Understanding patio dining helps your clients maximize their seasonal spaces and keep guests happy. With a patio-specific menu, your clients can enjoy buzzing events without stressing out the kitchen staff.
Be Prepared for the Weather
The weather can damper outdoor dining, but it’s essential to have a backup plan when it happens. This could include offering a complimentary meal, a drink coupon, or even a free dessert to diners who can’t return to the restaurant for their original meal.
Patio furnishings should be durable enough to withstand the elements. Instead of moving tables and chairs around when the forecast looks bad, opt for a more permanent solution, like concrete and wrought iron seating that can withstand heavy rain without falling apart or needing to be moved.
Your patio menu should reflect your seasonal food trends, but it’s also helpful to run plate costing analyses to determine which items are more profitable. This helps prevent over-ordering popular, expensive dishes that may drag down profitability.
Trust the Hostess
Restaurants have been forced to take many precautions during the pandemic, including mandatory masks for staff and strict social distancing rules. Now that things are starting to return to normal, outdoor dining is once again an option for diners.
Patio seating is often staffed by hostesses trained to seat guests where they will get the most out of their experience. They’ll know which spots are sunny, shady, or in between and will try to place you where your meal will be served best.
While some diners may find this a little intrusive, most hostesses will have the customer’s best interests in mind. If you feel uncomfortable with how your server is seating people, talk to the hostess or manager immediately.
Be Mindful of the Patio Furniture
Restaurant patio dining is a unique Jack London Square activities experience that can offer relief from things that can be uninviting inside. Guests can breathe fresh air, tables are farther apart to avoid crowdedness, and the open-air environment alleviates noise reverberations that would otherwise be difficult to escape.
It can restrict flexibility if your patio furniture is heavy or permanently affixed to the ground. Look for stackable chairs and tables that are easy to move around for different purposes. Seating arrangements can be adjusted to accommodate small parties or special events like Valentine’s Day without removing permanent fixtures.
Adding garden trellises or planters with creeping plants is another way to promote privacy and create a cozy atmosphere on your restaurant patio. The proper lighting also makes a significant difference.
Don’t Leave Cash on the Table
Patio dining can be a great way to add an extra revenue stream for restaurants. Guests can enjoy live music or other entertainment in the outdoor area and eat inside if they prefer. This can diversify the customer base and provide a more intimate experience for diners.
Aside from being a fun activity with friends and family, it’s also good for your health. Outside can increase vitamin D levels, reduce stress, and elevate mood.
Even the best-laid plans might go awry when dining outside on the patio, but this should be advantageous for your customers.
Be Patient with Your Server
Restaurant patio dining is a great way to offer customers a relaxed environment with fresh air and more personal space. However, diners are often subject to the elements without the protection of a building or other enclosures. Some days the patio will bake in the sun, while others may be drenched from rain.
As you reopen your patio, encourage your staff to be patient with customers as they return to dining out. Make sure staff is vaccinated and following proper hygiene procedures for customer safety. In addition, post a menu for patio guests that promotes local produce.
Restaurants must also conduct plate costing for their patio menu items, prioritizing popular dishes while removing low-profit options. To improve hospitality while minimizing food costs, consider offering guests the option to order and pay using their mobile phones with apps.