Is Outdoor Restaurant Seating Worth the Investment?

Even if the original restaurant construction plan didn’t include a patio area for outdoor seating, you can always expand to include this kind of space if there’s any extra room around your building.

Are you hesitating before taking the plunge because you’re concerned about the possible return on investment for your project? Learning the hard facts about how the right patio can increase customer satisfaction and revenue for your restaurant could convince you to get started on your own outdoor dining area.

Increase in Revenue

First, consider the evidence that installing a deck, patio or similar outdoor area could potentially boost your restaurant’s total revenue by up to 30 percent, according to a study from the Simons Advisory Group. Could your restaurant use that kind of increased earnings for many years after an initial upfront investment? Unless you’re in the top 1 percent of dining establishments in the country, chances are that a big boost like that could make or break your business.

Placing the Area

You don’t necessarily need to buy your neighbor’s lot just to add a small patio, covered deck outside your business. Take advantage of sidewalks, alleys that aren’t shared or public, or back areas currently used for holding dumpsters.

With a thorough pressure cleaning, some appropriate decorations, and a little professional design and building, you can turn almost any empty area into a comfortable dining area for 10 to 25 people. If you need more space, taking out a single row of parking from your lot to build a patio could seat up to 50, depending on the length of the new outdoor seating area.

Installing an outdoor area could potentially boost your restaurant's total revenue by up to 30 percent.

Must-Have Features

Aside from bathroom access and flow for servers to navigate the area, consider features that elevate outdoor dining, such as:

  • Gardening beds and live plants to bring a lush feeling to the space
  • Real or simulated fire pits, especially if you want to use the deck as a bar area
  • Branded seating, signage or barriers to indicate which business owns the space, an essential feature for sidewalk seating and decks that are level with the rest of the area
  • Cover from direct sunlight, especially in the summer
  • Accessibility in the form of wide entry ways, ramps and standard height tables

Exciting Ideas

To make your patio provide a bigger boost to your restaurant’s visibility and bottom line, expand your ideas. Take advantage of a sturdy flat roof area by reinforcing it and adding a dining area with a breeze and a view.

Tuck a small stage into one corner of a covered porch and attract even more attention by hosting live music events. If you can tuck your outdoor seating area into a private alley or backyard behind the building, it’s the perfect place for renting out to private parties and events. Aim to pack as much value into your restaurant construction project as possible.

If you’re interested in designing an outdoor dining space for your restaurant, contact econstruct to get started.