Should Your Restaurant Offer Al Fresco Dining?
Al Fresco Dining
Spring has sprung, folks. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and electric bills are shrinking. American consumers are breaking out of hibernation, and they are hungry. One of the most exciting things that comes with the beginning of Spring is the welcome opportunity to dine outside, whether you run a small bistro, an upscale restaurant, or franchise pizza joint. Many customers are wanting that outdoor experience, so it might behoove you to indulge their craving. Let’s examine the upside of al fresco dining for your business.
Borrowed from our Italian friends, the term al fresco roughly translates to “in the cool [air].” Interestingly enough, “al fresco” in Italy often means spending time in the slammer… but we digress. Consumers love the idea of dining outdoors because it promotes a more casual experience in which it almost seems like everyone out on the patio is part of one big family. Throw in a firepit and pizza oven and you’ve just hit the ambiance jackpot. So, a major pro to offering outside seating is that it’s taken its place as a hot trend. From rooftop patios to beer gardens to cozy terraces, being outside is a major revenue opportunity.
Think about it: Dozens of diners are enjoying your cocktails, Instagram-worthy entrees, and delectable desserts outside your doors, in full view of passersby. How’s that for free advertising? All it takes is one pedestrian overhearing a guest rave about his or her meal for you to win a brand-new customer. Plus, people are generally happier when they’re outdoors. And happy faces equal new business.
Opening a patio, rooftop, or terrace is a great way to increase the number of customers you can serve. Even a few tables outside offer the opportunity to seat an additional half-dozen guests, which is nothing to sneeze at. Should you be in an area that permits it, welcoming dogs to your establishment (if customers are seated outside) is also a wonderful way to ramp up your traffic. If someone happens to be walking their dog and can’t take their eyes off that trendy cocktail they see someone sipping on your patio, they’ll be more likely to stop by for a drink if they don’t have to worry about taking the pooch home first.
If you’re on the fence about adding outdoor seating to your restaurant, there really aren’t many downsides. Sure, the weather can turn ugly quickly (especially in the Summer months), which only serves to drive your additional traffic inside. And you’ll need to ensure you’re properly staffed both from a server and chef standpoint. All that aside, opening your establishment to the great outdoors offers incredible benefits. You can increase traffic even more by offering outdoor-only specials and making sure to take advantage of Mother Nature by providing a beautiful atmosphere guests will fall in love with. And be sure you’re equipped with commercial heaters for those crisp nights.
Interested in taking the patio plunge? Get in touch with one of our loan experts to learn how a line of credit or Flex Pay loan could make all the difference in your restaurant. We offer flexible terms, fixed rates, affordable payments—all with no collateral required. We’ll see you outside.