Team Ameego is based in Canada and living in the frozen tundra for half the year really makes us appreciate a good patio. Canadians count the days until they can eat outside, and we know that we’re not alone in this. According to a study by the Simons Advisory Group, a great outdoor space can help increase restaurant profits by up to 30 percent. So how do you get in on that action?
We’ve called upon Team Ameego’s 100+ years of restaurant industry experience to compile a list of ways you can make your patio space the place to be this summer and all year if you live in a place that will allow that (you lucky duck!).
Doin’ it for the ‘gram and creating a buzz
Instagram is the hottest social media platform right now with over a BILLION active users. This platform caters to the ever elusive millennials, a generation that increasingly has no mortgages, no kids, and money to burn! Making sure your outdoor space is beautiful and instagrammable will mean an increase in traffic and an increase in promotion. No joke. If the right person posts a photo that shows your space looking fantastic, others will come and check it out.
Adding a photo-op flower wall or beautiful foliage, a cheeky sign, or maximizing a view, will ensure that the millennials (and others!) come for the photos and stay for the drinks.
A survey from Study Hall Research showed that alcohol profits go up 4% on average when a table is outside. Making sure that your cocktail list is on point will ensure that your patio patrons are dropping cash and enjoying your outdoor space.
Make sure to include summer favourites like rosé, margaritas (mmmm… margaritas), and a great selection of beer, including some local brews if possible. The local, craft beer trend is on the rise and your customers want it! According to the American Craft Brewing Society the most popular craft brews right now are lagers and IPAs.
Banish unwanted guests
Pests are inevitable but nobody wants to share their meal with them. Bugs or pests on a patio are a good way to ensure that guests don't return. It’s important to prevent, prepare, and react quickly to avoid dangerous or unsanitary situations. Unlike your indoor dining area, you must be wary of more than just mice and ants when seating guests outdoors. Common outdoor pests include birds, flying insects, gnats, squirrels, and even stray or wild animals (eek!).
Bugs are attracted to sugars and sweets, which can make an outdoor bar especially susceptible to an invasion. Stay diligent with your cleaning routine when it comes to spilled drinks or ingredients. Ensure fresh fruit is stored away in containers with secure lids, and keep juices covered when possible. If that’s not enough, equip your bar with the proper bug zappers or sprays to rid your patio of bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and flies.
Animals may be attracted to the smell of food, whether it’s being cooked outside or simply served to a guest. They may start encroaching on your dining area in hopes of finding food scraps or trash. Be quick to clear away uneaten food after guests have gone and sweep the floors for fallen debris. If animals become a continuous problem, call a reputable pest control company to discuss your options.
Comfy seating, sturdy tables, and tons of atmosphere
Hands up if you’ve ever sat on a patio and had your butt fall asleep because the chairs were the worst (our hands are up!). Patio furniture needs to be as comfortable and sturdy as your furniture inside. You don’t want tables camping out for hours not ordering anything, but you do want them to feel comfortable enough to enjoy the experience and order all the drinks and food they can! Make sure that your furniture is clean, cushions are put away at night so they don’t get rained on, and that the tables are level (and not by using sugar packets or coasters under the wonky legs!).
You may even want to go the extra mile and extend your patio season by adding heaters to your space and offering blankets to your customers.
Here are a few tips for creating the right atmosphere for your patio:
- Create a secluded, private space by separating your patio from the public with a fence, planters, or dividers
- Keep your patio dining area away from crowded areas to create a quieter, more intimate setting
- Attract customers from the street with brightly colored flowers, canopies, and other visible decor
- Make your patio noticeable at night with stringed lights or lighted signage
Customer service has to be on fleek (are people still saying fleek?)
Anyone who has ever been a server knows that they patios shifts can be the best, but they can also be the worst! Being outside and enjoying the summer with your tables can lead to great days and great tips, but they can also be TOUGH. Patios tend to be placed far away from the main bar and kitchen meaning that your servers are running further distances and organization becomes even more paramount to providing great guest service.
Patio tables also mean an increase in capacity for your restaurant which puts a greater strain on your kitchen and bar (more people means more orders). If you’re not careful, order times can go way up and greatly impact your guest experience.
So how do you ensure that your service standards don’t slip when the patio is bumpin’? Scheduling! You need to ensure that you have your aces in their places and that the "A team" is serving in your outdoor space. You also need to look at historical sales and make sure that your kitchen and bar are staffed up to handle the additional stress that additional orders will bring. Don’t forget keeping and eye on the weather forecast to see if mother nature is going to ruin the outdoor party (nothing drives up your labour like forgetting to cancel an on call server!),
Sound like a lot to keep in mind? Don’t worry, Ameego can help! We can make sure you’re staffing the right people in the right places and even give you up-to-date weather information on our handy dashboard!
Want to see Ameego in action? Schedule a no obligation demo today!