In a recent survey conducted on people who regularly dine out, a whopping 82% of those asked said they would like to see restaurants continue to add additional outdoor dining options. This overwhelming number makes it safe to assume that if a restaurant isn’t exercising their outdoor dining options, they’re missing out on potential business in a huge way.
Americans have displayed their affinity for outdoor dining at their favorite establishments, but why the sudden upturn? We know COVID was the catalyst for this situation, making to-go and outdoor seated sections the only options for a large number of restaurants across America during the heart of the pandemic. But what has continued the trend after restrictions were lifted?
If you own a food establishment and haven’t been preparing to expand your outdoor section, we can help with some motivation. You might find this full article regarding outdoor dining preparations to be helpful for your establishment. We’ve also got five reasons why the outdoor dining scene is growing, which could also help you make adjustments.
The Growing Outdoor Scene
Social distancing and a more expansive environment were the driving factors when restaurant owners switched to outdoor dining exclusively. Diners were able to get a taste of their favorite restaurant without worrying about being in tight quarters, putting themselves at higher risk of contracting the virus. Let’s look at some of the other driving factors.
The atmosphere of outdoor dining is especially appealing to a society that has spent the majority of the last year indoors. We want to get out in public to socialize, but the last thing we want to do is sit inside somewhere else. We’ve done plenty of that over the last 6 to 12 months.
Overall, it seems as if outdoor dining lightens the mood for everybody, giving us that sense of freedom back that we’ve been lacking. We don’t feel as cooped up, and that adds to the overall laid-back feeling and sense of enjoyment.
People go to a restaurant to have a good time and enjoy the company of others. The outdoor atmosphere and open environment seem to make it that much better.
There’s something about sitting outside amid beautiful landscaping or urban cityscape that makes your dining experience more enjoyable. The contrast of an outdoor patio with some choice flower or plant selections and the bright city lights always make for a beautiful scene.
This is a great opportunity for restaurant owners to take some time to give attention to the design of their outdoor dining area. Put some new tile down on the patio, or even do a stone walkway. Your options are unlimited.
This is an element of outdoor dining that’s been gaining steam as the popularity of this brand of eating out continues to grow. Many restaurants have an amazing selection of furniture on the patio, deck, or rooftop. This unconventional way of lounging while you eat is drawing a huge crowd.
Many restaurants incorporate some trendy furniture and design elements in their outdoor eating area, and customers love it. These are just a few examples of some of the digs at restaurants we’ve seen.
- Oversized couches/chairs
- Stand-up tables
- Bigger tables for bigger capacity
- Industrial look (metal, steel)
- Rustic look (uncured wood)
These furniture selections are a great way for a restaurant to add to the overall theme of its business. Customers love it when the brand is uniform. For some reason, it makes the dining experience more enjoyable. health
Artwork could have a great deal to do with the attraction as well. Many restaurants utilize certain sculptures and clay forms of artwork as part of their design space. One of our favourite ideas is when a restaurant uses art pieces from local artists or college students.
More Seating Capacity
Restaurants that are focusing on their outdoor dining area are expanding their overall seating capacity at the same time. Restaurants that were once hard to find a reservation for are now suddenly tapping into more availability. This makes them more popular with regular diners.
The seating of an outdoor dining area doesn’t have to be as uniform, and there is also more standing room. People don’t mind standing outside because it’s more relaxing and there’s additional room to move around. There’s nothing fun about standing elbow-to-elbow in a hot dining area.
Healthier For You
Dining outdoors is healthier for you overall. We’re not just talking about COVID, either. Diners are more relaxed, as we mentioned earlier. This leads to lower blood pressure and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. This can make the outdoor dining experience a much-needed escape from the fast-paced anxiety of everyday life.
The fresh air doesn’t hurt either. Your oxygen levels are raised when you dine outdoors, leading to a healthier experience for your night out. Having a healthy dining experience that’s easier on your body leads to a more pleasant meal. Your food digests easier; you’re more comfortable; everything about it just makes you feel better. It’s also easier on the body when you can get up and move around some during your meal.
The Little Things
Truthfully, it’s the little elements like the atmosphere, the scenery, and the furniture that make people remember their dining experience. Sure, the food is a large part of it; people will always remember the food. But the little dynamics people notice when a restaurant goes the extra mile is what separates a good dining experience from a great one.