Summer time means excellent weather and customers that want to enjoy a meal and a cool drink on the patio of their favorite restaurant. Generally, restaurants see sales rise quickly during the warmer months, up to 30% – but is your restaurant’s patio space ready to provide an inviting atmosphere all summer long? If not, here are some tips that can help make your restaurant a go-to for those customers that love fresh air and a tasty treat.
1. Add a Seasonal Menu
The best restaurateurs know that food is more than just a necessity or nutrition. It’s an experience. Your restaurant menu should match the experience you want your customers to have.
Your customers definitely don’t want to eat heavy, warm foods all year round. When the weather warms up they just don’t hit the spot. Adding a seasonal menu filled with lighter, cooler options lets you showcase your restaurant’s range of styles. You can even highlight seasonal produce that customers see around the area at farm stands and local markets.
Each year in the mountains of Oregon, marionberries and its cousins grow wildly all over the region. As the berries ripen, restaurants and shops share their most popular marionberry recipes with locals and tourists. Eco-friendly meals and treats made with local produce entice customers to pay more – it’s the local experience they crave.
2. Consider More than just Tables and Chairs
The main function of your patio is seating, but consider how comfortable your customers will be. A full plate, teetering on the edge of a table because there isn’t enough space or a tender tushy from a hard iron chair could be what turns a delightful lunch into a speed eating contest – a rush to get to somewhere more comfortable.
Restaurant Development + Design says the aesthetic of your patio should be a continuation of your indoor space, but a bit more casual. Add plenty of greenery and flowers to liven and lighten up the space. Coordinate umbrellas, cushions, and table covers with your interior color scheme. If you’re open into the later evening, provide plenty of lighting and heating for those chillier nights.
3. Connect Your POS to Your Patio
Waiters and restaurant staff should always know exactly what’s happening in your outdoor dining areas. Be sure that your point-of-sale system includes your patio seating and server areas are assigned accordingly.
Patio customers are just as important as those indoors, leaving them waiting in the warm air without their drinks is a risk to your future reviews. If the drink station is too far from the patio add a small portable station in a shaded area. Quick service, means happy customers.
A restaurant patio is a bonus, and should be treated like a fine commodity. A well thought out design and service set up can lead to significant summer revenue. Don’t let your patio fall by the wayside. Ask Action Card how our checklist and audit system can help you create processes that have your restaurant patio ready and sets your customer experience above the crowd.