Restaurant owners want to maximize their investment by creating a great outdoor dining space for their customers. Why do diners want to sit outdoors? There’s just something about dining outdoors al fresco that is relaxing and enjoyable. How do you create an attractive outdoor restaurant patio so you can improve your customers’ dining experience? This blog article covers three steps to creating a great restaurant patio.
1. Choose a good location
Of course, you want to maximize your investment by adding an outdoor dining area to your restaurant. Before starting though, consider whether the space you own or lease is conducive to an outdoor dining space. Many restaurants will just add some restaurant tables and chairs to the sidewalk adjacent to the building and perhaps erect some type of gate or barrier around them. Creating an attractive outdoor dining space requires more consideration. Restaurant owners must consider whether the outdoor dining space is in a high traffic area. Customers won’t like to have their dining interrupted by constant foot traffic through the area. If a restaurant owner is considering using an adjacent sidewalk, it will be necessary to check with the local government, strip mall owner, or leasing company to find out if it’s even possible to set up outdoor dining on a sidewalk. Make sure the outdoor location you are considering is conducive to great outdoor dining.
2. Choose the right restaurant patio furniture
Restaurant owners who are considering buying restaurant chairs, tables and barstools for their outdoor patio must consider more than just whether the furniture is attractive. Restaurants should only consider furniture options that are appropriate for outdoor use and can handle the weather and elements they will be subjected to when placed on a patio or deck. All restaurant patio furniture should be able to withstand the elements and a plan should be in place on how to handle windy or stormy conditions. Restaurant patio chairs and barstools should be lightweight enough to be moved around a lot, as diners tend to rearrange the table and chair sets to accommodate larger or smaller groups. Lightweight furniture also makes it easier for the staff to move and stack it for storage.
It is also necessary for restaurant owners to consider the climate in their specific area of the country when purchasing outdoor restaurant tables. Is the patio in a very hot and sunny location? If so, granite or stainless steel restaurant tables may not be the best option as they cause glare and get hot if placed in a sunny location. If it’s consistently sunny on a restaurant patio, consider outdoor table options that can be matched to a patio umbrella to shade customers. If buying patio furniture for a location that is cooler in the evenings, a great option to consider would be outdoor sofa style seating with comfortable cushions. There are also granite table options with fire pit inserts, or propane heaters which can extend the outdoor dining season for patios in seasonal or cooler locations.
3. Choose suitable menu options
When creating an outdoor dining space, consider the restaurant menu. Is it appropriate to serve the full restaurant menu that is used for indoor diners? For restaurants with the appropriate amount of staff and the right dining style for outdoor dining, that may work fine. But some dining styles and foods may not be great for outdoor dining. One of the first considerations is the distance of the kitchen to the outdoor dining area. If the kitchen is a long way from the patio, it may be easier on the kitchen and the staff to have a limited menu for outdoor dining.
Also consider the style of food that is appropriate and easier to serve and eat outdoors. If the full service menu features dishes requiring lots of glassware, silverware, serving dishes and linen napkins, remember the restaurant staff will have to deliver all of that to the outdoor diners, and bring it all back in when customers are finished. Cold or hot sandwiches, appetizers and finger foods can be great choices for outdoor dining. They can be served easily in paper lined plastic food baskets or reusable plastic plates. Drinks that can be served in plastic glassware and disposable utensils can also be fantastic for outdoor diners depending upon the type of restaurant. Simple and casual goes a long way to creating successful outdoor patio dining.