The past 12 months have been challenging for those in the restaurant industry. Restaurant owners and restaurant employees all over the world have shown remarkable resiliency and adaptability despite disruptive events that were out of their control. During all the uncertainties of the past year, many have been rethinking and revising the way they do business. One of the many components of restaurants that experienced massive changes is outdoor dining spaces.
Though many restaurants already had outdoor dining before 2020, many were forced to engineer a space quickly. If you’re looking to redo your outdoor dining space, here are some tips for making it a spot your guests will love.
Use natural materials to make the space more intimate. Even if it’s not possible to have a secluded outdoor dining space, you can take steps to make it feel like a more private. Try bordering your outdoor area with large planters and planning them with tall shrubs or trees that provide screening—be sure to choose trees with small root systems so they don’t quickly outgrow their containers. Hanging plants also make a space seem more enclosed, so your guests will feel less exposed to passersby.
Provide warmth. There are many ways to do this—whether you use space heaters, fire pits, or a fireplace, the goal is to make sure your guests are cozy and comfortable. In this article on Restaurant Development & Design, Amanda Baltazar discusses ways to extend the outdoor dining season in locations with cold weather and provides perspective on adding warmth.
Repair or resurface the surface of your outdoor dining area. If you’re able to make modifications to your space, resurfacing or even just repairing the floor can make a world of difference. Uneven surfaces and cracks can make it difficult to keep tables even and can also be a trip hazard for your guests or employees. Damage such as chipping that doesn’t necessarily compromise safety does detract from the overall aesthetics of a space. Even if you don’t have any damage, an update to the look of your surface is a huge improvement. Whether your flooring is damaged or just needs a makeover, resurfacing is a great option. With concrete resurfacing, a contractor can apply a decorative coating on top of your existing surface, making it look new again. When you work with a SUNDEK contractor, you can get your coatings customized with a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures.
Invest in the right lighting. Make sure your guests can see the menu in the evening, but avoid making the space so bright that it ruins the mood. Yes, string lights are everywhere nowadays, but everyone uses them for a reason—they create a charming ambiance. Stick to soft lights with a warm glow rather than bright white lights. An individual candle at every table is another simple way to add a little luminosity.