Eating outdoors is without a doubt one of the simplest dining pleasures of the summer. The fresh air combined with good company and a delicious menu makes for a carefree and memorable experience.
Patio season gives restaurants a significant and positive revenue lift through the addition of extra seating. Yet, many are not maximizing on these revenue-generating spaces year-round or during inclement weather. Many of us often forget how enjoyable the outdoors can be when the sun goes down and cooler temperatures roll in. So, failing to embrace seasonal temperatures and closing patios earlier than needed could lead to businesses missing out on potential revenues.
According to the National Restaurant Association, U.S. restaurant sales continue to soar and are expected to surpass a whopping $863 billionthis year. In addition, many restaurants are looking to re-invest profits back into their business by considering customer demands for what makes a truly enjoyable dining experience. And customers definitely have demands not only for restaurants but from the overall dining experience.
So why should you consider maximizing on outdoor spaces year-round?
Year-Round Revenue Generation
Expanding spaces by offering patio seating is a key revenue generating element to any restaurant. Transforming the space into a year-round functional dining area can create a significant return on investment (ROI) to buffer seasonal highs and lows. Having added seating options that offer flexible and adaptive areas to accommodate both small and large groups is a significant contributor to revenue generation. Affordable solutions such as screens can cater to smaller construction budgets compared to pricier options such as drywall.
I often use a client of mine as a prime example of a business who was able to generate nearly $300,000 annually from a year-round 12 table patio due to its retractable screen enclosure. This patio generates on average an astonishing $2,000-$3,000 per day of operation. By adding simple heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters or lamps, guests can utilize outdoor spaces year-round. Not to mention an added cozy ambiance. Through heat retention capabilities with vinyl mesh screens, the facility is able to extend the life of their patio season regardless of outdoor temperatures while offering guests a unique outdoor dining experience.
Comfortable Dining and a New Perspective on Sustainability
It is no surprise that 66 percent of consumers would pay more for a product or service if the brand was committed to sustainability, according to a Neilson Global Corporate Sustainability Report. I myself would also be one of these individuals. Since working in the outdoor living industry, I have come to realize that there are more ways to make an establishment sustainable than we traditionally thought. While most look to food sourcing and smart technology, many do not consider their patios as an environmentally-friendly option for achieving sustainability.
Integrating solutions such as retractable screens into patio designs which can promote heat retention during cooler evenings and air circulation on warmer days offers the perfect opportunity to transform outdoor spaces. This can save restaurants money through lower electricity costs while boosting seating capacity, comfort and contribute to an overall greener business. Not to mention the added value of keeping those pesky bugs away.
Fresh Air, Circulation and Natural Light
Start by asking yourself, what ambiance does your restaurant currently deliver and what are you aspiring to exude? The traditional indoor dining ambiance just doesn’t cut it anymore as the changing customer base now values natural design and an enhanced and unique dining experience.
Ensuring spaces have adequate lighting, especially in the outdoors, enables the area to feel as welcoming and comfortable as the indoors. More than just ambiance, natural light and surroundings can impact customer purchasing behavior. Having too little or too much light can lead to visual discomfort among customers. Finding the perfect balance with natural light encourages comfort and awareness. Not to mention the added health benefits such as boosting the immune system, relaxation and improving your overall health.
More and more, we are seeing customers opting to dine in well-lit locations which offer better views and fresh air. Opening up dining spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows, glass doors or mesh screens are simple solutions that can drastically alter the look and feel of any space.
Al Fresco Design
It is no wonder that the outdoors is taking the design industry by storm as concepts such as dining al fresco have highlighted the shifts in consumer habits. Embracing outdoor living is not only about the memories created, but soaking in the sights and sounds of the natural environment. Design trends have and will continue to shift seasonally, however we consistently see blended living across not only restaurants but commercial and residential design too.
Ultimately, optimizing on natural light, fresh air and al fresco designs are vital to business success this year. Being able to expand operations, and revenues, will keep customers coming back year-round regardless of seasonal temperatures to experience sensational outdoor dining at your establishment.