Spring is right around the corner and it will bring warmer weather along with it. That means your customers will soon have an interest in sitting outside to share drinks and meals with family and friends. You need to take advantage of this customer interest by optimizing your outdoor dining area to accommodate as many diners as comfortably possible.
Having additional seating areas available will work to increase the number of tables your staff can serve each night. Additional table service lends itself to the generation of more revenue coming into your business on a daily basis. There are several different seating options you can create that will give guests the outdoor dining experience they crave. Here are some of the latest trends in outdoor seating.
Sidewalk seating is an inexpensive way to create a relaxing outdoor dining area for your guests to enjoy their meals. Add a few table and chair sets to your front sidewalk area as a way to create a cozy, yet functional outdoor space. Additional touches such as table umbrellas or quiet fans will work to create a unique outdoor space that will attract the attention of new guests and your regular clientele alike.
Create a memorable dining experience for all your guests throughout the day. At lunchtime, place baskets of fresh chips or fruit plates on the tables that compliment your daily lunch menu items. The casual setting will appeal to guests coming into the restaurant on their lunch break.
As night falls, change the scenery once again by replacing the table umbrellas with lanterns or candle lamps. Play soft music or hire a local band to provide the entertainment. Give guests the invitation to unwind from a busy day in your outdoor seating area.
Take to the sky by creating a rooftop dining area for your guests. As night falls, it will be the perfect place for your guests to enjoy the company of friends and family as they share food while overlooking the views below. Place soft lights along the rooftop edge and hire a band to play music as diners enjoy their meal.
Create a casual seating area near the band stage with outdoor patio furniture. It forms a central place for guests to gather as they wait for an available table. Add a mixture of traditional table and chair sets and picnic bench style seating to accommodate larger parties that gather in your rooftop dining area. You can also open this dining area up during your lunchtime service as a way to generate additional income as well.
The farm-to-table dining experience continues to be a popular trend in the restaurant industry. You can create this experience and cater to your guests interests to dine outdoors at the same time. Design an outdoor space that will serve as a dining area and as a vegetable garden. Make sure the area has grass and a nearby water source available so you can care for the vegetables as they grow.
Bring in the table and chair sets and a few additional items such as plants or tall lamps. These items will serve the purpose of outlining where your dining area ends and your vegetable garden begins. Plant seeds in the garden area to grow vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and other items that your kitchen staff regularly uses in their food creations.
You can still create a garden dining space with the absence of a grassy area to serve as a garden. In this case, build a wood deck that functions as the dining area seating. Add wooden boxes to the railings to create window boxes for your vegetable garden. Place information cards on the outside of the boxes to let guests know what vegetables are growing inside. It creates engagement opportunities as diners take an interest in the vegetables that will soon be on their plates.
Each of these dining areas offers inexpensive options that expand your restaurant serving capacity. An ample service capacity works towards boosting your sales revenue throughout the year. Incorporate additional elements such as a fire pit or reflection pond with floating candles to give your guests the outdoor dining experience they begin to crave halfway through the cold winter months.
Make sure your outdoor dining areas offer plenty of shade coverage for those guests looking to stay out of direct sunlight. Place palm trees or other tropical landscaping around the dining area to give the illusion of being on a Caribbean getaway in the middle of a busy work week.
Outdoor seating areas give you the opportunity to whisk your guests away from their demanding work deadlines and hectic family schedules. Diners enjoy a change of scenery with their meal and you maximize your profit potential by expanding your service area. It establishes a win-win situation with every meal.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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