A recent study by international restaurant and hospitality consulting firm, VSAG, showed that restaurants can easily boost their gross profits by up to 65% by simply investing in an al fresco dining area. If you’re a restaurant owner, you’re probably intrigued by the idea of having an outdoor dining space and boosting your sales.

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However, there is more to it than simply placing chairs on the sidewalk. There are several factors to consider that can help you boost sales from this outdoor setting. The following tips will help you create the perfect outdoor dining space on a budget:

  • Keep your guests warm

Outdoor dining isn’t popular only in summer. You can attract guests in your outdoor dining space throughout the year. You therefore need to ensure that your guests are comfortable during the cooler days. A case study on a restaurant in Gastonia, NC, showed that including heating in your outdoor area will increase your seating capacity and bottom line in turn.

  • Create the right mood

Diners are attracted by the atmosphere of the restaurant. This includes the outdoor seating area. You not only have to set the right atmosphere in the indoor section, but also in the outdoor seating area.

You can create the right mood using soft lighting. Use string lights along barriers or trees. Hurricane lamps, candles and lanterns are also a great way to set the mood.

  • Use the right furniture

The furniture you use in the space should be comfortable and functional. It should also be attractive, as it will attract guests to the space. Consider your commercial patio furniture options to find the right style for you. Your furniture should be a reflection of the theme of the restaurant. It should enhance the décor and create continuity.

  • Protect your diners

Dining outdoors doesn’t mean exposing your guests to the harsh elements to the weather. If diners are exposed, they will be uncomfortable and are unlikely to return. It is therefore important to ensure that you protect them.

Block out harsh UV rays and rain by ensuring you install a canopy or other type of shade. A retractable shade will allow you to change layout depending on the weather. Install barriers or screens to protect diners from strong winds.

  • Create a personal space

Dining in the open doesn’t have to mean dining in a noisy and exposed space. You can still provide your al fresco diners with some level of privacy by creating a personal space. Use landscaping, barriers or dividers made of bamboo or woven fiber to create a personal space and keep noise from the street out of the space.

  • Keep the bugs away

One of the disadvantages of dining in the open is being attacked by bugs. You can ensure the comfort of your diners by using bug zappers or repellants in the space.

Keep these tips in mind when planning and creating your outdoor dining space. They’ll ensure that you’re on the right path towards boosting your restaurant’s bottom line.