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5 ways to create the best outdoor customer experience

The restaurant industry is highly competitive and requires restaurateurs to think outside the box to create the best outdoor experiences for their customers. Anyone can have a patio and offer outdoor dining, but it is the additional, personalized touches that can set a restaurant apart from others.

Here are some ways operators can stand out from the competition and offer guests the best possible experience.

Access to technology

If operators want to compete as a top contender in the restaurant business, they’re going to need to make sure the outside dining area is Wi-Fi accessible for patrons. If guests can get online quickly, easily and for free, they are more likely to tweet, share selfies and promote the business by checking-in. Free Wi-Fi for guests means free endorsements for operators.

Aside from Wi-Fi, operators should also consider other entertainment options, such as wide screen TVs, interactive video games, live performers and DJs. Help encourage guests to get up out of their seats, while staying in the restaurant, after they finish eating. Bring the after dinner party to them.

A comfortable outdoor setting

An outdoor patio area should be comfortable and enticing year-round—not just on sunny and warm days. Make the outdoor dining area the place to be no matter the season or the weather. How can operators achieve 365 days of patio magic? By enclosing their outdoor patio.

The key here is making sure that the enclosure method selected offers flexibility. This way, they can be rolled up to open the space on warm days and enclosed on cold, wet, rainy or snowy days. But don’t jeopardize the customers’ experience with dark enclosures. Opting for clear vinyl patio curtains will allow operators to control the ambiance and temperature inside and the view to the outside world.

During the summer months when it gets too hot or buggy outside, you can also use patio curtains to maintain a cooler, pest-free outdoor environment for guests to enjoy. Some other comforts to consider investing in for your guests: ceiling fans and outdoor heaters.

Give customers something to remember

Turn an outdoor dining area into more than extended seating by adding special perks for guests. Consider offering tableside cooking, outdoor grilling and exclusive menus only available for people dining on the patio. Perhaps you’d like to invest in adding a patio bar, or offer a karaoke or game night, so visitors linger longer after finishing their meals.

Choose the right décor and furniture

One thing that sets an exceptional outdoor patio area apart from a good one is the overall design. The furniture should be comfortable, attractive and match the décor. It’s all in the details. For instance, when creating a heavily sports-themed-inspired patio setting, incorporate big comfy chairs and sports-themed decorations like team colors, logos and other memorabilia.

The right ambiance and protection

When incorporating the other items on this list to create the perfect outdoor patio experience for guests, operators should remember they need the right ambiance and protection.

Lighting should match the ambiance level, so for sports themes it can be brighter, but for romantic themes lighting should dimmed with candles or accent lighting.

As for safety precautions, make sure there is a sufficient amount of ventilation and air flow. And most importantly, remember to not overcrowd the space. Keep things open and inviting with plenty of room for guests to move around and mingle.

Next is assessing the patio. Have all the boxes been checked, or is it time to implement any missing elements in order to take the space to the next level?

Contact EnclosureGuy—a leader in commercial patio solutions for the restaurant industry to learn more about improvements you can make and get a free estimate via the online form or by calling 888-254-6892.

This post is sponsored by EnclosureGuy

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