With the spring months finally on our doorstep and a glorious hot summer hopefully not too far behind we’ll all be dreaming about making the most of the outside. Days are longer and people are more likely to go outdoors and visit restaurants with outside space where they can enjoy their lunch or dinner in the open coupled with a delicious summer cocktail!

Who doesn’t enjoy dining alfresco and taking in some late afternoon sunshine, lingering into the evening? It’s time to get your restaurant’s outdoors prepared for the summertime and make the most of maximising your table covers.

Get Outside For Longer!

The one mistake many restaurants make is not using the outdoor space for other times of the year. There are still times when people want to sit outdoors, even when it’s late September or early October, the weather might be cooling down but with clever outdoor heating you can make it feel like the end of summer. The end of March might still have a nip in the air but the promise of springtime makes people much more likely to sit outside. Remember, Fireworks night and Halloween are still times of the year when your outdoors could be used too. There are plenty of things you can do to encourage more use of your outdoor space during other seasons:

Introduce outdoor heating which gives plenty of warmth and comfort
Design a sheltered area to shield from wind which helps to maintain a more comfortable temperature
Light the outdoor space well so it looks inviting to customers
Use a garden designer or landscape gardener to introduce beautiful floral displays and planted borders, strategically place stunning garden planters and keep them delightfully colourful for as much of the year as you can.

Make The Most Of Your Space

Having an outdoor space immediately increases your table numbers so make the most of your outdoor space but be careful not to too tightly pack in tables and chairs because people still need to be comfortable rather than feel hemmed in. Round tables are a better use of space than square shaped. Play around with various designs before you find the one that works best with your space.

Every year check your outdoor space for maintenance; this could be replacing patio slabs, jet washing the patio, re-potting plants, changing planters or replacing tables and chairs. Check that umbrellas work because they are necessary to shield your customers from sun and think about placing citronella candles on tables to deter pests.

Make sure you have good litter bins dotted around – unfortunately, the outdoors encourages rubbish dropped on the grass or patio! You should also have ashtrays and wall mounted ash trays to discourage used cigarette butts being stubbed out on your freshly jet washed patio!

Consider building an outdoor area especially for children because this will make your restaurant a very popular destination for families, you want to encourage family custom particularly over lunchtime periods at the weekend. Remember, there are long school holidays in the summer so having somewhere for little people to enjoy and play could boost your profits!


Purchase Friendly Crockery and Cutlery

Some restaurants prefer to serve their customers sitting outdoors with unbreakable crockery, especially useful for younger diners. Polycarbonate is strong and durable and virtually unbreakable. It also comes in an array of bright colours which for a colourful display. The Alliance website has a number of polycarbonate products, all suitable for alfresco dining.

BBQ Equipment

Invest in high quality BBQ equipment especially if you want to specialise in alfresco dining. Stock up on restaurant charcoal, lava rock and skewers and don’t forget to buy a premium quality BBQ appliance. All of these items are available on the Alliance website.

Keep Up The Good Work!

Sometimes, when a restaurant area is out of sight, table service suffers so make sure that your staff are mindful of customers sitting outside. Perhaps designate one or two waiters or waitresses (depending on the number of covers you have outside) so they are just responsible for this area. This helps to speed things up and prevents any frustrated customers.

Everything you need for outdoor dining is available on the Alliance website, sourced from premium quality suppliers and priced very competitively.