PATIO SEATING…nothing creates a better atmosphere than being outside on a gorgeous day, sunshine, a slight breeze, a cold beverage and something to eat. Just writing that makes me want to sit down at my favorite outdoor venue.
The next thought is HOW do we, as designers, create this atmosphere? There are many planning and design items to be addressed in creating a successful patio experience.
Rule #1 is exceptional service. Planning for patio service is critical. If the space is large enough this may mean providing a secondary expo area specifically for the patio. Though it may only last a few months, a second station can alleviate additional loading on the kitchen. Placing a service station in the patio area allows the wait staff to take care of customers without having to leave the area.
Equally important is understanding that patio and outdoor spaces aren’t always about the dining, but the experience and entertainment offered. Provide great views, a natural element inside the area, and some interactive elements to create an atmosphere where people enjoy spending time. Thoughtful seating options are essential to a successful atmosphere. They need to be comfortable yet durable. If they aren’t durable for the seasons, then storage is required. This can require additional staff at opening and closing to breakdown the seating. Choosing appropriate fabric and furniture can mitigate this additional time.
Patios and outdoor seating are great ways to increase revenue for a restaurant. As long as the design is focused on providing the required level of service, a memorable experience and comfortable and plentiful seating, then a patio is a great way to go.
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