Consumers are clamoring to dine out on patios, and restaurants can capitalize on their spaces to generate even more business. By implementing strategic measures, creating an inviting atmosphere, and optimizing operational efficiency, it’s possible to pump up patio profits.

Leverage Your Layout

Whether it’s a rooftop space, an attached patio, or just a small sidewalk section, organizing efficient use of space is key to maximizing capacity, while still ensuring comfort for guests and staff. According to research, the average revenue per seat for outdoor dining is up to 40% higher than for indoor dining. Improve your layout by:

  • Creating ample space between tables not only for servers but for guest privacy and comfort.
  • Adding attractive, unique features such as murals, bistro lighting, vibrant lounge furniture, and more to appeal to foot traffic and entice customers to linger longer.
  • Investing in space-saving furniture and flexible seating options to accommodate various group sizes.

Rev Up Reservations

According to surveys, nearly 80% of consumers preferred using online reservation systems to secure outdoor dining reservations. With support from Performance One Source partners like TablesReady and Yelp Waitlist, you can limit lines, boost customer satisfaction, and text guests when their table is ready. Promote the availability of patio seating reservations prominently on your website and social media channels, and offer incentives, such as priority seating or discounted apps for customers who book reservations in advance.

Pre-Batching for the Win

Some outdoor spaces are removed enough from the main building where it makes sense to have their own rooftop or tiki bars. In these smaller outdoor spaces, it’s important to be selective about what products you stock. Batched cocktails are trending, so consider pre-making a selective list of three to five unique, seasonal cocktails to not only speed up service and keep a smaller bar less cluttered, but also to draw people to your patio just for the exclusivity of the menu.

Patio-Perfect Plates

Tailor your menu to include patio-specific items or specials. Recent studies have found that more than 60% of consumers are more likely to choose a restaurant with a diverse outdoor dining menu. Feature refreshing summery cocktails or specialty drinks, serve shareables to encourage group dining, and entice guests to chill longer.

Having specials that pair perfectly with the season also gives you a chance to upsell, so train and encourage your team to upsell offerings when and where they can to increase check averages. And always highlight these specials and your inviting patio atmosphere on your social channels to drive more customers through the doors.

Seasoned Staff

The warm weather can bring out big groups, and it’s important to only have ample staff but also experienced employees that can handle outdoor crowds. Assign a team to attend to patio guests and have a manager specifically run that team to check on guests, assist servers, and ensure service is running smoothly. One report revealed that the average tip on patio orders is more than 20% higher compared to indoor orders, so by optimizing staffing levels and providing exceptional service, you can benefit your workforce as well.

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