While April showers bring May flowers, for many restaurants April is a transition month from winter to summer, a time to swap out menu items and connect with local farmers markets. April is also a good time to do some spring cleaning, as well as evaluate your social media plan. Finally, April is the time to advertise for Mother’s Day, arguably one of the busiest restaurant days of the year.
Update Your Restaurant Menu
Just as you put away your heavy wool sweaters in the springtime, April is the time to remove heavy winter fare from your restaurant menu. Say goodbye to stews and apple-bacon anything and hello to fresh greens and citrus flavors (just an example, if your beef stew or bacon-wrapped pork loin sells well all year long, then, by all means, keep them on your menu). Remember, whenever you update menu items, it’s important to review menu prices to make sure food costs are in check.
Depending on where you live, fresh spring produce like asparagus or rhubarb may be available from local farmers. Springtime is also a good time to partner with local farms or check out your farmers market to see what kind of ingredients are available now and in the coming weeks. Consider investing in an RSA (restaurant supported agriculture), which delivers fresh, local produce weekly during the harvest season.
Restaurant Spring Cleaning
If you don’t do it already, closing up shop for a few days to do some intense spring cleaning is a good idea. Even the best-maintained restaurants need a deep clean at least once a year. Hauling out the walk-in for a power wash, having the carpets steam cleaned, degreasing the hood, tossing stuff that you just don’t need—it's a good way to start off the busy summer season. It is also a good way to build camaraderie of staff, provided you feed them well and show them how much you appreciate all their hard work.
Evaluate Your Restaurant's Social Media Plan
Before the busy season of summertime, vacations, and tourists starts, take some time to review your current social media plan. What’s working? What’s not? Are there social networking sites, like Instagram or Twitter, that you haven’t tried yet? Social media is increasingly important for connecting with existing and new customers, especially the Millennial.
Get Ready for Mother’s Day
An estimated 80 million Americans will go out for brunch, lunch, or dinner on Mother’s Day, making it one of the busiest days (if not the busiest) for many restaurants, according to Nation's Restaurant News. In order to make the most of busy days like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, a restaurant needs to be organized. Book reservations carefully, avoiding overbooking. Create a prix fixe menu or limited menu to keep the kitchen out of the weeds, and make sure you have extra staff available.
For many restaurants, April is a transition month, a time to get ready for the busiest time of the year. It is a good time to do some housekeeping, for both your physical space as well as your menu. Springtime is also a good time to evaluate your restaurant social media plan and advertise for upcoming events like Mother’s Day.