Outdoor dining is a hit! Or at the very least, its what we got... With Deblasio and Cuomo keeping us in the dark with a NYC indoor dining date, restaurants are forced to make due. Hopefully with the summer ending local residents should be coming back home from their vacations and they're looking for places to go for some fresh air. There are many ways to improve your restaurant's outdoor seating whether it be a street parklet or backyard garden; you can probably attract more customers with some sprucing up.
1. Add Plants
Probably one of the easiest way to improve your space is with plants. After 3 months of being stuck inside, people are craving nature. Make your customer feel like they're in a garden oasis and I guarantee they will order more alcoholic beverages. What is it about plants that just makes you crave a drink (oh yeah, theyre literally all plant-based."
2. Get creative
Music and props won't feel like a gimmick, they'll add to the ambiance and experience. Give people a reason to come to your outdoor seating more than the food. Its a social media-driven world and people are on their phones more than ever. if you can get someone to post an Instagram story of your music/entertainment or a Facebook post with your quirky pool toy; that's FREE advertising WITH social proof to a local network. Give your customer a reason to post on social media and they will, and they'll drive an hour to do it.
3. Structures Matter
Your restaurant customers cant travel, so give them an escape. Dress up your parklet like summer in Tuscany or a weekend in Tokyo and they'll make it a weekly date night. An elegantly dressed parklet with a floors, plants and drapes can make a world of difference. A well thought out parklet screams professionalism and customers want places they can trust more than ever.
4. Use actual outdoor furniture
Besides the reason that it will actually last and not start falling apart, using actual restaurant patio furniture makes your patio look better. Bright colors and metal furniture is expected outdoors, nothing feels more out of place than sitting on furniture that clearly doesn't belong outside. Now it is a popular thing to just use the indoor furniture you had but remember it most likely will get damaged and where does that leave you when indoor dining opens. There are very inexpensive outdoor furniture options, make sure to check the outdoor furniture clearance sections
5. Safety first
Restaurant customers will not eat in your outdoor seating if they do not feel safe. We are still in a pandemic and making your customer feel safe & comfortable is necessary. With the limited space; Dividers or acrylic partitions can make the difference for a customer who want to sit down at your restaurant or not.
6. Lighting and shade doesn't have to be boring
There are cost-effective ways to spruce up your space. Cheap string lights and self made shade can look better than expensive items. A paint job from a local artist can add some flavor to your space. Outdoor furniture that actually matches your restaurant's cuisine will give your customer a perception the food is well thought out too.