Business Insights

Get Ready for Outdoor Dining Season

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Now is the time to plan your patio for summer fun. By following these suggestions, restaurants can prepare their patios for summer dining and provide customers with a comfortable, enjoyable outdoor dining experience. 


  1. Clean and repair: Before opening the patio for summer dining, it is essential to clean and repair the area. Sweep, mop and power wash the patio area and remove any dirt, debris or dead foliage. Check for any broken chairs or tables and fix them.
  2. Pick the right tunes: Brand appropriate music is a must. It’s nice for the atmosphere and can potentially soften traffic noises if the patio is close to a street or parking lot. Make sure speakers are weatherproof and installed away from direct sunlight.
  3. Add shade: It's essential to provide shade to customers while dining on the patio during the summer months. You can use umbrellas or install retractable awnings. Another option is to add pergolas or trellises with climbing vines or plants that provide natural shade.
  4. Upgrade the seating: Ensure comfortable seating options for customers with patio furniture that's made for outdoor use, including cushions that are easy to clean and can withstand sun exposure. Upgrade to high-quality, durable chairs and tables that can withstand various weather conditions. Be thoughtful about color – as dark colors get hot in the sun.
  5. Consider an added POS Terminal that is closer to the outside tables, or invest in handhelds. This will get orders in to the queue faster and can result in better service, and shorter turns.
  6. Add lighting: To create a cozy atmosphere in the evenings, add some patio lights such as string lights or lanterns. This will enhance the ambiance and allow customers to enjoy their meals comfortably during the evenings.
  7. Enhance the ambiance: To create a more inviting atmosphere, add some greenery and plants to the patio. Hanging baskets, potted plants or flower beds can enhance the look and feel of the patio area.
  8. Be mindful: Have a plan for rain outs and make sure the staff knows what to do if the weather turns nasty to protect the customers, furniture and equipment. Make sure your staff also has a system in place to keep furniture and equipment safe from theft during the night, if everything cannot be moved indoors.
"Have allergen and scent free sunscreen available for customers and staff for great, added customer experience."Jeff Piven, Shamrock Foods Restaurant Resources Manager

Cool Down During the Heat Wave

Restaurants often need to find ways to cool down patios during hot weather to ensure a comfortable dining experience for their guests. Here are some common methods for cooling down patios:

  • Umbrellas: Umbrellas or awnings can be used to provide shade on a patio, reducing the temperature and protecting guests from the sun's rays.
  • Fans: Ceiling fans, pedestal fans, or misting fans can be used to create a cool breeze and help circulate air on a patio.
  • Water misters: Water misters can be installed on a patio to spray a fine mist of water, which helps to cool down the air and create a refreshing atmosphere. The pumps and filters can be tricky to work with, so the DIY kits online aren’t always the best option. Find a local supplier/installer for the best, warrantied, result
  • Coolers and ice chests: Coolers or ice chests filled with ice can be placed on a patio to provide cold drinks or even cool air.
  • Portable air conditioners: Portable air conditioners can be used to cool down enclosed or semi-enclosed patios, providing a comfortable temperature for diners.
  • Greenery: Plants and trees can be used to provide natural shade and cool down a patio.

It's essential to review local regulations concerning outdoor dining areas, including permit requirements, seating capacity, noise levels, and hours of operation. Ensure you comply with these regulations to avoid penalties or closure. Event permits or extension of premise permits can take time, if you plan on capitalizing on the summer holidays, be sure to plan for them well in advance.

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