When you own (or run) a restaurant, there’s a lot you need to think about: the location, the design, the menu and the wine list, entertainment, reservations, and good reviews on social media. Sometimes, you focus on interior design so much that you forget your outdoor area is the first thing your guests see and notice. It’s important that the outdoor dining areas of your restaurant are as neat, decorated, and organized as the indoor ones, and here’s how you should do it.

Draw people’s attention

How will you let people know that your restaurant is open? Having a well-designed sign for your restaurant is of the utmost importance, but that shouldn’t be the end of your advertising efforts. Let your guests know that you have parking spaces and Wi-Fi, whether or not they can smoke (and where), and make sure your policy about pets is clearly stated. Make sure you hire professionals who will make all the signs, stickers, and menus, but try to prioritize too: you don’t want all of these signs in a single place. Don’t print the signs yourself, as professionally designed and printed signs will give a good first impression.

Lighting is important

You should take lighting seriously as it will set the mood but also keep your guests and customers safe. The lights shouldn’t be too bright or people will feel like they’re on a stage (or being interrogated by the police). Strategically placed outdoor lights are the best choice: they are elegant and romantic, they set the mood but also allow everyone to see each other and read the menu. Candles on every table are always a good choice, as are simple fairy or Christmas lights. You can also use light dimmers which will allow you to control the brightness easily.

Mind the smell

Everyone loves the delicious smell of an expertly prepared dish, but not while it’s being prepared. Restaurants can prepare dozens of dishes at the same time, which can result in a pretty unpleasant smell for your guests. Making sure that your kitchen has proper ventilation is of the utmost importance, but you could also place scented candles or light incense sticks close by just in case. Fresh flowers are also a great option as these brighten up the atmosphere and make the space smell divine. If you have an area where smoking is allowed, you should make sure the smell of cigarette smoke can’t reach the no smoking areas, so fans and proper ventilation are a must.

The right furniture

Even if you don’t have an outdoor dining area, you should place a nice and comfortable bench or two for your guests to sit down while they wait. A couple of small tables and chairs can also do the trick, and you can make the space look like a charming French café. Of course, the furniture shouldn’t be luxurious but that doesn’t mean you should settle for the cheapest option. All the pieces you pick should be sturdy and durable but also attractive: this way, they will draw attention and be able to withstand different weather conditions. You could also install shade structures and provide your guests with protection from the elements (not to mention that your furniture will be better protected and last longer too).

If you are fortunate enough to live in a place where your outdoor dining area can be open all year long, you shouldn’t think twice about hiring a professional decorator to help you turn the space into a peaceful oasis your guests will love. Still, even if you use the space only a few months a year, you should do your best to give your guests a nice experience in a pleasant space they will like, as it will surely make them want to come again.


Published by Emma Lawson