April 14, 2017

This week in the second part of our “Planning Your Patio” series we will take a look at several features to think about to make your business a destination.

1.   Game areas

  • Breweries and wineries are becoming more than just a place where a beverage is produced.  Activities like corn hole, bocce ball, and giant Jenga are already a staple for many outdoor areas, if you are going to include these, here are a few things you can do to step up and stand out from other facilities.
    • Provide small tables or drink rails near game areas to give patrons a place to put their drink.  After all, they might need two hands to focus on crushing their opponent.
    • Position games so that they can been seen inside and provide accent lighting to craft a unique experience. This not only lets people know there is more entertainment to be had outside, but also gives them something entertaining to watch while enjoying a glass of wine or beer.
    • Provide activities in open and shaded areas.  Similar to the furniture arrangements in Part 1, providing a variety of outdoor environments will also create more opportunities to make the customers visit enjoyable.

2.   Outdoor bars

  • You might think you just need a few planks of wood, maybe a canopy, and some stools to create your outdoor bar, but why stop there?! Including electrical and plumbing can create the perfect atmosphere for your customers.  These will increase the use of your outdoor spaces throughout the year.
    • Offer overhead fans, misters, radiant heaters, accent lighting, beer coolers, televisions, and electronic device charging ports.
    • Sinks and features like a glass dishwasher can help keep your staff running at optimal efficiency and reduce wait time for guests. It can be difficult to enjoy beverage when bugs and bees are enjoying someone’s drips or spills.  Make sure you select and plan for easily cleanable surfaces and keep your drains clean or covered so that only your customers enjoy the drinks you are serving.

3.   Lighting

  • Depending on the atmosphere of your business, lighting can set the mood and shouldn’t be added as an afterthought.  Lighting is not “one size fits all” and should be approached to match the overall theme of the business. Plan ahead to offer opportunities to create unique spaces that accent your culture and highlight your beverages.

4.   Menu Boards

  • Have you ever walked down the street and saw a chalkboard sign advertising the daily specials?  These simple signs do more than enough to attract customers.  This same concept can be used for your menu or drink offerings.  On windy days, laminated/paper menus can quickly become an inconvenience to hold down or worse…chase after.  Adding a small chalkboard sign or illuminated menu board provides a convenient way to inform guests and entice them to try new things. If you have a continually changing menu this concept allows you to easily swap items without having to regularly print new menus.
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