Knowing how to expand a restaurant patio to accommodate more guests means having the knowledge to position your restaurant to generate more revenue.
When COVID first started to spread throughout the world, many restaurants initially had three choices: offer takeout only, offer outdoor dining only, or shut down. As a result, the restaurants that wanted to offer dining services were then forced to build or expand their outdoor seating area.
After social distancing regulations loosened a bit and restaurants could open their interior dining rooms again, many diners still felt more comfortable eating outside. The effects of COVID living has changed the dining behavior of many people. This has created a new emphasis on patio seating for customers, forcing restaurants to pivot their model and accommodate these new preferences if they want to be successful
In this article, we are going to explain how you can expand your outdoor dining area and make it more comfortable for your guests, no matter what time of year it is.
Restaurant Outdoor Dining Ideas
These restaurant outdoor dining ideas will help take your patio to the next level.
- 1. Become one with your surroundings – Don’t be afraid to embrace your restaurant’s natural surroundings. For example, if your restaurant has some nice trees on the patio, consider adding an array of plants to your patio. If you don’t have anywhere to plant the trees – or you don’t want to worry about the maintenance – consider adding high-quality faux plants that look nearly identical to the real thing.
- 2. Select high-quality patio furniture – Furniture is one of the most important aspects of outdoor restaurant patio designs. Whether your outdoor dining area is going to be expanded onto the sidewalk, into your parking lot, or an actual patio, the furniture you choose should be comfortable, attractive, and functional. It should also be durable enough to withstand inclement weather.
You’ll want to shop for furniture that reflects your restaurant’s personality, but is also easy to store, UV and rust resistant, and easy to disinfect. Each table and chair will have to be wiped down after guests depart, so it’s important to shop for furniture with non-porous surfaces.
- 3. Make your patio comfortable year-round – Making your patio comfortable for guests all year-round is one of the best outside dining area ideas – and it has never been easier to execute. Having a year-round patio allows you to take advantage of outdoor seating 12 months out of the year instead of only a few weeks to a couple months. This means you can satisfy more customers’ desires to eat outdoors and benefit from more business.
Consider equipping your outdoor dining area with heat lamps, either electric or gas-powered. One lamp can supply a few tables warmth and comfort all year long. For the warmer months, consider installing misters, fans, and patio coverings. These will help shield your customers from the sun and keep them cool.
- 4. Get the lighting right – Ambient lighting is always a great alfresco dining idea. It’s recommended to light your patio similarly to how your dining room is lit. For example, if your dining room has dim, warm lighting and candles on each table, you might want to consider strictly using string lights, lanterns, and fireplaces for lighting.
- 5. Have a place to store furniture – Having a place to store your patio furniture is important, especially if you’re setting up an outdoor dining area in a parking lot or on the sidewalk. You’ll want to pull in your furniture at closing time so it doesn’t get lost, damaged or stolen. In addition, you’ll want to have a place to keep your furniture in the event of a big storm. This will keep your furniture safe from the wind, rain, or snow.
Expanding your outdoor dining area has never been easier – or more important. When you’re ready to offer more outdoor seating, choose the best patio furniture for your guest’s enjoyment.