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Top tips for using your space for outdoor dining

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space to use, I’m sure you’ll be leaving no stone unturned to work out the best ways to capture all the opportunities there are. To help you, I’m going to go through the key things to consider when planning your best options.

Premiumise where you can

Value for money is the key driver for customers, with 49% of people saying it’s a key consideration for choosing where to eat.[1] With a recession upon us, naturally customers’ wallets will tighten and they will look to get the best experience for their money when eating out.

So, how can you add quality touches to your offer? Could you provide live music, little igloo pods, or really picturesque aesthetics for around the seating? Could you introduce special boards that have exciting fresh and local quality fresh fish and meat or set menus? These little touches will do so much for how you are perceived, leading customers to have a willingness to pay more of a premium.

According to a recent Lumina Intelligence report, 50% of operators are planning to invest into outdoor dining after realising the long term opportunity of it. If you’re one of them, part of this investment should be used on a booking system for your outdoor space. Not only does this help you manage the bookings you get, but it also gives you the chance to look at driving further revenues through package deals. From package meal deals, to mini beer kegs/cocktails to your table service, how can you offer a deal that builds up excitement and provides an unmatched experience for your guests?

Keep safety top of mind throughout

As you look for opportunities for using space, never let safety slip. With so many anxious about returning now and for a while still, if you don’t minimise any safety risks, you could jeopardise your image and some customers will not return again. From protective screens, to the right range of cleaning products, we’ve got all you need to help protect your customers and your staff.

If you do things right, then you’ll give your customers the confidence to return. In fact, 55% of consumers are more confident when a restaurant or pub has implemented technology into their offer as a way of safer ordering food and drink.[2]

This leads me onto my next point…

Continue to adapt and utilise technology

Technology has been pivotal during the last year, from the rise of QR code ordering, to click and collect loyalty apps. We’ve become more of a cashless society, with £8.4bn being spent using contactless payments during the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, and there’s no signs of new technology solutions slowing down.[3]

You also should contemplate technology when you create your menus too. There are new important considerations like trying to reduce the amount of scrolling customers have to do when looking through your menu online. Naturally by reducing your menus it causes other benefits too, as it makes things easier back of house and it will also mean you reduce wastage.

Make your outdoor space “Insta-worthy”

The power of social media is quite remarkable these days with how it can generate more revenue for you. 1 in 3 18-34 year olds state they plan to visit all the new trendy/instagrammable places they have missed out on as soon as they can.[4] With that in mind, you should try to encourage customers to share their experiences and photos, since this is likely to be a form of free advertising to generate more footfall. This is particularly important for those of you looking to capitalise on tourism and “staycations” as more and more people these days use social media to find food and drink choices in the area they are going.

Want to know more about what you can do to make the most of the outdoor dining opportunity?

 

Sources:

[1] CGA BrandTrack, Oct 2020

[2] Lumina Intelligence, 2021

[3] BBC – March 2021 – www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56263582

[4] Lumina Intelligence, Menu & Trends report, Dec 2020

 

 

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