Why It’s Important to Have—and Use—An Outdoor Dining Space
Open Up and Get Outside with Motorized Retractable Screens!
As our daily routines start to get back to normal, it’s time to appreciate the importance of spending time outdoors. If you have an outdoor dining space, you will be able to see your customers a lot sooner. Unfortunately, if you currently only have indoor seating, your eatery may have to stay shuttered a little longer. Regardless of where you live or what type of restaurant you have, getting outside is vital to your mental, emotional, and business health. Why? Read on to find out why it’s so important to have—and use—an outdoor dining space and how our motorized retractable screens can help.
1 – Not Just for Guests
Spending time with friends and family is important for your mental and emotional health—especially as a restaurant owner or operator. Enjoying an outdoor dining space isn’t just for your guests. When you’re out at your “other” favorite restaurant when the weather is nice, do you choose to sit outside or stay inside? We thought so. Most people make the same choice, and it makes so much sense.
Eating and socializing outdoors and enjoying the weather is a great way to blow off steam after a long day. The benefits of socializing cannot be overstated. Spending time with friends and family in a social atmosphere, according to Psychology Today, can have positive impacts on your mental health, cognitive engagement, physical health, lower risk of dementia and other degenerative mental diseases, and may help you live longer. Not bad, especially along with a good meal!
2 – (Re)opening for Business
Many states are allowing restaurants to open. Focusing on outdoor seating first will allow restaurants to test their new normal. The Ohio Restaurant Association announced that restaurants with outdoor areas were allowed to begin serving customers earlier (May 15) than those with just indoor seating (May 21). This 6-day head start may be the difference between a successful summer and one with lower revenue that could affect the business’s financial stability for the rest of the year.
Even as the lockdowns were beginning, restaurant operators were looking ahead to the day their doors opened again. Adding outdoor dining not only created an immediate fix but one that ultimately enhanced their restaurant permanently.
Jeanne Kern, Owner of The Vine in Elkhart, IN, said, “We have a twelve-table patio and, as the weather gets better, we see [more] activity there. We’re anxious to get to 100% allowed capacity in July and are thankful to have solid, faithful support from our customers. It’ll take more than a virus to stop what we’re doing.”
From increasing carry out to including online ordering, restaurants can supplement their operations and how their customers they’re open for business.
3 – Increasing Capacity
An outdoor dining space helps increase your eatery’s capacity by adding more seats—and helps the bottom line. There are many simple ways to do this: from sidewalk seating to building a dedicated, enclosed space. The increased capacity will lead to increases in revenue as well. A simple deck or patio can mean an increase of 30%! Additionally, the Simons Advisory Group conducted research and found that a $200,000 investment increased overall sales by $500,000—more if the seating is available year-round.
Antonio’s Italian Restaurant in Elkhart, IN, was one of only two non-chain pizzerias in Elkhart County that were open throughout the entire lockdown. Their outdoor space is large and has both the positive and negatives of an outdoor space: when the weather is nice, it’s perfect, but mosquitos attracted by standing water and humid conditions can, naturally, affect open-air patio areas.
“Our patio is a big part of our success,” said Paul Cataldo, owner of Antonio’s. “We currently have 45 seats, but once the lockdowns are over and we can have full capacity, we could get up to 60 guests seated. We try to use tiki torches, fire pits, and other things to keep our guests comfortable.”
Now, the type of seating can make a difference in the attitudes and choices of your customers. If it’s open to the elements and adjacent to a sidewalk or other walkable area, it can create its own “social scene” to attract new customers. If it’s exposed to sunshine and a beautiful natural view (e.g., flowing river or mountains), then it could actually have health benefits for your guests. Installing motorized retractable screens can give you the best of both worlds.
4 – Sunny Delight!
Vitamin D is an important supplement that helps with bone growth, calcium absorption and protects against osteoporosis in older adults. Advanced studies about the benefits of sunlight and vitamin D on human health are easy to find. One, from the Environmental Health Perspective Journal, had this to say:
“The best-known benefit of sunlight is its ability to boost the body’s vitamin D supply; most cases of vitamin D deficiency are due to lack of outdoor sun exposure. At least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body are now thought to be regulated by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]D), the active form of the vitamin, including several involved in calcium metabolism and neuromuscular and immune system functioning.”
That’s a lot of big scientific lingo, but suffice to say, getting outside and enjoying the sun helps with physical and mental health. So how much sun is right for you? According to Medical News Today, sun exposure from 15 minutes to a couple of hours—depending on skin tone and sensitivity—is recommended by the Vitamin D Council. Now, this article isn’t providing medical advice, and you should consult your doctor about your specific sensitivities to the sun and how best to protect yourself.
Making the Most of Your Outdoors
Customer experience is key to a successful restaurant. The beautiful cool nights of fall are perfect for an outdoor meal. As people stroll along the sidewalk, riverfront, or beach area where your restaurant is, seeing your beautiful outdoor space will draw them in. Whether you have an open-air space or an enclosed space with permanent or motorized retractable screens, your customers will have a great time!
Creating an outdoor dining space, particularly one that’s enclosed will protect your guests and your bottom line. The flexibility and benefits of motorized retractable screens make it an easy choice. With the touch of a button, you can protect your guests from insects, UV rays, and inclement weather.
Panorama: Motorized Retractable Screens
The PanoramaUltra retractable patio screen systems are made with high-quality materials. You can choose from a broad range of colors that match any eatery’s style and décor. The housing is made from powder-coated aluminum, has 80 and 90% solar screen fabric (for the mesh), and a “clouding” resistant, 30-gauge clear vinyl material that prevents waving.
The custom feel of the Panorama line of motorized retractable screens will be a welcome addition to your restaurant’s outdoor space. Installation is straightforward and can be accomplished with the right tools and know-how. Installing a Stoett patio enclosure system brings the best of both worlds to your diners, enjoying a dinner out on the town and the great outdoors.
To learn more about Stoett products and the line of Panorama motorized retractable screens, visit stoett.com.