Successful restauranteurs know that food alone does not define a dining experience. Atmosphere adds a great deal, and since Americans have a long-standing love of dining al fresco, restaurants hoping to boost revenue should consider adding outdoor seating.
Adding outdoor seating to a restaurant can increase revenue in two ways: First, it produces additional seats, allowing the restaurant to serve more customers at once, but it also draws in a completely new type of customer – the type that prefers to enjoy their meals outdoors.
The Evidence Is In
Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group (VSAG) recently conducted a business analysis that demonstrated as much as a 65% return on investment (ROI) for their customer who was considering adding outdoor seating.
In another example, a restaurateur in Paradise Valley, Arizona said that adding outdoor seating was the best decision he’s ever made. “People come to enjoy the weather and the views,” he continued, “We actually have a harder time seating guests in our lovely dining rooms.”
How to Get the Most Out of Your Outdoor Seating
If you think that open-air dining is right for your restaurant, consider these ideas for boosting your restaurant’s revenue by incorporating outdoor seating:
- If your establishment is located in a scenic area, or near a local attraction, situate your patio so that if offers guests a great view. If your surroundings aren’t naturally awe-inspiring, create your own ambiance. Some ways to do this are incorporating a mural, offering live music, and planting beautiful landscaping.
- Create a happy hour or dining special just for al fresco customers. A frozen beverage promotion, for example, can help draw thirsty diners to your space on a warm summer day.
- Outdoor spaces give you an opportunity to create private parties that are removed from the on-goings within your restaurant. Use your new space to offer this service to customers and boost your restaurant’s revenue.
- Once you have your outdoor seating area the way you (and your customers like it), make sure to keep it updated, just as you would your indoor space. The National Restaurant Association recommends updating your patio or deck every five to seven years to keep up with design trends and customer expectations.
Contemporary diners have a multitude of options, so make your restaurant stand out by focusing not only on the quality of your food, but also on your patrons’ experiences. Outdoor seating may be just what you need to set your restaurant apart, attract new customers, and boost your restaurant’s revenue.