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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.


Whether the season is moving from summer to fall or winter to spring, you will want to maintain a seasonal menu in your restaurant or bar. Having a seasonal menu can give your business better means to reach your customers and take advantage of the seasonal prices available.

With that in mind, take a look at these ways a seasonal menu will benefit your business and keep customers satisfied.

making menu changesHaving a Seasonal Menu Creates Customer-Friendly Options

Does your bar serve a world-famous corned beef sandwich around St. Patrick’s Day? Do you get a rush of people requesting tall pints of Guinness beer? Then you can see the benefits of having a seasonal menu put together for your customers.

Most businesses become known for their food, drinks, or atmosphere. Creating a seasonal menu for your business will give you many opportunities to draw people back in for their seasonal favorites. You might consider:

  • Spiked eggnog in winter
  • Corned beef sandwiches in spring
  • Homemade alcoholic teas in summer
  • Pumpkin IPAs in fall

You can take your specific location into account during these times, offering people local seasonal favorites, or your business may become famous for importing seasonal foods and beverages from other areas.

Your goal should be to develop offerings that will help drive traffic or at least keep customers coming back. This can be especially effective if you combine the food and drink with promotions related to the season.


Focus on Low-Cost Products

A major reason that you will benefit from making a seasonal menu for your business is that you can take advantage of lower prices. Everyone that has ordered products throughout the year understands that you can get most products at any time. However, when some items are not in season, they tend to cost a fair amount more.

Think about some of the products that you use and serve in your bar or restaurant. Examples of seasonal items where the cost is higher out of season include:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Peaches
  • Strawberry
  • Pumpkin

That is not to mention the products that are only made during a certain time of the year or remain widely available and inexpensive during a certain time of the year. If your seasonal menu has elements that focus only on what is in season and has lower costs, then you could pocket the savings.

That is not to say you must eschew fruity drinks during the winter, but you should consider drumming up seasonal sales while those items are cheaper and more readily available.

You must be careful not to overburden yourself with useless items, too. Determine what you want to serve relative to your projected sales and make wise purchases. It may also help if you do some informal surveying of your customers to determine what flavors or products they want to experience at your business. 


why you should make menu changesBuilt In-Time to Refresh Your Menu

Many businesses fall into a rut at some point during their operation. Some items on their menu sell really well and others sell so infrequently that the bartender might not remember that it is even offered. When you have a seasonal menu, it is must easier to prune, add, and update your menus without upsetting your patrons.

You should find the products that you will have on the menu year-round and keep them as mainstays. However, you should also look at the menu to see which parts do not belong due to their low sales volume. At the end of every season, you can change out the menu and make suggestions for the next year based on your experiences this time around.

Seasonal menus are great because they do not lend themselves to stagnation, a problem that comes with many bars and restaurants. If you are not innovating and experimenting, then you are not making enough of an effort to retain your consumer base.

When it is time to bring out the new menu, it can be used as a signal that it’s time to look at sales projections, deals with suppliers, and much more.

By building the refreshing mindset into your sales plan, you can guarantee that you will not let another year pass without removing the chicken cutlet sandwich that never sells from your menu. Instead, you will examine what you’re selling and see what room for improvement there is to make, letting your business pivot and make changes that turn into sales.


Creating a Cocktail Menu that Sells


Give Your Employees a Time to Shine

Lastly, developing a seasonal menu will allow you to see what your employees can do. When you develop a seasonal menu, you will bring in many new products to make dishes or drinks. Using those items that you purchased, you can ask your bar manager and other experienced bartenders to come up with signature drinks.

Some people may be apprehensive about allowing their workers to experiment. However, people have shown, time and time again, that they can be incredibly creative when allowed to try new things. At the very worst, you have some wasted product. The potential upside is much higher where your bartenders create signature products that bring people back to your establishment.

Certain foods and drinks will bring people to an establishment on their own merits. Think about all the people that line up at McDonald’s for a McRib or a Shamrock shake. Your workers could develop products that generate buzz and increase sales only for your establishment. 


Seasonal menu changes have the power to make a large impact on your business as long as you are ready to put in the effort. You must take a close look at every seasonal menu to see which parts are both relevant and helping your business make sales and which ones no longer meet your needs.

Whether you are transitioning from one client base to another or striking out in search of good deals, taking the time to implement seasonal changes can be a massive benefit for your bar. Don’t forget to tie the menu to certain holidays and celebrations to pump up sales and make customers feel like you’re always with the times.

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