Restaurant Outdoor Seating Benefits and Cons

 In Randy's Insider Tips, Restaurant Insight

Outdoor seating is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to the restaurant industry.  A lot of restaurants are utilizing this space to make the environment not only more appealing to their guests but to help with the overall bottom line of the restaurant.

There are some things to consider when it comes to outdoor seating at your restaurant.  Depending on the space you have to work, with it may double the original amount of space you had to serve people in.   This is a plus for many because the more space you have to accommodate guests, the more potential you have to increase revenue.

With this extra space comes staffing as well.  You as a restaurant must make sure that you have the people to meet this extra demand.  That sometimes means hiring extra servers, perhaps more kitchen staff or even adding a bar and bartender to the outside setting.  If you have the staffing to work the space, then the next thing to consider is the ambiance you are trying to create.

Outdoor dining spaces work well in places where the temperature is moderate most of the year.  Places like Hawaii, California and Arizona are the perfect types of environments for these outdoor spaces to thrive.  These places do get different types of weather that must be accounted for.  Owners must consider rain, excessive heat or even a drop in the temperature.  Tents or awnings can then be an option as well.  Having some type of tent or awning can be quite helpful when it comes to all the before mentioned elements.  The tent can protect diners from the rain.  You can enclose the tent during certain times of year and control the inside air of the tent.  Meaning you can place cooling systems of heaters inside to keep the temperature at the appropriate temperature.

Another option would be to put a fire pit or water feature in the area.  The fire place can be a heater on those cooler nights and time while the water feature may provide some type of cooling effect.  A tent can also protect our guests from critters who may come out wanting to explore.  The tent can help to keep critters like squirrels out and can prevent accidents from occurring with birds flying overhead.

As a restaurant owner you must be aware of any restrictions that your city may have in place for outdoor dining and seating.  If your space occupies a sidewalk or a common area than you may not be able to serve alcohol.  Once you start occupying that common space, special permits and requirements may be in place to continue to serve your full menu.  This may simply require a call to your county and city offices to see whether a special permit is required or perhaps your business license will encompass that space as well.

The truth of the matter is that people enjoy dining outside.  They like the environment for conversations and gathering.  If done correctly it can be quite good for the restaurant hosting the space.  Remember, the more tables and seats that you have the better the chance is that you will fill them.

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