9 Tips For Your Restaurant Patio Design
Adding a restaurant patio to your establishment is almost always a smart move. Patios expand your dining space and therefore increases your potential revenue. It also attracts patrons seeking out al fresco dining options that might otherwise not choose to visit your restaurant.
But designing a proper patio can be a major undertaking, especially if you are starting from scratch. Before embarking on building out your patio, take a look at these 9 tips to get an idea of all the things you need to consider.
1. Stick to Your Theme
Your patio should be an extension of your interior dining experience. The design and decor should reflect the theme and concept of your restaurant. How exactly you accomplish that is up to you, but try brainstorming several design ideas to find one that resonates.
2. Keep it Shady
One of the main things to consider when designing a restaurant patio is how you will generate shade to keep your customers out of harsh, direct sunlight. Umbrellas are effective but require regular maintenance and cleaning. Natural shade from trees or neighboring buildings are usually the best options, but those aren’t always available. Building a pergola over the patio dining area is one alternative that also happens to be aesthetically pleasing. If you have a small street-facing patio, an awning is another good choice for providing shade to your outdoor diners.
3. Make it Green
Be sure to bring your patio to life by adding plenty of greenery. Plants provide a natural visual element to your patio, and they can also provide several practical benefits. You can plant herbs for your kitchen, or even mosquito-repelling citronella plants. Just be certain you don’t plant anything that will attract swarms of unwanted insects like bees.
4. Figure Out Your Lighting
When the sun goes down you will need to illuminate your patio so your diners can see their friends and what they are eating. String lights can be strung along walls and railings, or stretched above the patio. Candles on tables can provide additional light. If you feel you need more lighting than that, just make sure that you avoid ruining the mood by installing bulbs that are too bright or harsh.
5. Don’t Cram Your Space
When creating a seating plan, be careful not to try and cram too many seats or tables in your outdoor dining area. As with the inside of your restaurant, tables that are too close together can make your diners uncomfortable and pose an obstacle for your staff. Some patio seating areas may actually be smaller than the inside of your restaurant, so if that is the case, you’ll want to make sure not to get too carried away. Instead, focus on creating an intimate and romantic space that will accommodate an appropriate number of diners.
6. Consider an Outdoor Bar
If you have the space for it, adding a patio bar can be another revenue source for your restaurant. A secondary patio bar provides your guests with an alternative spot to grab a drink and offers the convenience of not having to go back inside to order another round.
7. Stay Toasty
If you want to pack your patio year-round, you’ll need to add sources of heat to comfort your guests during chillier months. Gas heaters are an effective option, but nothing beats the visual appeal of a fire pit or outdoor fireplace — which can be equally enjoyed on cool summer nights.
8. Practical Considerations
In addition to the overall look and vibe of your patio experience, there are many practical considerations to take into account when designing your restaurant patio space. For example, how will you get food from the kitchen to your outdoor patio? How many entrances and exits will you have? You will want to make those decisions before you start building in order to make sure that your wait service is just as good outside as it is in your main dining room.
9. Moving Ahead
With all these things in mind, you are nearly ready to design your restaurant patio. Of course, you will want to make sure that you are legally zoned to have a patio before proceeding. Depending on where you live, there might also be specific features you need to add to be in compliance with state and local liquor laws. For example, in some places, you might be required to have a gated zone where alcoholic beverages can be consumed outside.
While it takes a considerable amount of work and planning, having an outdoor seating area is a great way to attract more customers by providing an open-air dining environment. If you put all these tips to use, your new patio is sure to be a success.