The restaurant industry experienced a lot of changes during the pandemic. Many closed due to the lack of customers while others focused on deliveries. But with the continuing rollout of the vaccine, the industry will get back on its feet soon.
And when these restaurants set up an alfresco dining area, they will likely attract more customers, especially with summer coming up soon. The warm temperatures of summer will make outdoor dining an appealing option. If you have a restaurant and plan to set up an alfresco dining area, you may want to check out the following tips.
Check Local Regulations
While you may want to open an alfresco area, you need to check the local government for the permits you need to get. The pandemic resulted in many local governments encouraging the opening of outdoor dining areas to reduce the risk of infection. But local governments have their regulations, so you should check with the local authorities before setting it up.
For instance, the Open Restaurant Program of New York City encourages the expansion of outdoor seating options in restaurants. Restaurants have the open of using the sidewalk or the streets, depending on the situation. In these instances, the restaurant needs to get a permit from the city. On the other hand, if the restaurant opens an alfresco dining area on private property, they do not need to apply for a permit.
Many other cities and counties have encouraged the setting up of outdoor seating for restaurants. All restaurant owners need to do is to check with the local authorities.
Make a Good First Impression
Among the first things customers see when they go to a restaurant is its alfresco area, so you need to make sure it gives customers more reasons to dine at your place. You should make it eye-catching, and your staff should make sure it is ready when the restaurant opens for the day.
You can even enhance it to make it look better. If you have a standalone restaurant that’s not a part of a bigger building, you may have a lot of leeway in enhancing the place. A commercial landscaper can also help you enhance the frontage of the restaurant, especially if it has s good-sized lawn.
You can also take advantage of the surrounding area to enhance your restaurants. Setting up outdoor lights can make the place remarkable to look at. It may even give customers the impression that they are not in a city. So, you should make sure the alfresco area gives a good first impression to your customers.
Invest in Outdoor Decor
While the pandemic may have caused a financial crisis, it’s still important for you to invest in outdoor decor to make your restaurant look good. As indicated earlier, you should make a good first impression on customers who go to your restaurant. Aside from setting up outdoor lights, you may want to purchase good-looking outdoor dining tables with chairs to match.
You can also look for outdoor decor that reflects the restaurant’s theme to ensure consistency in the indoor and outdoor decor. If possible, get the decor from the store that supplied your indoor decor. But make sure they are suitable for outdoor use. Additionally, getting umbrellas for the tables is advisable if your location gets too much sunlight, especially during summer.
Maintain the Standards
An alfresco area means you need to have staff assigned to cover the area. This will allow you to maintain your service standards, especially when the place gets busy. If the staff needs to go inside the restaurant, make sure to have someone monitor the customers at the outdoor dining area if they need something. Even if most customers dine outside, you should also assign someone to take care of the customers inside the restaurant.
You should also make sure your customers are aware of the guidelines you set for the restaurant. This is quite applicable to mask-wearing since some customers may not be aware of the rules when wearing the mask in a restaurant. Putting a card on the menu with the rules can help, and the staff can also remind customers of the importance of following the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on eating at restaurants. These protocols are for the protection of the customers and staff of the restaurant. So, you should not shy away from telling the customers about the rules.
The pandemic may have affected the restaurant industry, but it may be on its way to recovery. You can prepare for this by setting up an alfresco area in your restaurant to attract more customers to visit even in the middle of a pandemic.