The Return of Outside Dining
With warm weather quickly approaching, so is the return of outside dining. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing restaurants to get creative, patio dining became a necessity to keep businesses open and maintain the social distancing requirements. Enjoying beautiful breezes and outdoor views during meals was a way for many to have a sense of normalcy during the pandemic. This new fix for many restaurants will now be a staple moving forward in the future.
Increased Patio Seating
Many restaurants that embraced patio seating will be looking to expand this area for the upcoming season and even into the future. With the investment made into quality patio furniture and renovations to these areas, there is a desire to maintain this investment and keep these dining options available. Some restaurants removed a portion of their interior dining as a way to expand patio options. These renovations have made patio and outdoor seating essential for their business operations for the long-term.
More than just seats and tables were purchased for outdoor seating options. Creating an inviting atmosphere of lighting, partitions, and even plants were purchased to accent the patio and bring the inside atmosphere outdoors. This type of transition is designed for long-term changes, expecting guests to enjoy this atmosphere even after the pandemic is gone. These new dining areas are new and vibrant, attracting diners to continue the experience and appreciate their surroundings.
Maintain Social Distancing
Although the pandemic appears to be slowing down, the warm weather and spring sports seasons will bring diners out of their homes, looking for environments that give them the dining option while doing so safely. Keeping these distance requirements in mind, restaurants across the country are prepared for COVID-19 spikes that may happen and keeping their diners safe while eating. Many diners are still conscious of distance and will continue to have reservations about close seating moving forward. Patio seating allows these diners to be comfortable and keep staff members safe at the same time.
Privacy on the patio is not something found prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Even if diners are not overly concerned with social distancing, some restaurants have tables on the patio set up so that they can enjoy a private outdoor meal with their family or friends.
Many of these diners who have embraced patio seating at these restaurants last year were pet owners who found this dining option to be accommodating to their furry family members when they went out. Instead of being forced to take-out options, many restaurants allow pets to sit with their family while dining outdoors. For this reason, many pet owners were able to be flexible with running errands and getting outdoors with their pets. This flexibility has allowed many restaurants to expand their customer base in their area, targeting customers who otherwise would look past their restaurant for other dining options.
Embracing Live Music
While some restaurants offered live music to their guests on the inside, they decided to take a chance and move the music to the patio where guests were dining. These restaurants were able to attract other customers nearby looking to grab a bite to eat and catch some music with their meal. Allowing guests to have this option during the pandemic gave further ground to the outdoor patio, and these stages that were designed for these patios are ready for the upcoming season.
The last piece of the puzzle is to make sure service is easy and efficient. With mobile carts and serving stations that can be moved throughout outside seating areas, operators can set up points-of-service that make things easier for staff. At the end of the day, this makes the experience better for guests.