Outdoor dining - the most sought after culinary experience

One of the best things about summer is the opportunity to indulge in outdoor dining. Serving food on the patio is a win-win for guests and restaurateurs: guests love dining al fresco, and increasing the footprint of a restaurant, lounge, cafe or a rooftop bar is a great way to add more revenue and gross profit.

In fact, according to a study by the Simons Advisory Group, providing outdoor dining can increase revenue by 30% on average - possibly much more if your climate allows for round-year use of an open-air space. 

What is it about outdoor seating that has such a large effect on the bottom line? There are many factors involved: some guests say that an alfresco dining experience makes the food taste fresher and better. Others come to satisfy their Vitamin D cravings (ideally accompanied by a gentle sea breeze!), all while gazing at the beautiful view as they share a meal with friends or family

There are many ways to attract more customers to your restaurant, but outdoor seating definitely tops the list.

Eating outside is great for business, but it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.

The trickiest part about providing quality al fresco dining? The weather. 
We know you’ve been there: feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that an outdoor setting can bring. 

Starting with staffing, furnishing & decorating to daily routines like: setting up and folding down furniture, frantically catching flying menus and napkins when a stronger breeze comes in, securing down patio umbrellas, removing paddles of rain water from the deck, tables and chairs or eventually heating up the space on those colder evenings. It’s constant work and it can be tough.

Yet, it’s usually worth it. Unless, despite all that effort, everything is ruined by a misery weather.

According to Met Office UK, the stormy weather that has blasted Britain this August (2019), and continuous downpours in many areas across the country, lead to the wettest ever August since 1912 (107 years!). This is in stark contrast with the hot and sunny weather of July, when most of the UK experienced several heat waves and temperatures reaching +30°C. 

With our climate becoming so unpredictable, it’s difficult for restaurant owners to count on the patio seating revenues.

Here’s what some of them say about the challenges:

“The biggest challenge of running our patio is predicting the weather and how guests will respond to it. We constantly follow several live weather apps and try to make the best call we can.”

- says Josh Grogan, general manager of Vivace, a contemporary Italian trattoria.

“Weather is always a factor. Is it going to rain, will it stop, when will we be able to reopen? Sometimes the guests order food and then it starts raining. What do we do then?”

- says general manager Sherwin Levitis at Del Frisco’s Grille.

So what's the solution? 100% clear & frameless garden dome. A modern alternative to patio enclosure, awning or gazebo. 

Continue to [Part 2] to learn how you can increase profit with an indoor-outdoor space for all-weather, all year al fresco dining: 

9 ways to increase your profit from al fresco dining