“Outdoor seating” is one of the most popular categories on restaurant search websites and apps. Your food and service are already awesome, but what else can you do to stand out from your competition? Make an impression with an inviting, special dining experience! A comfortable patio will attract guests to visit, encourage them to stay longer, and ultimately spend more. Research by the Simons Advisory Group shows that adding a patio can boost a restaurant’s revenue by up to 30%! If done well, the benefits and attraction of outdoor seating can linger through the cold winter months even if you don’t have year-around outdoor dining.
Here are some tips and important elements that will help keep your customers’ attention and business.
Outdoor Seating Area Design: By ensuring the design of the outdoor and indoor dining areas are complementary, you provide your customers with a rich, harmonious dining experience. Having your logo printed on umbrellas, partitions, or even napkins will increase brand awareness and make the space feel unique.
Comfort: Provide sunshades, umbrellas, heaters, fans and insect control when needed.
Atmosphere: Place flowers, candles, centerpieces, ambiance lighting and music to set the right mood.
Service: Do not keep your customers waiting- make sure the kitchen and waitstaff can handle the extra demand.
Cleanliness: Always keep the eating space clean and fresh. This may need to be done more frequently than inside, but it makes a big difference in customer satisfaction.
Planters: Bring in fragrance and color with planters. They can be easily added as a part of your partition system.
Special Menus: Create limited-time or outdoor-only special dishes and drinks with unique presentations to provide an exclusive, get-away feeling.
Layout: Understanding your target customers’ preferences is important. Some people like an energetic, social atmosphere while others would prefer having some privacy. If families frequent your restaurant, make sure to leave space for strollers! Choose your patio furniture and partitions carefully to maximize your space and increase capacity.
Safety and Regulations: Be aware of your city’s outdoor seating requirements when choosing your patio products and make sure to follow them. For example, the acceptable distance between sidewalk obstructions (like light poles) and your partitions may vary from city to city. These guidelines aim to ensure safety both in and around outdoor seating areas.
Others: Did you know 44% of Americans own pets? A dog friendly outdoor seating area would provide a welcome opportunity for busy pet owners to spend time dining with their fur babies.
By keeping these elements in mind, restaurants would able to attract their desired customers from every group: business, friends, families, couples, and even dog owners! Don’t forget to create an account and hashtag for your business on social media so your customers can tag you when they share pictures. A comfortable, enjoyable patio can both attract new customers and keep current customers coming back again and again.