Offering outdoor dining is a great way to enhance the dining experience for your customers, add classy outdoor design elements, and more. Even though the transition to outdoor dining can be a logistical nightmare, there is no reason why it cannot be successful.
So if you are planning to offer outdoor dining in your restaurant, then don’t worry, we are here to help you & guide you. This article is all about how to prepare for outdoor dining.
So let’s get started!
How to Prepare for Outdoor Dining?
This guide will explain what you need to do to prepare your restaurant for the outdoor dining season:
1) Apply For Outdoor Dining Permits
If the outdoor space you intend to use is council-owned, you will need a pavement license. During the pandemic, the procedure has been streamlined and made more affordable.
To apply, you must specify when and where you would position your furnishings. In addition, you must ensure that you adhere to social distancing guidelines and that your patrons and seating do not annoy the general public.
2) Embrace The Outdoor Space
Take advantage of the city’s outdoor space to the fullest extent possible. In fact, moving the restaurant’s operations outdoors could open up new possibilities, such as collaborating with a neighboring establishment or making creative use of outdoor structures.
3) Prepare The Physical Space
It is possible that you will need to buy new outdoor dining furniture if you are starting up outdoor dining for the first time. However, metal patio furniture may be the best place for the coronavirus to thrive, so if you have the option, opt for plastic or wood instead.
Diners’ ease of use at the tables is another factor to think about when arranging the seating arrangement. Place the tables at least six feet apart to encourage a psychological distance between guests.
After that, you should think about roof protection. If you want to put up a tent on your patio, you should first find out if that’s allowed in your area.
Next, designate specific entry and exit points for your restaurant’s patio. Finally, make sure your guests know where to go by taping signs with social distance and directional arrows to the floor.
Finally, if you need to make a waiting area but don’t have a lot of room, you can use floor signs to divide the space up into 6-foot sections.
4) Add Outdoor Cooking Equipment
If space permits, consider adding outdoor cooking equipment to your patios, such as a smokehouse, stove, pizza oven, or grill. Cooking food outdoors allows guests to observe a portion of the chefs’ preparation process.
In highly-trafficked areas, the aroma of food sizzling on the grill is an excellent way to attract passing customers.
5) Adjust Your Food & Drink Menu
It’s a good idea to start small when adding more outdoor seating or reduce the menu size until you find your groove. Summertime dishes, such as salads and semifreddo desserts, are perfect for serving outdoors because they are both seasonal and easy to prepare with a small team.
6) Train Your Staff
You must ensure your employees are ready to go before opening. In addition, the staff needs to be ready to respond to any inquiries from customers. After all, patrons need reassurance that it’s okay to dine at your establishment.
Be sure they understand the one-way system, how to place orders more safely, and where masks are required.
7) Test Your Technology
Setting up technology indoors is much simpler than outside, especially if the outdoor space is expansive. Be sure that your Wi-Fi signal can reach where it needs to go and that any extension cords or other electrical connections can be safely run to where they are needed before you sit down to eat outdoors. Don’t leave expensive machinery out in the elements.
8) Establish a Pet Policy
As soon as you open your patio, you will undoubtedly be asked, “May I bring my dog?” There are pros and cons to having a patio that allows pets. Some guests could be allergic, and some dogs could be distracting or disruptive.
To keep everyone satisfied, you could highlight pet-friendly days/hours or designate pet- and pet-free zones if you permit pets. Regardless of your policy, pet-friendly patios are an effective marketing tool.
9) Communicate With Customers
You should let the public know when your patio is ready to reopen. Share it on social media, send emails, and update your Google+ page.
It’s important to let customers know you’re serious about providing a safe restaurant patio environment by announcing new rules and safety procedures alongside exciting offerings like a patio-specific menu.
10) Take Care of Non-Smokers
Most restaurants in the United States have banned smoking, but outdoor smoking is a different story. Only Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, and Washington have state laws that prohibit smoking on outdoor dining and bar patios.
If your jurisdiction allows smoking and you want to accept smokers, make sure the smoking and non-smoking areas are clearly separated.
Be sure to follow these steps & tips if you want to know how to prepare for outdoor dining. Outdoor dining is a fantastic opportunity for reviving stalwart businesses. It is also an great opportunity to launch an entirely new service dedicated to outdoor dining.
With the proper safety measures and technology in place, restaurant patio dining can be a lucrative business opportunity. So good luck with your business!