Best Practices

The Ultimate Guide to Patio Dining

Elevate Your Restaurant's Summer Outdoor Experience

As the summer season approaches, restaurant owners have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand for outdoor dining. Patio dining offers a unique experience for guests to enjoy their meals in a delightful al fresco setting. In this ultimate guide, brought to you by GoTab, we'll explore key strategies and practical tips to help restaurant owners maximize the potential of their patio dining spaces. 

Designing a Captivating Patio Space

Evaluate your outdoor space and operations. Consider factors such as size, layout, and existing features. Assess the potential seating capacity, kitchen output, and the flow of foot traffic from guests and staff. Understanding the unique characteristics of your patio will help you make informed decisions during the design phase.

Optimize your patio layout to maximize space utilization and create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Arrange seating in a way that allows for both intimacy and flexibility. Incorporate a mix of seating options, such as cozy booths, bistro tables, and communal areas, to cater to different guest preferences. Also consider shade and lighting arrangements, as options like string lights or lanterns can create a welcoming atmosphere and compliment some spaces well.

Al Fresco Delights- Having a Menu to Delight Patio Guests

Craft a patio-centric menu featuring seasonal and refreshing dishes that complement the outdoor setting. This can include locally sourced ingredients, innovative flavors, and unique culinary creations to entice guests.

In addition to the food menu, pay special attention to creating a refreshing and enticing drink menu. Feature a variety of handcrafted cocktails, mocktails, and specialty beverages that complement the outdoor ambiance. Don't forget to offer a selection of wines, craft beers, and non-alcoholic alternatives to cater to all preferences and ages.

Optimize Staffing

Identify peak dining hours for your patio and schedule your staff accordingly. Analyze historical data through sales and reservations  to determine when your patio is busiest. By aligning your staffing levels with these peak times, you can ensure efficient service and that every guest is attended to.

Consider leveraging technology solutions to streamline operations and address staff shortages, wait times, and any gaps in efficiency. Digital solutions like GoTab enable guests to place orders, split tabs, and pay at their convenience.  Doing so would allow servers to focus on delivering personalized service, attending to specific guest needs, and ensuring a seamless dining experience. This allows your staff to be more efficient and attentive, even during busy times or when faced with limited resources.

Creating a Comfortable and Engaging Outdoor Area

Creating a delightful outdoor dining experience involves prioritizing the comfort of guests, especially by ensuring they stay cool. Consider strategic placement of fans and other cooling devices to guarantee the guests' ongoing comfort.

It is important to adhere to local regulations and explore ways to captivate guests and engage all their senses. Music can greatly enhance the atmosphere, so curating an appropriate playlist is essential for setting the desired mood. Additionally, implementing sound barriers and optimizing acoustics can play a crucial role in the success of the music played, while also minimizing any disruptive noise from the street and external environment.

If your outdoor space allows, consider incorporating live music into your summer schedule. This can be on a consistent basis every week or spread out throughout the summer. 

Promoting Your Patio Dining Experience

Utilize social media platforms and email marketing to engage with your audience, showcase your patio space through Instagram stories, highlights, and posts, and highlight special events or offers. 

Partnering with local influencers or bloggers can generate buzz and attract new customers to experience your patio dining offering. Invite them to dine at your establishment and share their experiences with their followers. Collaborate on creating content that highlights the unique aspects of your outdoor dining area, such as the ambiance, menu offerings, or signature cocktails. Their endorsement can significantly increase awareness and drive traffic to your patio.

Engage with your customers by encouraging them to share their own photos, turning guests into influencers.

Implementing these  best practices for patio dining can greatly enhance the overall experience for both restaurant owners and guests. By carefully designing your outdoor space, creating a menu that complements the setting, optimizing staffing operations, and leveraging technology solutions like GoTab, you can elevate your patio dining to new heights.

Remember, the patio is more than just an extension of your restaurant—it's an opportunity to create a unique and memorable dining experience. Check out our full suite of hospitality solutions to help grow your revenue and delight your guests.

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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