One of our external roof blind installations enabling guests to dine outside 365 days a year
If you're looking to maximise your establishment's revenue, outdoor seating could be the answer, with a recent survey revealing the introduction of a simple patio/terrace could increase income by as much as 30%. This figure could be even greater if outdoor seating was available on a year-round basis, so it's potentially a very lucrative investment for your business.
But what is it exactly about outdoor seating that could have such a positive effect on your trade? Firstly, some guests genuinely believe an alfresco dining experience makes their food taste fresher whilst others simply enjoy soaking up the views as they wine and dine with friends and family. And what with spells of warm, sunny weather a rarity in the UK, when the sun does shine, naturally consumers are keen to spend every possible minute outside- and eating their meals in an alfresco environment is no exception.
If you're wondering how you could implement outdoor seating within your current business structure, draw inspiration from our list of suggestions below:
One of the most straightforward methods of providing your customers with an open-air alfresco experience is to create a sidewalk dining area. This is very easy to put into place, as all you'd require is a few sets of tables and chairs that coordinate with your restaurant’s theme. Add one of our innovative patio awnings and you’ll have a stylish outside space that's sure to pull in the crowds and not just your regulars either, as passers-by are sure to be attraced by the sight of happy customers.
Additionally, sidewalk seating offers you plenty of flexibility. For example, during lunchtime, diners will appreciate a relaxed dining experience as they watch the world go by or socialise with a cool drink as they enjoy the shade. Once the sun sets, you can use subtle lighting to enhance the atmosphere whilst creating an inviting display that's sure to impress onlookers.
Our latest external roller blind installation at the award-winning Roka restaurant in Canary Wharf
If you don't have the necessary space to expand outwards, all is not lost, as many restaurateurs are choosing to expand upwards instead. From London to New York, diners everywhere are raving about rooftop eateries. With the bird’s-eye view allowing them to take in stunning city skylines as they dine, they offer a highly desirable dining experience.
Of course, there’s more to rooftop dining than a few tables and an impressive view. In London, for example, many of the most popular rooftop restaurants go to town with beautifully presented gardens and light displays that enliven the atmosphere at night. Louvered roofs and awnings are very popular features as they provide shade during the day along with protecting diners from rain if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
External roller blinds can also be used to prevent driving wind and rain whilst maintaining the view. For example, just last week we installed roller blinds to the terrace of Roka in London's Canary Wharf district. These stylish blinds enable Roka's diners to enjoy an alfresco dining experience 365 days a year whilst increasing the company's turnover and profits.
Last but not least, this latest trend is highly versatile so it's sure to work well for more or less any outside space. According to Restaurant Development + Design, diners are particularly drawn to the atmosphere created by fire and water. Among the more popular water features, you’ll find reflecting pools, fountains and even simple table settings with floating tea-light candles or flowers. When it comes to fire, fire pits top the list, followed closely by candle lighting, lanterns and torches.
One reason why this theme is such a success is that these two elements encapsulate everything that you want your guests to feel when dining alfresco. For example, water adds a sense of cleanliness and tranquility that enhances the environment and therefore the foods you serve. Fire, even in small amounts projects a warm, comfortable feeling that encourages guests to linger over drinks and dessert. Combine these elements, and you’ll have the formula for an outstanding dining experience.
To conclude, there's no doubt that an outdoor dining area will dramatically enhance your customer’s experience in addition to providing you with a high return on your investment. Your available space — whether that's a sidewalk, rooftop or patio — is key, but what matters most is what you do with it. To really maximize your investment, why not offer a combination of the features listed above? A little shade, some attractive landscaping and a touch of atmosphere will guarantee that guests not only come back for more, but spread the word to their friends and family too.