Fresh air, natural scenery, sunlight filtering through the champagne glass — who doesn’t love dining al fresco? Many enjoy outdoor dining and appreciate the option, no matter the season. For example, a study found that 44% of restaurant sales come from outdoor dining.
Chilly winter evenings or scorching summer days don’t have to keep restaurant-goers stuck inside. Your restaurant can open its patio doors year-round with a few simple changes.
Reasons to Offer a Year-Round Patio
Keeping your restaurant’s patio open year-round will bring joy to your customers and keep your business booming. Benefits include:
- Increasing seating capacity: Offering outdoor dining increases your seating capacity. By preparing your patio for each season, you can continue to offer more space and draw big crowds.
- Keeping customers longer: Shorter days don’t have to mean less time on the patio. A cozy outdoor dining area with ample lighting encourages customers to dine, drink and socialize until closing time.
- Attracting people: Creating an enticing outdoor patio is one way to give your restaurant curb appeal. Catch attention with whimsical lighting or colorful patio furniture. People will quickly imagine dining with friends in your restaurant, whether on a crisp winter day or a lazy summer afternoon.
- Boosting revenue: What happens if your restaurant attracts more people and keeps them drinking and eating for hours? You’ll see a satisfying revenue boost.
How to Extend Your Restaurant’s Outdoor Dining Season
The following tips will keep your restaurant’s patio open for business in every season:
1. Provide Coverage
Seasonal weather conditions, be it rain or sun, call for adequate coverage. Coverage will keep customers comfortable and create a relaxing, inviting atmosphere year-round.
For example, a shade structure can protect patrons and their food from falling leaves when dining outdoors in the fall. Coverage with a waterproof material can keep out rain and protect patio furniture from the elements. On hot days, a shade structure can protect the dining area from intense sunlight and help keep it cool.
You can also use shade structures to add visual appeal. For instance, colorful shade sails add eye-catching detail to an outdoor dining area. Consider choosing colors that match your restaurant’s logo for a cohesive look.
2. Add Cozy Furniture
Comfortable patio furniture creates a positive experience and keeps guests coming back. Your restaurant’s patrons will be much more likely to take their time and order dessert if they feel at home.
Choose weather-resistant and lightweight materials to keep your patio open and cozy in every season. It’s recommended to select furniture that’s easy to rearrange and wipe down.
Materials to consider include:
- Aluminum: Aluminum makes lightweight, durable patio furniture. Ensure shade structures are in place to protect aluminum furniture from sunlight and getting too hot.
- Plastic: Like aluminum, plastic is also lightweight and durable. You can easily clean and dry plastic after a windy, rainy day.
- Weather-resistant wood: Weather-resistant wood, like teak, provides a rustic, elegant feel to an outdoor dining space.
You can make any type of furniture pop with a bit of color. Add fall-inspired orange or gold pillows to chairs and celebrate the changing leaves. Or top tables with a light blue fabric to visually cool the area. Generally, choose warm colors in cooler seasons and cool colors when it’s hot.
3. Offer a Comfortable Temperature
Creating a comfortable temperature is vital in an outdoor dining area. Customers are more likely to stick around if they’re not too cold or hot. There are many ways to increase the comfort of your patio in every season. For example, in the winter, you can offer warmth in the following ways:
- Fire pit: A fire pit adds warmth and creates an inviting atmosphere. People will love dining around the fire pit with their friends.
- Patio heater: Many types of attractive portable patio heaters are available, from stunning glass tube heaters to sleek tabletop units.
- Blanket: Who wouldn’t love to wrap themselves in a soft blanket while dining at their favorite restaurant? Consider giving patrons a complimentary blanket during colder days. Add your logo to the blanket so that they never forget your restaurant.
- Hot beverage: When they arrive, you can greet guests by serving them a mug of hot chocolate or tea. They’ll appreciate the sweet gesture.
When temperatures rise, keep your patio cool with fans. Make sure refreshing drinks like ice water or lemonade are always on hand. Use a sturdy shade structure to keep the area out of the sun.
4. Deter Pests
Warm weather means more pests. You can help keep bugs out of your restaurant’s outdoor dining area in the following ways:
- Add the right plants: Plants can add beauty and privacy to a space, but they can also attract bees. To keep bees buzzing elsewhere, consider adding hanging ferns, vines, shrubs or grasses to your patio. Avoid bright-colored flowers that bees love.
- Use citronella candles: Citronella candles can help keep mosquitoes away from dining tables. Candles can also be a lovely centerpiece, while torches can set a beachy mood.
- Remove standing water: Mosquitoes adore standing water. If there are any sources of standing water on or near your patio, consider if you’re able to remove them. For example, avoid using a fountain or decorative pool on your patio.
- Keep trash receptacles covered: Keeping trash receptacles covered and immediately discarding garbage and leftover food will help keep ants and flies away. Empty trash receptacles before they become too full.
5. Set the Space Aglow
Outdoor lighting makes guests feel welcome and sets a festive mood. In the fall and winter, lighting can create a sense of warmth and coziness and keep the area well-lit on shorter days. On warm summer evenings, lighting can add romance and encourage patrons to stay a while, socializing or dancing to live music.
You have many lighting options to choose from for your outdoor dining space. Consider your restaurant’s style and the dining area’s size and layout. Choose lighting fixtures that will fit seamlessly into the space. Options include:
- String lights
- Fire pit
- Paper lanterns
- Wall fixtures
Contact USA Shade for Commercial Shade Structures
With a little preparation, your restaurant’s patio can be a comfortable, welcoming space year-round. At USA Shade, we can help you quickly prepare your outdoor dining area in time for a new season.
We offer durable and attractive commercial shade structures in various colors and designs. If you need a solution in a short timeframe, our quick ship shade structures are made to your specifications in four weeks. Request a quote today and prepare your restaurant’s patio for the upcoming season.