Restaurant Guide: 6 Tips to Prepare for Patio Season

Restaurants typically serve an assortment of dishes. Increase in businessDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants around the world have survived by utilizing the patio season. 

Global restaurateurs responded to unprecedented restrictions and guidelines in 2020. Outdoor dining is safer than indoor eating, so business owners transformed parking lots into pedestrian walkways to provide seating for customers. It was easy to expand your outdoor space, but restaurateurs must prepare for COVID-19’s second patio season. 

Starting at Regularly update your menus to adjusting your floor plan, we’ve got the tips you need to prepare for patio season. 

  1. Make a cleaning plan
  2. Seasonal offerings can be added to your kitchen’s menu.
  3. Get ready for warmer weather
  4. Your floorplan can be adjusted
  5. Your seasonal staff can be hired and trained
  6. Your online presence can be improved

Your restaurant is ready to take on the new world of dining

With 2020 behind us, restaurateurs need to look to the future, stay ahead of trends and adopt the digital strategies that kept retailers selling through last year’s unprecedented challenges. This guide will show you how to ensure your business succeeds in the digital age of hospitality.


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1. Make a cleaning plan

The importance of cleanliness in a restaurant is obvious. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has made it more urgent. The standard of your establishment’s cleanliness can either bring in more customers or have them leaving immediately, so projecting a clean image to your guests is absolutely critical to your success. 

To ensure that customers are satisfied, you should establish a cleaning routine. You can expect employees to keep your menus clean during downtime, but not wipe them down. Instead, they should be cleaning the surfaces after each use. This may take more effort than pre-pandemic routine cleaning, but it will increase customer loyalty. This extra time should be taken into consideration when making reservations or seating guests. 

Regular deep cleaning should be done to all areas of your restaurant from the kitchen to the service area. You might forgive some minor issues like a broken wine glass but some places will cause guests to not return. The bathroom is an indicator of the care you take to make your customers feel. More than 80% won’t return if yours is dirty. Make sure you clean your bathroom regularly and do sanitization. If necessary, take the time to make it more thorough. Remodeling your bathroomsThe patio season was not yet in full swing. 

If your restaurant isn’t up to standard for cleanliness, there’s a good chance your food reviews are also going to suffer. Certain online ordering platforms like Yelp now give consumers the ability to rate a restaurant’s cleanliness and low scores get flagged with a poor food safety score. A poor score on food safety is actually a bad thing. reduces a customer’s likelihood of visitingReduced by 21%


2. Seasonal offerings can be added to your kitchen’s menu.

Add a few Items from the seasonal menuYou can increase your sales by adding a menu to your restaurant.

Sustainable dining has been a growing concern for all restaurants, but the trend is being led by those between 25-40. 73% of millennials say they’re willing to spend more on environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients. Since food produced out of season is typically imported or takes more energy to grow, seasonal produce and ingredients are a great way to reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint and show today’s customers that you’re listening. 

Not only are seasonal items better for your restaurant’s Sustainability missionThey also increase the excitement surrounding your menu. Get creative with new items that’ll help customers beat the heat. Do you want to start offering ice cream but don’t have the right tools? Partner with local sweet shop. Through a shared discount code for customers, this partnership is beneficial to both businesses since they aren’t in direct competition. 


3. Get ready for warmer weather

It’s important to keep in mind that some customers will prefer to dine at home. Smart takeout delivery strategies are crucial to keep your customers happy. 

Delivering food in winter poses its own problems, especially keeping it warm. DeliveriesThe opposite problem is possible. The last thing you—or your customers—want is your orders overcooking in a hot car while they’re en route to your customer’s doorstep.

You need packaging that can withstand ice and other cooling methods when delivering salads. To do that, you’ll want to invest in the right type of packaging and limit your delivery radius so your meals arrive at your customers’ homes the same way they would at a table in your restaurant. It’s important to Modify your menuYou can rest assured that customers won’t leave your restaurant unhappy. 

Looking to streamline this process so your orders get to where they’re going faster? Small Biz Sense DeliverySyncs with popular apps such as UberEats or Skip The Dishes so that orders can be sent straight to your POS. 


4. Your floorplan can be adjusted

Comfort and safety should be the top priorities when customers visit your patio restaurant or dining area. While distancing guidelines and restrictions vary per region, there are some general adjustments you can make to your floor plan—inside and out. 

Begin with circulation. Spacing out your tables is a great start, but you’ll need to look at the paths your customers could take to the washroom, exit, entrance and how many people could potentially be at your restaurant at one time. It is important to create a flow so that guests are not able to touch each other at their tables. You could, for example, designate one door for your entrance and another for your exit. 

You’ll also need to identify how employees move through your space. You will need to identify the space that your employees require in order for them to perform their job well. Also, you must ensure that there is a clear separation from your guests and your employees. You will need to experiment to optimize your space. However, it’s worth talking to your employees about their daily activities to get a better idea of how they use the space.


5. Your seasonal staff can be hired and trained

Whether you’re adding a few tables on the sidewalk or opening a full patio, chances are you’ll need some extra help during this busy season. 

Restaurant owners who are savvy will not only have to recruit, hire, and train new employees but will also need to actively motivate and connect with them. Forbes tells us that it is possible. Employees find it difficult to be their best. when they know that they’re gone at the end of the season. Give them a shout out when they do a good job to boost their morale and assure that they’re emotionally invested in their work.

Restaurant industry has a reputation for high turnover. Turnover rate 73%. If the average Cost of hiring and finding a new employeeEmployee turnover costs $4,000 and can cost a company a lot. You can cut costs and training hours by investing in a POS system that’s user-friendly. Employees will learn how to navigate the system easily. Use your restaurant POSThey can do it faster, and they will be able to get all the answers quickly. 


6. Your online presence can be improved

Any time of year, marketing is essential. Strong online marketing can increase brand awareness and help attract new customers. 

eCommerceIt has become an essential part of restaurant’s menu. Consider the last time you visited a restaurant. Do you know the website of that restaurant? You’re not the only one. 77% of dinersDo the same. Nearly 70% of those people can be dissuaded from going to a restaurant because they don’t like its website. Make sure your website is simple to use, share your menu, make reservations online and you can reach this target audience. 

Looks are important in the food industry. It is vital to show your customers what you can offer them. If you are looking for somewhere to eat online, 45% of respondents say they specifically look for photos of a restaurant’s food. But don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to hire a photographer—follow These are some simple suggestionsYou can then fill out your online feed. 

A strong online presence can be important. However, you should think beyond the box. You might also want to consider other branding elements. Eye-catching flyersAnd Employee merchandise. These physical items can be used to strengthen your brand and tell your story. 


Preparing your patio for busy season

Make the most of the summer season by getting your restaurant—from the patio to the kitchen—ready for both your new and loyal customers. 

If last season taught us anything, your patio and outdoor seating is going to be a major draw, but it’s important to look at all aspects of your business. You can start preparing for high season by creating a cleaning plan, organizing your deliveries and takingout options and setting up your online restaurant. 

Do you want to raise the level of your restaurant? Speak to one our experts today.



Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.