It’s the height of summer, and no matter what the weather, you’ll still find us Brits optimistically living it up in a beer garden or making the most of dining outdoors – something we love to do, especially if the outdoor space is well-maintained.

For restaurants, this willingness to sit outside year-round has benefits for both the venue and its bottom line, so it makes sense to maximise an outdoor space’s potential with some well-placed investment and a few new ideas.

In this article, you’ll find some nuggets of wisdom to help you turn your venue’s outside space from just a patio, to a paradise. This will enable you to reap all the rewards that follow year round meaning you’ll be able to make the most of the space, even in winter.

Making the Outdoors a Year-Round Option

British weather has a habit of luring us into a false sense of security, so it’s always best to be prepared for anything. For example, if it’s raining and your outdoor space doesn’t have adequate protection for diners, seating capacity is drastically reduced because nobody wants soggy food!

Maintaining seating capacity is essential when running a restaurant or bar, and weather shouldn’t limit how much business you can accept from paying customers. Instead of bowing to the elements, invest in parasols and all-weather umbrellas to cover seating areas so you can offer additional seating all year round. To add an extra reason to go outside in the winter, try using standing heaters to keep patrons toasty.

outdoor seating parasol umbrellas

A Hint of Green

To maximise an outdoor space, you first need to make it appealing to customers in a way that encourages them to spend time in the space and feel happy to do so. A great starting point is introducing some greenery to the outdoors.

Even if your restaurant or bar is located in the city rather than the countryside, there’s no reason to opt for bare concrete or drab exteriors. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need lawns and a landscape gardener to implement, either. introducing planters to an outdoor space is a way to add both an eye-catching feature, and some green-fingered decoration without a total revamp.
outdoor seating with plants

Add Some Ambience, Day or Night

Ambience plays a big role in making a venue appealing enough for customers to return, and it goes beyond simple gardening. It’s important to consider outside ambience just as much as the indoors, and bringing some of that warmth from inside your venue to the outdoors provides consistency.

One way of injecting more atmosphere into an outdoor space is to introduce creative lighting, such as lanterns or simple outdoor string lights. This soft lighting makes for a much more pleasant outdoor experience at night time and makes the outside area feel like an extension of the main venue, while the colourful presentation adds a dash of fun in the daylight.

outdoor lighting ambience

Make Them Accessible

Of course, there’s no point in offering increased capacity if your outdoor space isn’t suitable for everybody; being inclusive helps to fill the space with paying customers.

The hospitality sector has some strides to make towards providing widespread accessibility for disabled customers. So, when opening your establishment’s outdoor space to patrons, be sure to add accessibility features, such as ramps and adapted toilets. An inclusive outdoor area is likely to be better received by patrons, and allows for you to make proper use of that additional capacity.

wheelchair accessible outdoors

Big Bookings

Finally, once your outdoor space is revamped, accessible, and ready for customers, consider advertising the space for private functions. Hiring out part of the venue – especially in summer – is a neat way of maximising earnings and makes sure that all the hard work you’ve put into the outdoor space is paying off.

Likewise, if you want to use the indoor area for large bookings, having a welcoming outdoor space means you can still cater for regular customers even during functions. All that’s left to say is to remember to maintain the outdoor space as time goes on to keep it just as beautiful as time goes on – something which is made a lot easier by the extra revenue and customer loyalty you’ve inspired!

outdoor dinner party

Get in touch to find out how to make the most out of your venue’s outdoor space and ensure maximum covers throughout the year.