The Ins and Outs of Running an Outdoor Dining Operation

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Lovely Mature Couple Enjoying Food in a Restaurant

Last winter’s blizzards and arctic blasts started becoming a distant memory the minute restaurants around the country set up the patio tables and opened the rooftop decks for the season. Restaurants with outdoor dining spaces in many markets have gone from being a nice perk to a must-have, especially in places where the out-of-doors is a major draw.

In Colorado, specifically in Denver, where they get 300 days of sunshine a year, outdoor patios are a way of life with consumers across the dining spectrum from fast casual to fine dining.

In addition to fine weather, scenery can also be a big reason for restaurants to add outdoor seating.

But even in areas that don’t boast nearly year-round sunshine or waves crashing below, seasonal outdoor dining can be a draw.

Having outdoor seating during the fine days of spring and summer can be a deciding factor when customers are choosing a restaurant, and as a draw, patios can even prove too popular sometimes.

There are consumers who only want to eat on the patio in the summer. Patios are especially preferred for brunch.

Adding capacity doesn’t require significantly more staff to handle, and outdoor diners don’t tend to linger longer or order more than their counterparts inside. Although a marathon, parade, a festival happening on the street in front of the patio will cause diners to camp out

For the most part, the returns from outdoor dining areas are worth any extra licensing or permitting hoops operators have to jump through, which can vary greatly from one market to another.

Even in spots that don’t seem to make sense, putting in a patio can be a smart marketing move. And if you pave a driveway, such as concrete driveway in Denver, access to this spot will be easy, too.

Source:, 8-8-2014.

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