by Joe Angliss

How to inspire your outdoor dining menu

How to inspire your outdoor dining menu

It’s great to see outdoor dining start to open up across the UK for those lucky enough to have the space to cater for it. However, are you taking all the opportunities available with your menu? I’m going to go through some of our top tips for creating a menu which inspires customers to come back time and time again!

Focus on what you are known for as a basis for your menu

It might seem obvious, but don’t fall into the trap of overcomplicating your outdoor menu. You can even leverage this as an opportunity to simplify your menu and focus on what you are best known for.

There is so much anticipation for coming back into hospitality, in fact, going out for a meal is the number 1 activity consumers are looking forward to doing once restrictions ease – overtaking going on holiday![1]  This clearly indicates that customers will be excited to come back and have their favourite meal from you. Are you known for having the best stone baked pizza, burgers to die for, or for having steak like no other? Well, these customer favourites are easily transformable to cater outside with things like pizza ovens, BBQs and street food shacks. It’s also a great way of adding a bit of theatre which people have missed from eating out to your menu too!

Capture all the day-parts opportunities

Of course having a drink whilst out with friends and family will be one of the biggest drivers for going out, but make sure your menu appeals so you can make food centre of that, no matter the day-part. Whether that’s breakfast/brunch with friends, business lunches, or making up for missed celebrations in the evening, I’m sure we can all agree that we have a lot of catching up to do and food should naturally be centre of that all!

However, if you’re worried about a bit of menu fatigue, try themed menus to mix things up. They’re perfect this summer, particularly if you can tie it in with the summer of sport we are about to have!

To share or not to share?

You’ll definitely need a crystal ball that looks into the future to answer that question.

It’s probably going to be a while before consumers have the confidence to eat foods like this but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have these types of food on your menu. Customisable food options are set to be one of the biggest drivers for eating and drinking out.[2] Foods that are usually associated to sharing are perfect for this key driver.

As a result, we see that there will be growth in things like share boxes for one instead. For example, could you do personalised tapas boxes or could you do ribs and wings combo meals as part of a meal deal whilst watching the Euros this year?


Hopefully this gives you more ideas on how to inspire your menu over the next few months, and if you’re looking for more, take a look at our outdoor dining guide. This guide is filled with insights, menu suggestions, recipes and ideas for using your space.


[1] CGA, ‘Consumer Countdown to Reopening’, March 2021

[2] Lumina Intelligence Menu & Food Trends Report 2020


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