Seafood and the waterfront have always gone hand-in-hand, which means waterfront seafood restaurants have been around for a long while. If you own a waterfront seafood restaurant that has been in operation for years, it may be time to modernize and freshen things up a bit. Here are some ways to do that.
Make the decor more casual.
Going out for seafood used to be seen as a special, occasional activity. As such, many waterfront seafood restaurants were decorated classically with candles, formal art, and more upscale decor. But as people have begun to eat out more often, restaurants, in general, have become more casual. Most newer waterfront seafood restaurants are not nearly as fancy. In fact, having your restaurant be too classy or fancy may turn people off as they may worry they're under-dressed. As you modernize, try to make your space more casual. Choose more beachy wall art, lighter colors, and brighter lights.
Add fresher dishes to the menu.
Does your menu contain a lot of more hearty dishes, such as clam chowder and gumbo? These dishes have their place, but they may seem too heavy to a lot of beach-goers who want to feel energetic throughout the day. As you modernize, make sure you include more fresh, refreshing dishes on your menu. Fish tacos, seafood salads, and light stir-fries are all good choices. You can keep a couple of hearty or creamy dishes on the menu, especially for dinner, but they should not be the focus.
Introduce signature cocktails.
Signature cocktails have become quite popular for beachfront restaurants, and they can certainly draw a lot of attention to your waterfront seafood restaurant too. If you currently serve a lot of wine and beer, try having your bartenders develop a few light, beachy cocktails to feature too. People don't always know what to pair with fish and seafood, so make some pairing suggestions on the menu. For instance, after each cocktail description, you can list two or three dishes that it would go well with. You could also offer a special cocktail and dish pairing each weekend as a way of encouraging guests to try new things.
Waterfront seafood restaurants are still popular, but they have taken on different vibes in the past few years. If yours is feeling a little outdated, it's not too late to make changes. Take the tips above into consideration as you do so.
Visit a local waterfront seafood restaurant for more ideas.