. Revamp your beverage offerings to fit the season and watch sales rise. Microbrews are rising in popularity around the country, and wine-sipping patrons prefer lighter wines that pair well with summer salads and other light fare. Sauvignon blancs and roses are particularly popular.

According to Mike Nims, a bartender in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, “A very real cocktail movement has finally started to take hold in even the smaller corners of the country.” Get on board with the mixology trend by offering refreshing summer cocktails that feature fresh and unique ingredients, like in-season fruits, cucumbers, and basil. Nims has also seen a resurgence in the popularity of gin-based drinks.

Ice cream and frozen coffee drinks shine once summer hits

It’s not surprising that ice cream and other cold desserts sell well throughout summer. Zagat recently conducted a “Summer Food Survey” to assess the summertime preferences of diners throughout the country, and the results can help restaurant owners tailor their food offerings… and even their ice cream flavors.

The survey found that Americans’ favorite ice cream flavor is cookies ‘n cream, followed closely by vanilla and mint chocolate chip. And, patrons love cold coffee drinks. Frozen and blended coffee drinks topped the charts, followed by iced lattes and regular iced coffees. If you can offer these ice cream flavors and cold coffee drinks at your restaurant (and they fit into your overall theme), there’s a chance that they’ll sell quite well.

Lighter bar food is in for summer

If you thought that all “bar food” needed to be centered around heavy, greasy appetizers, then think again. Lighter bar fare does well throughout the summer, allowing diners to curb their appetites without devouring an entire basket of chicken wings.

One example of this trend is “fancy toast,” which is becoming more and more popular in places like New York City. Diners can find toast topped with tasty additions like smoked shrimp or ricotta. It’s a great alternative to an entire sandwich, and is also an excellent way to test out new recipes or experiment with fresh, new ingredients.