Let’s move this conversation outdoors. Patios are in high demand year-round because customers want to enjoy their meals and companionship regardless of the weather.
This seating option saved both businesses and customers when towns relaxed their bans on eating outside during the epidemic. Diners flocked to the many new outdoor seating choices, such as patios, parklets, and sidewalk terraces.
According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 study, certain establishments were able to gain an edge over their rivals thanks to the addition of outside seating. About 40% of respondents to the survey claimed that an outside eating space would “make them more likely to choose [one] restaurant over another, similar one.”
In response to customer demand, numerous establishments are now maintaining year-round patio hours. As a result, several communities have now decided to relax their rules and welcome eateries to the great outdoors.
No matter the season, people will continue to eat outside. Here’s how to make it useful to your situation.
Seven Suggestions for Dining Al Fresco
Since you have the room, how can you design an outdoor eating area that will be in high demand? Here’s a guide to help you design your patio, since there are many factors to think about.
Check all necessary licenses and rules
A lot of towns relaxed their rules on eating outside during the epidemic, but now places like Los Angeles are tightening them up again. Obtain the necessary construction permissions and business licenses, as well as verify zoning constraints, capacity limits, health and safety laws, and opening-hour requirements, to avoid unnecessary red tape.
Step up your efforts to keep things tidy
While a breath of fresh air from the outdoors is always welcome, it also brings with it more than its fair share of dirt. All outdoor furniture, including tables, chairs, umbrella stands, and server stations, should be disinfected and stored out of the elements on a regular basis. Take care of your customers’ needs by purchasing everything they need from McDonald Paper & Restaurant Supplies. You can do this both online and offline, wholesale and retail.
Make sure there’s enough space between each table.
Cornell University conducted research that is often cited on how important diners find the space between tables to be. If the quarters are too confined, productivity suffers, whereas if they are too spread out, business suffers. The guideline for restaurant table spacing is between 24 and 30 inches, however, each establishment has to discover its own personality. Make a floor design that is convenient for visitors and keeps them feeling safe from any vehicular or foot traffic.
Give careful consideration to the lighting.
Light is of utmost importance. It’s the mood-setter. It draws attention to aesthetic details. In addition to being a practical need, lighting is a crucial element of outdoor eating safety. The visual value and durability of outdoor lighting is equally important. Looking to keep things basic? Cute and inexpensive options for outdoor lighting include battery-operated table lanterns and globe string lights.
Restaurants may become quite innovative with their outside sitting spaces now that the rules for doing so have been liberalized. While individual diners may have specific requirements, it’s important to make sure everyone who visits your establishment can do so comfortably. Provide dining tables that can be reached without stepping over a raised curb, and do the same if your sidewalk seating goes beyond the edge of the sidewalk.
Use mobile menus
Menus may easily blow away in the wind, and the last thing you want to do is have your wait staff chasing after them down the street. Customers may browse the menu on their smartphones thanks to QR codes, so why not take it to the next level? It allows customers to peruse the menu, make an order, and pay all via their mobile device, streamlining the ordering and payment procedure and making it much easier to serve many tables at once.
Spend money on reliable heating and cooling systems.
As reported by the National Restaurant Association, the minimum temperature diners will accept is 60.5 degrees Fahrenheit (15.8 degrees Celsius). Depending on the weather, it might be beneficial to purchase heat lamps and blankets or fans and umbrellas. This will not only prolong your outside dining season longer, but it will also make your visitors more comfortable.
Maintaining a suitable indoor/outdoor eating balance
The requirements of an outdoor restaurant will vary from those of an inside restaurant. Use the following advice to create a strategy for outdoor dining setup, serving, and cleaning.
Place sanitizers in convenient locations.
Make sure your outside staff washes their hands after bussing tables and before serving food and beverages, even if they have to go farther to reach a faucet. Safeguarding workers on the go, an outside hand sanitizing station is installed.
Preserve a Rapid Rotation of Employees
People eating outside may eat more slowly than they would normally. Outdoor diners should be checked on often by employees to guarantee a high turnover rate. Be careful to include the newfound tables into your administration structure. It is common practice to designate wait personnel exclusively to the inside or outside.
Mark outdoor sitting areas clearly
Since patios and other outdoor eating spaces are sometimes located in a different building from the rest of the restaurant, visitors may not even have to enter the main building to have a meal there. Signage posted in obvious locations may prevent this common problem by directing customers toward the host stand. You owe it to your servers to do so.
No matter where you are in the globe, the weather will always be a factor during any outdoor dinner. Diners are protected from the heat by shades and patio umbrellas, and from the rain by canopies and awnings. Be sure to do routine maintenance and secure the facility on days with high winds. You need to be prepared for whatever the winter weather may bring if you want to keep your outside eating area open. Install some heat lights and some transparent vinyl curtains if your patio has a roof but no walls.
Set up a menu
Unique outdoor dishes appeal to both first-timers and regulars. Think about the weather while planning what to serve for your outdoor gathering. Light and cold alternatives, such a burrata salad, ceviche, and refreshing beverages, are preferred on warmer days, while in the winter, you may want to serve comfort food to keep outside visitors warm. Seasonal drinks with fresh herbs in the spring and substantial roasted chicken in the autumn are always popular choices for outdoor dining.
Deck up your patio to wow guests
Customers enjoy terraces, patios, and backyards, which also serve as advertising space. Outdoor eating can transport customers to a Parisian café, Indian garden, or Italian piazza on a budget. Decorate with brilliant colors, engaging artwork, and a style that invites consumers to upload food images online. Visit our blog for more restaurant patio decorating ideas.
Show off your outdoor dining arrangements on social media and in the mail when your outdoor oasis is ready for guests. Update your webpage to highlight changes. Don’t forget to provide pickup and delivery, so guests may take your delicious food home.
The last outdoor dining idea
Pay attention to the calendar, not only for the weather. You’ll have several outside eating marketing possibilities as the seasons change. Take advantage of holidays, seasonal themes, and important athletic events with your patio. This may affect decorating, menu planning, and marketing. Promote your restaurant’s patio: this new eating space will keep people coming back if you highlight it.