The sun is shining, the birds are singing and summer is officially here, which can sometimes lead to a slower turnout for your restaurant. During a season when every dine matters, it’s important to remember that every detail matters.
Patios are a great way to attract customers, but the experience has to be treated differently than an indoor experience.
Here are 3 tips to keep the patio experience focused on the food and fun, not on the discomfort that can sometimes accompany the need to be outdoors.
1. Sun Protection – Umbrellas and awnings will help provide shady options, and cool air misters will help to beat the heat. Take it a step further and equip all of your outdoor servers with spray cans of sunscreen to offer customers who don’t want that umbrella or who are sitting in the wrong spot as the sun moves. It’s a small expense that can keep them sitting and sipping more comfortably. Most customers won’t think to bring their own but will need it.
2. Don’t Bug Out – Planters around the patio can look nice and welcoming, but not just to customers – they can be a welcome haven for bees, bugs and mosquitos. Turn the table on these pesky intruders. Consider mosquito repelling plants such as citronella plants (the most common), horsemint, marigolds, ageratum, and catnip. Beware, some of these odors that deter mosquitos are also unpleasant to people, but rosemary and basil plants can also do the trick and are a great tie in to a restaurant as well. Lavender and scented geraniums are also an option. Consider planters around your patio with these options (and if bees are an issue use the non-flowering options), and perhaps even one on each table. You can also equip your servers with cans of bug spray to offer willing customers.
3. Water Works – An often over-looked annoyance with patio tables (non-solid surface) has an easy fix. Drink glasses will sweat outdoors, but servers rarely give a coaster because the table doesn’t need it. However, that sweat drips right onto customers’ legs and feet. Don’t overlook the coaster outdoors and a pile of additional napkins (with a weight to keep them from blowing away), and don’t wait for the customer to ask. It’s one seemingly minor annoyance that can lead to a bigger dissatisfaction with the experience.
Enjoy summer and keep your customers comfortable and they will keep coming back. Every detail matters.
Contact Rewards Network to learn more great ways to attract and retain your restaurant customers.