During spring, summer, and the beginning of autumn, pleasant weather brings people outside. As a restaurant, you could be drawing customers in or chasing them away purely based on how your restaurant looks from the outside, whether you have outside dining or not, and how good (or bad) that outdoor dining space is. Outdoor dining areas are incredibly popular, especially with the presence of COVID. Outdoor spaces allow restaurants to seat more people, while still providing them with a comfortable dining experience that doesn’t feel overcrowded.
People are attracted to restaurants that have good food and good ambience, so it is important that every inch of your restaurant looks good and that you don’t treat your patio area as an overflow for when there are too many people inside. Here are 4 ways to upgrade your restaurant’s outdoor space.
If it is your intention to serve more people in the evenings, you will want to ensure that your restaurant’s patio has sufficient and appealing lighting. Make sure that the space is well lit and that it is evenly lit from corner to corner. Soft ambient lighting creates a relaxing environment that attracts guests. No one likes harsh lighting, but the lighting needs to be enough that your guests are still able to take photos if they want to. A lovely outdoor night addition is string lights and even lamp posts. Adequate lighting encourages guests to stay longer and come again.
2. Accommodate for the Weather
Weather isn’t always ideal for outdoor seating. You can enhance your outdoor setting and keep your patio usable by accommodating different types of weather by adding an awning to block the rain, umbrellas to shade guests from the hot sun, and outdoor heaters for when it’s cold. Having strategies in place for sudden weather changes is important. Create an inclement weather plan for your staff to follow so that they know exactly what to do when there is a sudden change and are able to help people outdoors quickly and calmly.
If you are lucky and get several months of good weather in your area, take advantage of it. People enjoy being outside in the summer.
3. Digital Menu Boards
More and more restaurants are switching to digital menu boards because of public health concerns and because they can see the promotional benefits of this technology. Digital menu boards allow you as a restaurant owner to add animated images and videos of your food. This can be anything from a sizzling steak, a steaming bowl of pasta, or a melting ice cream scoop over a piece of warm pie. It does not need to be done in a tacky way. Simply make the menus blend in with the rest of the décor and choose appropriate imagery to compliment your brand. People eat with their eyes first, which is why it is a good tactic to feed a customer’s hunger with a few appetizing images first. It also makes it easier for your customers to choose something when they know what it looks like. You could use the board to show your special of the day and to boost sales of a specific item.
A good placement of these boards in the line of sight of clients. Don’t put them somewhere obscure. Digital menu boards have even been shown to decrease the perceived customers’ wait time by 35%, which means happier customers and a higher chance of repeat visitors.
4. Choose Appropriate Seating
An outdoor area, whether it be a deck, patio, or a portion of the sidewalk, gives you a greater seating area without requiring large amounts of money. When you are able to comfortably accommodate more customers, especially during busier times of day, you can boost your revenue while still maintaining their comfort. With loyal customers
For your outdoor seating area to be desirable, you’ll need to choose outdoor furniture that can withstand the weather – and do so without forgoing customer comfort. Wooden picnic tables and bar stools are often not comfortable and have become a thing of the past. You must invest in seating that will improve your outdoor space. These days, if you want to attract customers and keep them coming back, you need to give them a picturesque space. Putting a few comfy and aesthetically attractive cushions on those metal chairs allows you to balance luxury with practicality. Comfortable seating adds to how appealing your outdoor area looks and encourages more guests to sit outside. This frees up the inside dining for guests who truly only enjoy sitting inside.
There are endless possibilities for the aesthetics of your outdoor eating space and are only limited by your budget and your imagination. Consider what else can be done to maximize the look and feel of your outdoor dining space so that it better attracts new customers and gives your restaurant that much-needed charm that keeps visitors coming back.