Fresh air has been proven to trigger appetites. If your restaurant isn’t capitalizing on this fact, now’s the time to make the change before the busy summer season is in full swing. If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor dining area to your restaurant — or if your outdoor dining space could use an update — here are a few ways to make your space more attractive and inviting.
Your restaurant may look warm and inviting during the day time, but is it as attractive once the sun sets? Landscape lighting is a great way to light up both your dining spaces and the surrounding area. Not only does this create a pleasant and ambient dining experience, but it also makes your restaurant look more appealing to passersby who might be looking for a place to stop and grab a bite to eat.
If you have a rooftop dining space or several different areas of outdoor seating, such as a deck at the front of your restaurant and a patio in the back, a landscape lighting transformer will allow you to link these areas on one system. Instead of having to manage wires and monitor different timers throughout the day, you can control the lighting conveniently from your phone. Using the app, you can even change the color of the lighting at a moment’s notice — a great way to personalize private parties for your guests.
Create an Outdoor Specific Menu
Outdoor dining is unique as it is, but you can elevate the experience even further by creating a menu specific to your outdoor dining spaces. You might want to bridge the gap between casual dining and fine dining, or you might want to set up a menu that is quick to prepare to allow your guests to stick to a tight schedule. If you do have an outdoor-specific menu, be sure that this is communicated clearly to your patrons. This allows you to avoid upsetting guests when they find out their favorite dish isn’t on the outdoor menu.
Some outdoor dining spaces focus on providing a unique drink menu with specialty cocktails or wine pairings. This is a good way to provide regular customers with a different dining experience, as well as a way to separate your restaurant from the competition.
Plan For All Seasons and Weather
Eating outside isn’t just for summer anymore. Winter dining is increasing in popularity, and there is equipment available that doesn’t just make winter dining possible, but also enjoyable. Patio heaters can create a warm and cozy atmosphere to dine in where guests can shed their coats and enjoy a delicious meal. If you have storage space nearby, patio heaters can be tucked away in the offseason where they’re still easily accessible for chilly spring or fall days.
Hedges and fences can keep diners protected from the wind, and both your servers and guests will be grateful to not have to chase napkins or food baskets across the dining area. Umbrellas will block the sun, and if you have a covered outdoor dining area, installing overhead fans can help cool diners on warm summer days. By preparing for all seasons and weather, you can maximize your seating capacity and easily adjust to any changes.
If you have the space, outdoor seating is a wonderful way to offer your guests a unique dining experience. And best of all, serving up plates in plain view of passersby puts your restaurant’s dishes on display — a perfect way to draw hungry visitors to the table.