Is Your Restaurant Making the Most of Its Outdoor Seating?

By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate

Spring is already here and summer is just around the corner! These are the perfect seasons for customers to enjoy their favorite food and drinks al fresco, or outside in the open air! Some people want to get a little tan and others think a margarita just tastes better on a patio. Whatever the reason, this is the perfect time of year to update, renovate or add a patio to your restaurant, bar or grill!

If you already have a patio or outdoor seating area in your restaurant, there may be a few things you can do to really make the most of your unique setting.

Pet-friendly patio

When the weather is nice, restaurant-goers love to dine with their best friends! However, if their best friend is of the K9 type, it can be difficult to find an establishment that caters to both dogs and their humans. Up your restaurant’s appeal by making your outdoor patio area dog-friendly! Be sure to have clearly-marked signs at the patio entrance to let your customers know that their pets are welcome. You may also want to consider leaving out bowls of water for the dogs when the heat is extreme. Your patrons will be grateful and their dogs will appreciate it even more!

In addition, “dog-friendly restaurants near me” is a popular search term on Google. Boost your website’s SEO by having a paragraph about your restaurant’s pet appeal on your homepage! You just might see more website clicks and your customers will appreciate knowing this before they arrive.

Be sure to check with your local Health Department to ensure that your pet-friendly outdoor space will be in compliance will all local and state laws and regulations.

Food with a view!

If you’re one of the lucky few restaurant owners with a stunning view, be sure your patio or outdoor seating area is taking advantage of it! Whether that view is a snow-capped mountain, bright blue ocean or a city skyline, you’ll want to give your guests an eyeful. Arrange your tables in a way where most seats are facing the main attraction. Avoid placing your bars or large trees or potted plants in the way of the view.

In bad weather, use clear plastic enclosures to block out the weather, but not the view. You may also consider adding a plexiglass, waist-high fence as a more permanent safety solution if your business is on a rooftop or up on a mountain. The clear plastic or plexiglass will help keep your guests comfortable and safe while still allowing them to enjoy the view.

Guest comforts

One of the biggest deterrents for customers who want to dine al fresco is Mother Nature. Whether it’s raining, windy, extremely hot or bitterly cold, you want to make sure your patio is usable and relevant all year round to get the most bang for your buck.

Try adding plastic enclosures to a covered patio. This will help block out wind and rain, in addition to creating a cozy atmosphere when the weather is a bit chilly. When you’re building or upgrading your outdoor area, add in well-spaced ceiling fans for when your patrons might need a bit of a breeze. These can range from basic fans to ones that can mist out a spray of water, so it’s up to you to determine which will be the best fit for your needs, atmosphere and finances. If you don’t have the time install ceiling fans into your already-built patio, a few well-placed large floor fans can do the trick.

When the weather gets chilly, you have a few different options for keeping your customers comfortable. If you’re building your patio and outdoor seating area from scratch, consider adding a firepits near seating for large groups. What better place to enjoy a cocktail and some appetizers than around a crackling fire? Options include gas-powered and wood-burning pits, plus you may be able to find ones that have a cover for the pit so you can get even more use out of your space. A more cost-friendly, less permanent and quicker option for patio heating is heat lamps or towers that are propane-powered.

There are many different options for colors and styles, so you must determine which is the best choice for your space and budget. Also be sure to check that you are following city ordinances and obtaining the right permits for an outdoor fire pit, as some cities and states have regulations on what you can and cannot do.

Use plants to your advantage

Plants can also be a great way to spruce up your outdoor space and create boundaries and privacy, if need be.

Tall plants, like palm trees, can be a great way to give your customers the privacy they want from a busy street or sidewalk next to your outdoor patio. They can also add to the atmosphere and general decor of your space. Small shrubs and large potted plants and flowers are great for creating a defined boundary, especially if your patio or outdoor seating is next to a high-traffic area like a sidewalk or parking lot.

The main takeaways for a restaurant patio are to ensure your guests are comfortable and receiving the same level of service they would indoors. If you are planning on upgrading your patio area or doing something else to grow your business, Jet Capital is here for your small business working capital needs. If your small business is in need of funds, apply today or give us a call at 866-845-9674!

Resources:

  1. http://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/postdetails.cfm?post=126
  2. http://web.futurepos.com/making-the-most-of-your-restaurants-outdoor-dining-space/
  3. https://www.fastcasual.com/blogs/how-to-attract-guests-with-outdoor-seating/


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