Do you own a restaurant? Are you looking for a way to boost sales? The answer lies right outside your door. A study carried out by international restaurant and hospitality firm, VSAG, showed that restaurants can increase their profits by 65% by simply investing in an outdoor patio dining area.

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Creating an outdoor area requires careful thought and planning. Here’s how to get started.

Be on the right side of the law

Every state and every municipality has laws governing businesses, especially those in the food industry. These laws govern where you can serve food and how you can serve it. Some localities will prohibit outdoor restaurants while others will have requirements for outdoor dining spaces such as the requirement to put up barriers around a sidewalk seating area.

It is important to find out what the laws in your locality say about outdoor dining. You may need special permits to expand your business outdoors. Find out what you can and cannot do before investing in your patio.

Plan for strategic seating

As a restaurant owner or manager, you may be tempted to cram chairs together to get the most out of the space. More chairs and tables in the space means more cash, right? Wrong.

Your customers need to be comfortable. They’ll otherwise look for another restaurant that offers al fresco dining in comfort. You should therefore ensure that seating is well spaced for comfort. The space should be designed to allow servers to navigate easily, especially during rush hours. Guests should be able to maneuver comfortably in the space as well.

Look for furniture

For an outdoor space, you need to find durable furniture that can withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors. It should be weatherproof and also easy to maintain. Consumer reports offers a full detailed description on selecting furniture for lawns and gardens, including considering maintenance of furniture.

Choose furniture that reflects the style and atmosphere that you’re trying to achieve. Ensure that the furniture reflects the theme of the restaurant. Outdoor furniture helps to draw customers to your restaurant. It should therefore be attractive as well as functional.

You can find restaurant patio furniture online. This makes it easier to compare prices and research different brands and styles.

Plan for the elements

Outdoor dining can attract clients throughout the year. This means that you should prepare for changes in weather. Invest in umbrellas or other types of shade to protect diners from the elements. Invest in other features such as screens and heaters to keep your diners comfortable.

Set the atmosphere

In order to attract and retain customers, you need to create the right kind of atmosphere. You can do this using various features. Outdoor lighting is important in creating the atmosphere. Soft lighting including tea lights, string lights, torches and candles. A fire pit or floating candles can bring warmth on a cool night. Water features such as pools and fountains create a calming effect.

Enjoy your new outdoor space and the increased revenue.