For small businesses such as restaurants and cafes, summer is an excellent opportunity to make more money with an outdoor patio. Not only are they profitable, a patio provides a better customer experience. Customers love being able to enjoy the lovely summer weather. The less formal ambiance is great for letting people relax and unwind with their friends and loved ones. In this blog post, we will talk about how an outdoor dining space can improve your business.
The Potential Profits of a Patio Extension
Patios are a profitable endeavor but good management is critical. According to a business analysis by Vucurevich & Simons Advisory Group, their research showed that with a proposed initial investment of $200k, the forecasted seasonal use return could result in $500k in sales. A gross profit of 65%. When used in coordination with a strategic management plan, the potential for profits is even higher. Essentially what this means is that an outdoor patio is profitable even when only used during summer. Also, the analysis emphasizes the importance of a strategic management plan, which means catering to patio client needs while providing adequate customer service.
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Patios Increase Business Footprint
The footprint of a bar or cafe refers to the amount of space available for serving customers. A larger footprint means more potential customers, thus the higher potential for profits. The first obvious benefit of an outdoor patio is the increase in footprint size, but it is important that the business can accommodate the increased number of customers. If the wait staff can barely handle all the indoor guests during a busy rush, chances are they won’t be able to attend outdoor guests properly. This is when a strategic management plan comes into play. Consider hiring extra staff during the patio season or having designated patio waiters and servers. Customers don’t want to feel like they are not important simply because of the area they chose to sit in.
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Patios Increase Visibility and Exposure
For businesses in commercial and residential areas, foot traffic makes up a portion of profits. Appearance is everything when it comes to attracting these types of potential customers. They may only see the front of a restaurant for five to ten seconds as they walk by chatting with their co-workers. With an outdoor patio, the trick is to have it be an extension of the indoor space, incorporating similar decor and design themes. Therefore, a sidewalk patio increases the visibility of a business, allowing people to see what’s inside without ever having to step a foot in the door. This is even more important when it comes to the food. People on the street can see the food, smell the food, and even casually ask if it is any good. This happens to me a lot when I dine on a patio. Strangers love to ask about the food!
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Patios Increase Customer Satisfaction
When planning a special event, certain customers seek out businesses with patios. A husband may want to plan his wedding anniversary on a romantic candle lit patio. A college graduate may be looking for a large open space to have a party. Outdoor furniture is generally easy to move around and accommodates customers with disabilities, such as opening up space for a person in a wheelchair. Customers can bring pets into the patio with them, thus catering to the needs of pet owners. During the summer, pictures from the patio are popular on Instagram and Facebook. People love showing off and taking selfies on patios.
Considerations for Patio Success
- It is important for tables to have enough space between them for the sake of privacy and comfort. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make with patios is making them feel too cramped. I remember one restaurant where I couldn’t leave my seat without asking the people in the table next to me to move theirs as well. It was very uncomfortable. These are the types of situations to avoid because they ruin the purpose of an outdoor dining space, which is to create an open and relaxed environment. Notice how in the picture below customers can barely get out of their seats comfortably. What happens when the waiter or waitress comes around with the food?
- Be prepared for various weather conditions. Patio heaters and outdoor fire pits are very useful for keeping customers comfortable on cold nights. Patio umbrellas provide relaxing shade when temperatures get too high.
- Be sure to follow all local codes and requirements for having an outdoor patio. There may be permits which need to be applied for so check with your county clerk or local chamber of commerce.
- Invest in high quality patio furniture that will look good for many years to come. Trying to increase profits with a patio becomes pointless if you have to buy new patio furniture every year. Read more about How to Choose the Best Material for Outdoor Furniture.
- Take good care of your patio furniture by caring and maintaining for it. Teak furniture care requires special considerations.
- Outdoor lighting is an easy and effective way to add more ambiance to an outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types and colors. Check out our previous post on 9 Enchanting Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your Home A patio bar is a good way of increasing business hours beyond closing and creating an additional source of revenue.
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As a method for increasing profits, outdoor patios are a worthwhile endeavor. But the key to success relies on the management of the outdoor space. It is not simply enough to have an outdoor space for dining, it must be given the attention it deserves to be able to properly accommodate guests and satisfy their expectations.