It’s summertime, and that means more and more food and drink establishments are taking their seating outdoors. Given the long winter, it seems fitting that everyone is desperate for a great meal or cocktails on a nice patio, but there’s more that goes into the arrangement than meets the eye. There are a few intangibles that come with providing outdoor seating, and many managers only see the obvious: seats outdoors are a feature to offer the customers. There’s more to it, and we’re going to get into the best ways to manage outdoor restaurant seating.
Something to consider when planning to move some seating outdoors is the crowdedness of it all. If tables are basically on top of each other, you may find some customers do not want to even think about eating out there. There are a lot of benefits to offering the option to get seated outdoors, but they are negated if you do not offer a comfortable place to eat or drink. Consider the square footage of the outdoor eating area, and see what the tables look like when you start spreading them out. You don’t need to leave miles of space in between, just enough that chairs aren’t running into one another.
The visual of a patio full of eaters does two things for your restaurant. On the positive side, many passersby may see that as a positive reflection of the restaurant. There are a ton of great things a restaurant can do to make themselves look like a hot spot for date night or even a quick lunch in between work. The goal is to make the place look like somewhere you have to go to. That can actually have an adverse effect as well. If a patio is super busy, that can actually make people think that it’s too crowded of a wait to get a table. In that case, the best way to combat the possibility of people seeing your patio as too full is so once again leave enough room to breathe on the patio.
Something that many assume will work out without any tweaking is the wait staff for the patio. A few dedicated servers for the patio may not be enough, especially during peak times. For that reason, it’s always encouraged not to view the patio as separate from the actual dining room.
If it sounds tough to manage the outdoor seating experience, reach out to us for hospitality consulting services. Avery Restaurant Consulting can make your patio the most exciting part of your restaurant, and boost your sales for good!