Many restaurants have created a fantastic indoor ambiance, yet some consumers would always rather dine outdoors, given the option. Especially when the weather begins to brighten up from May, dinners will still want the opportunity to eat while enjoying the warmth of the sun. As a restaurant owner, you want your outdoor space to create an inviting atmosphere. It shouldn’t be just a collection of outdoor furniture. You may have already spruced up the area, but you can take it to the next level.
Apart from redoing your patio lighting, getting weather-resistant, rustic furniture, and allowing outdoor dinners to place orders from mobile devices, consider doing the following.
- Stay Compliant
As you dream of how you’ll transform your outdoor space, you should make sure you’re not straying beyond the boundaries set by your state or the federal government. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing has become one of the new norms we have been forced to adopt. Outdoor sitting arrangements have to reflect social distancing. To this effect, the CDC has laid down regulations dictating a minimum distance between tables. Dinners are also required to wear masks.
In addition to this, states will usually have legislation regarding designated smoking areas, accommodation of pets, and the number of sitting spaces that can be set up. It will be beneficial to find out what these laws are before you begin planning the sitting arrangements. Note that due to the Coronavirus threat, some states have relaxed outdoor dining restrictions to help restaurants cope with social distancing requirements.
- QR Code Menus
You may have scanned a QR code when shopping online, but did you know you can use the same technology to offer your customers digital menus? Handing your customers printed menus is expensive and bad for the environment, but it is also an avenue through which the deadly Coronavirus can be transmitted. With a QR code menu, your customers will scan a code from a given source to upload the menu to their smartphones. Most phones today are equipped to do this.
When the QR code menus are available using cloud-based point of sale software, the possibilities are limitless. Your customers don’t have to wait to get to the restaurant to look through your menu. They can scan the code from an email or your website and immediately be able to place an order. The beauty with dinners being able to access the menu digitally from anywhere is that they will be likely to talk about your restaurant to their family members or work colleagues. And you can use the uploaded menu to display promotional content.
Updating your menu will also be much easier and faster than if you had to reprint the menu after making changes.
- Create the right space
Offering outdoor dining is not merely a question of throwing out a couple of chairs, tables, and parasols. Just like you did with the interior, you should seek to create an unforgettable dining experience outdoors. This will require some strategizing to decide on the right place to do the setup to begin with. You will also need to select colors, furniture, and lighting that best bring out the mood you want to bring out. Consider if you will need to shade the space, and if so, which will be the most appropriate kind of shade.
- Streamlined Menu
In addition to making your menu more accessible, you should aim to make its contents exciting to the diner. As you try to entice new consumers into your outdoor space, you will want to focus on house favorites and add other items as time goes by. Some restaurant owners decided to create a new menu for outdoor dinners. And this is important even from a practical standpoint; it can be risky to transport some drinks or meals over long distances.
A Goldmine Outdoors
If you plan well and execute your plan meticulously, outdoor sitting could become the golden goose of your restaurant. First, find out what the state authorities will allow you to do with the space you have. Next, scrap that old paper menu for a dynamic digital one that can be updated on the fly. And which your customers can access from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. The only thing remaining will be to streamline your menu and give all your customers service they will never forget.