As society starts to recover and rebuild from the past year, it’s time to welcome customers back to your restaurant. We’ve all struggled to keep moving through fear, hardship, societal changes, and the threat of illness. Many people who spent the past year at home have been looking forward to returning to normal life. Learn how to set up outdoor dining spaces that welcome new and returning diners back to your restaurant. We’ll explore how to bring in more customers with outdoor spaces, setting up or refreshing an outdoor dining area, and the long-term positive effects of outdoor restaurant seating.
Getting An Improved Amount Of Customers With Outdoor Spaces
When a restaurant features an outdoor eating space, it is more likely to attract customers. Outdoor dining areas are one of the most attractive qualities your restaurant can offer today’s customers. At this particular moment, people feel the urge to go out and celebrate. Society is ready to come together again after a year of lockdowns and diminished options.
Outdoor seating areas offer a cheery, party-like atmosphere at any restaurant. Your diners can enjoy the sights and sounds of your neighbourhood while also taking part in your menu. Customers feel they’ve rejoined the world when eating on a porch, patio, or picnic table. Meals and drinks seem particularly festive. This enjoyable atmosphere also helps attract people off the street, as they want to be part of the moment.
Eating outdoors also acknowledges the recent public health concerns. For many people, it’s been more than a year since they experienced a packed restaurant or pub. Some of your customers may want to ease back to indoor gatherings. Outdoor dining allows diners to enjoy your services in the familiar comfort of the open air.
How To Set Up A New Outdoor Dining Area
First, identify where you can add outdoor seating. Suppose your restaurant already boasts a patio, features a back garden, or sits on a broad avenue. In that case, it should be easy to convert these spaces into additional seating. If not, you’ll need to get creative. Consider your car park, alley access, or staff-only areas to see if any of these uses can be shuffled around.
You can also bring your plans to the larger community. Perhaps one of your neighbouring businesses would be willing to allow a few tables on their portion of the sidewalk. Your local council may be open to a pop-up restaurant at a local park or other shared space. Consider meeting with other restaurant and pub owners to brainstorm as a group.
Once you have a location determined, ensure the logistics are promising. There must be a clear service path to and from the kitchen and bar. Get your staff’s input on what equipment may be needed outside. For example, you may want to invest in another drink station or cash register. Confirm that your plans meet all local requirements before putting them into action.
Finally, set up your seating spaces. Learning how to set up outdoor dining spaces needn’t be expensive. Wooden picnic tables and metal cafe sets are cost-efficient ways to welcome more diners.
How To Improve Your Outdoor Dining Options
If your restaurant already offers outdoor dining, this is an excellent time to improve the experience. Many pubs and restaurants pivoted during lockdown to offer outdoor seating when indoor dining was banned. Think back to the comments you heard from customers during those times. If any complaints come to mind, these issues should be addressed. For example, if the afternoon sun is blinding on your sidewalk tables, considering adding umbrellas or a shade awning.
Once you’ve handled any immediate comfort or food safety concerns, consider the overall ambience and experience your outdoor seating offers. You may be ready to upgrade temporary trestle-style tables to something more permanent. Any space is made more enjoyable with plants and decorations. You can also invest in outdoor art or lounge chairs to encourage diners to settle in and relax.
Long-Term Benefits Of Outdoor Dining Spaces
Outdoor dining spaces have the potential to attract new diners for years to come. Families with young children are especially drawn to outdoor dining. Children are charmed by the experience of eating outdoors, and parents can relax when the young ones are having a good time.
Outdoor dining also adds a new venue within your establishment. You can offer the pleasant experience of eating outside whenever the weather is appropriate. Combined with the benefits of adding more tables to the house, outdoor seating is an investment you’ll enjoy for years to come.