Building a Smart Restaurant: Outdoor Space

Restaurant patios, if they are done well, can be great revenue generators for a restaurant. Diners feel less confined, more relaxed and comfortable when eating in a space with a view. Also, passing diners are drawn to restaurants with content patrons happily dining outdoors. A recent study by the Simons Advisory Group found that a $200,000 investment into a patio could increase sales by $500,000. This figure could go higher if the restaurant is located in areas with moderate weather.

Want to cash-in on this opportunity? In this installment of “Building a Smart Restaurant,” we’re taking a look at the patio. Here are our tips.

Choose the Right Location

Some cities allow restaurants to place seating on the sidewalks. This can work well, but restaurateurs need to consider the diner’s perspective if the street is particularly busy. In high traffic areas, the customer’s dining experience will be diminished by constant traffic and passersby. The latest restaurant trend is to “go up” by creating a rooftop dining experience. Another option is to create a dining space in the garden where produce used in the restaurant’s dishes is grown.

Select Appropriate Patio Furniture

Attractive patio furniture is an extension of a restaurant’s brand, so owners should consider whether pieces are appropriate for use in the elements and light. Diners often reconfigure tables and chairs for impromptu gatherings of friends. Also, materials such as steel can become hot outdoors during the summertime and produce a glare. These are both things you need to consider when selecting your furniture.

A recent study by the Simons Advisory Group found that a $200,000 investment into a patio could increase a restaurant's sales by $500,000.

If the patio area doesn’t have an awning, table umbrellas will increase customer comfort. Umbrellas are also an opportunity for owners to extend their restaurant branding. Outdoor sofas can further extend patio seating. To extend seasonal patio use, outdoor heaters and fire pits are attractive options. In hot environments, misting systems keep diners cool and comfortable.

Staffing

Staffing a patio needs to be a significant consideration. Will staff be dedicated to the patio or will they be required to serve customers both indoors and out? This can stretch the staff’s ability to effectively serve customers in a timely manner and lead to missed opportunities. It also makes their job more difficult if the kitchen is distant and the patio tables require a lot of linen, silverware and glassware. Moving these items outdoors and clearing them after a meal’s completion takes time and legwork.

Owners should consider streamlining the patio menu to include only items that are appropriate for an outdoor environment. Also, using baskets for some items and disposable utensils will increase the efficiency of the operation.

Amenities

Provide amenities that will make the outdoor dining experience more enjoyable for customers. This could include both fire and water elements, such as fire pits, candles, lanterns and fountains. These create a distinct atmosphere that is pleasant and relaxing.

The team at econstruct, Inc., led by Frank Neimroozi, has more than 30 years of experience in restaurant construction. You can count on us to build restaurants and patios that function at the highest optimal levels. The experience and passion our team brings to each project allow us to create restaurants that are efficient, beautiful and keep customers coming back. Schedule your consultation with us today to get started on  your restaurant.

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