If you’re interested in opening up your business and going outside—you’ve come to the right place.
There’s a lot of thought, consideration, and attention to detail to keep in mind when building a successful outdoor space. For example, you certainly don’t want to just place a few tables and chairs outside and consider your space complete—creating an outdoor dining area should be an experience. People want to eat outside to enjoy the atmosphere, whether they’re soaking in the daytime sun or enjoying the lights at night.
To create a dining space that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also comfortable and inviting, here are five critical steps to take that will make your outdoor dining area just that.
#1. Attract Customers with a Sign Advertising Your Outdoor Space
Because having an outdoor dining area can be a major selling point for potential customers, especially when the weather is nice, it’s smart to advertise this space with a simple sign. You can place a sign by your entrance, encouraging customers to ask for a table outside if they’dlike to dine in the fresh air.
In the actual outdoor seating area, you can place another sign to showcase any specials of theday, your drink menu, or anything else you’d like to draw attention to. This is perfect for drivingsales on certain items that you’d like patrons to try.
#2. Provide Protection from the Weather
One of the most important steps to take when building your outdoor dining area is to make sure you offer protection from all kinds of weather. If it’s in budget, a roof will shade patrons from the sun, preventing dreaded sunburns while customers enjoy their meals. Otherwise, you can opt to use tables that have umbrellas overhead. A roof or awnings will also come in handy on those rainy days.
When the weather gets cold, you’ll need a way to keep your staff and diners warm. Do this by adding a fireplace or strategically placing a few heaters throughout the dining area. This should keep everyone feeling toasty and comfortable. Otherwise, it’s hard to enjoy a meal if you’re freezing.
#3. Choose Comfortable—
But Stylish—Dining Furniture
The wrong dining furniture can completely ruin the vibe of your outdoor dining space, so this isn’t a decision that should be rushed. Plus, there are a few factors to consider in choosing the best furniture. First and foremost, you want to consider comfort to ensure your guests have a pleasant experience.
It’s also important that the furniture you choose is durable because it needs to withstand daily use, as well as the weather. And of course, it should be easy to clean. There’s a huge risk of spillage when people are enjoying food and drinks and you don’t want your brand-new furniture getting ruined. Also consider whether or not you’re going to be moving this furniture for security reasons at the end of a shift. If you’re going to be stacking chairs, they’ll need to be lightweight and easy for your staff to lift and carry. You certainly don’t want to risk any on-the-job injuries.
And finally, the tables and chairs you choose need to look good. Find something that fits the overall look and feel of your space. These days people are always sharing photos of their dining experiences on social media and a pretty location is going to get even more posts, likes, and shares.
As mentioned above, being outside in nature is great for reducing your stress levels. However, this is often hard to find when you’re in the city surrounded by buildings and sidewalks. To make your space more inviting, consider adding some greenery. An assortment of lush foliage not only looks great but can also be used to create privacy between public sidewalks and your dining area. Add planters with various plants and succulents, as well as small trees.
#5. Add Decorative Lighting for Ambiance
Since people will be enjoying your outdoor dining space in the evening hours, you’ll want to make sure you have ample lighting. People don’t want to dine in the dark! Luckily, you can get creative with your lighting options to create a space that’s attractive and welcoming.
Now That You Know the Steps for Outdoor Dining—What’s Next?
View the rest of our research, industry insights, and tips to really make your space shine.