Setting your patio up for success

Canadians sure love patio season, so get your restaurant ready for that summer rush! With many restaurants seeing even slimmer profit margins, as labour and inflation continue to be a challenge, operators may be feeling the pressure to draw customers in and fill their seats. And while opening a new seating area can be a challenge in these times, a successful patio can also offer a year-round way to generate revenue and raise your customer experience.

Get set up

Clean off and repair that furniture from last year to get your patio visitor-ready, with sunny and shady areas so there’s something for everyone. Once you’ve got everything in working order, set the mood with torches, planters, décor, and anything else you need to make it look fresh and inviting for the season. Don’t forget to add any bug deterrents, too, like candles or torches to discourage visits from those unwanted guests.

Make it easy on your staff. Leave clear, easily accessible aisleways for staff and guests to navigate to the patio from the restaurant. Make payments easier too, with enough mobile POS machines to address your outdoor needs. The smoother you make it for your servers, the better the experience will be for your guests.

Manage your staff

Labour can be tricky with changing weather, staffing availability, and spreading your team between indoor and outdoor spaces, but planning ahead can help you stay organized. Take a look at last year’s numbers to get an idea of what to expect this year to help you hire an appropriate amount of staff to be better able to schedule according to your needs.

Keep your eye on the weather, too, as it changes and your patio needs more (or less) attention, be flexible enough to shift people to other areas or manage your labour appropriately.

Draw a crowd

You want your patio to stand out in a sea of choices so think about how best to fill those seats. You could add a unique feature like a firepit, host events, offer live music, create weekly menus, celebrate food holidays, or offer any other promo you think will make your patio get attention.

Once you decide how best to attract patio guests, don’t forget to spread the word as far and wide as possible. Post an event calendar on your website, promote your new menu on social media, and encourage guests to share your content to stay relevant and build your brand.

Your patio can be a real help to your bottom line, so get set up for success with the best staffing and marketing you can manage for a successful season.