Al Fresco Dining This Summer

May 9th, 2022
Sean Martillo

Patio Season is Here! Is Your Restaurant Ready?

It’s finally patio season and diners across the country are ready for the perfect al fresco experience. As the season warms up, there’s a few things to consider to make your diners patio experience much more memorable and turn them into repeat customers.

Why Setup a Patio Experience?

First and foremost, because diners want it! As the weather warms up from the cold chills of winter and the rain from spring subsides, diners want to spend some time outside. Besides incredible health effects, including staving off chronic illnesses, patios also help your business provide more seating. For especially busy restaurants, or restaurants that want to grow their business, patio seating helps alleviate having a packed indoor seating area and reduce seating waiting times with the flexibility of more seating. For restaurants that have the space, live music is a great attraction for an outdoor seating area. Even allowing pets during brunch or lunchtime hours is a great plus for dense urban areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic.

The Perfect Patio

Before opening a patio, here are some logistics you need to consider first. Permits are often required in most metropolitan areas and municipalities to allow outdoor seating. Check your local ordinances and submit the proper paperwork in order to open your patio. Consider too your staffing numbers, do you have enough staff to fill both indoor and outdoor seating? If staffing is tight, consider closing down parts of your indoor dining to allow more outdoor dining, especially if your patio grows popular quickly.

With the nitty gritty out of the way, let’s get your patio setup! Outdoor furniture is the best route for your seating options, grated tabletops, weatherproof chairs and umbrellas if you have an uncovered patio. We mentioned live music earlier, but if that is outside your budget, make sure some music is playing for your guests outside with speakers routed to the patio, or using Bluetooth speakers. During COVID, many restaurants adopted QR Code menus for guests to quickly have access to the food and drinks menu without sharing menus. For patios this is especially successful because customers don’t have to worry about menus flying away with the wind! An added benefit is being able to change or update the menu quickly without printing new menus every time. Pay-at-the-table solutions are becoming more and more popular, consider using mobile payment terminals, like the Pax A920, to allow customers to pay their bill at the table quickly. The added benefit being you can turnover tables much more quickly this way and get more diners seated!

Making the patio dining an experience requires a little effort but offers a tremendous payoff towards growing your business.