Think Outside the Restaurant: Outdoor Dining Tipsbianca
It’s patio season! Time to think outside your restaurant door and take full advantage of the warm seasons to draw in more customers and boost your revenue. Create the perfect outdoor setting for your guests to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while you provide delicious food and drinks.
Outdoor eating restaurants stand to gain a lot from having a patio or any other type of outdoor seating plan, according to VSAG, a restaurant and hospitality consulting company. By performing a business analysis on one of their clients, they concluded that choosing to add a patio to your restaurant can drive up your profits by up to 65%.
The COVID-19 pandemic surely took a toll on the food industry, but it also pushed restaurant owners to extend their outdoor eating spaces or create them if they didn’t previously exist.
Outdoor seating thus functioned year-round, not just in the spring and summer, with additional heating and safety measures implemented to keep everyone comfortable and safe.
Now that such restrictions are a thing of the past, it’s easy to simply go back to old practices. However, the truth is we can all stand to learn something from our pandemic struggles. When it comes to outdoor dining, that means getting creative will always pay off.
That being said, here are a few useful tips to keep in mind while you’re gearing up for summer outdoor dining:
1. Expand your definition of outdoor space
What qualifies as outdoor seating in 2022? Well, it depends on what space you have at your disposal. It can be a traditional patio, in front or at the back of your restaurant, café or bar. It can also be a rooftop, or a garden.
By pandemic standards, streets and sidewalks also make for great al fresco dining options, if you’re legally allowed to use those spaces.
2. Capitalize on outdoor dining foods
Summertime is the right time to showcase seasonal produce, meats, desserts, and colorful drinks. On hot summer days, guests will most likely be gravitating toward lighter foods – salads, sandwiches, grilled foods, cold desserts, etc.
The best way to anticipate that need is by creating a separate food & drinks menu for outdoor dining. The focus of this outdoor seating food menu should be on:
- Fresh salads. Make sure they’re packed with seasonal vegetables and fruits.
- Grilled foods. Take advantage of the seasonal bounty and consider grilling fresh vegetables and fruits alongside meats.
- Cold drinks and smoothies. Include a wide variety of heat-friendly options, adding plenty of ice and refreshing fruit flavors.
- Light and/or cold desserts. Same rules apply here: make your desserts lighter, and easier to digest on hot weather days. Opt for raw, fruit-forward sweets.
For all your fresh produce needs, get in touch with an experienced wholesaler like Riviera to provide high quality products at a moment’s notice and make sure you never run out of key ingredients for your outdoor dining menu.
3. Step up your décor
Your outdoor seating space does not usually exist on its own, instead it’s an extension of your interior dining space, and its décor should reflect that. Even though outdoor dining spaces are usually more casual, they should still be in line with the overall style of your venue.
Designing a restaurant patio means taking full advantage of outdoor elements (sunlight, greenery) and complementing them with the right furniture and decorations. Make sure to provide plenty of shade and sheltering options for your guests, so they can have a pleasant dining experience regardless of the weather.
Finally, outdoor dining spaces can serve more than one function. Apart from the main focus – al fresco dining – they can also be a place of entertainment. Think live music, open air cinema, special local events and more.
The last couple of years have taught many restaurant owners to maximize the potential of their venues through any means possible. Outdoor dining is now surely in a much better place thanks to all the lessons that were learned in pandemic times.
At the end of the day, outdoor seating is a great opportunity to breathe new life into your business and increase your profits during the warm seasons.