Warm summer days and balmy nights are the perfect settings for expanding guest services. Patios are a great way to expand your business and offer guests not only great patio menu choices, but also an inviting, seasonal setting to enjoy.
As restaurant consultants, we are well versed in creating menus and designing décor, and know that not every item on a menu or element of patio décor may necessarily hold up to an outdoor dining experience.
Consider these designer patio menus and seasonal décor that will work to set your restaurant apart this summer.
In creating a successful patio-friendly menu, consider the distance food has to travel from the kitchen and maintaining food temperatures. Keeping temperatures regulated for dishes designed to be served piping hot (i.e. bouillon-based seasonal soup) or very cold (i.e. frozen beverages or ice cream) may prove difficult for a successful service. Instead, adding more easily temperature-regulated dishes to your patio menu is a great choice. Try dishes such as chilled soups such as gazpacho; chopped green salads with grilled chicken or fish; pasta salads loaded with fresh, roasted summer vegetables; roasted red bliss potato, corn, and asparagus salad with a light vinaigrette; marinated chicken, pork or beef skewers with a selection of flavorful dipping sauces; light, rice noodle wraps with freshly grilled shrimp; or freshly chilled seasonal fruit salad for dessert.
Moving outside … create little alcoves and designated areas for guests to enjoy their dining experience with all-weather furniture, décor, and accents in colors and materials that fit within your brand. We suggest using colorful planters and/or a wall of greenery as well as fragrant herbs (such as basil, mint, fennel, and thyme) to create beautiful (and practical), distinctive settings. Also, feature bright, summery accents in related hues for candles, linens, and throw pillows to bring a cohesive vibrancy to the area(s); or create a focal point by highlighting an interesting water feature or creative lighting design.
In the end, the time and effort put into creating an inviting, colorful design will not only be noticed and utilized by patrons, but also appreciated … we promise.
photo courtesy of MoCo’s Founding Farmers