Get ready for the great outdoors! With warmer weather approaching, al fresco dining will allow restaurants to serve more customers during the pandemic safely.
After a long winter inside, patrons are seeking exciting and safe dining experiences – so it’s time to prepare your menu. As state restrictions lift and more people get vaccinated, consumers are feeling more comfortable gathering with family and friends. According to Datassential, about half of today’s consumers feel safest when eating outdoors in the current Covid environment. Outdoor dining and warmer weather are the perfect reason for your patrons to visit while maintaining social distancing.
Many operators are still working with limited ingredients back-of-house, so consider scaling down your outdoor dining menu to house favorites and several trendy dishes that will draw a crowd. Leverage versatile ingredients you already have on-hand to prepare fresh takes on both food and beverage. For example, McCormick Culinary® Black Pepper and Frank’s RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce are just a few ingredients that can be used across multiple menu categories while not taking up too much space back-of-house.
For starters, add a few shareable plates to the menu that groups can safely enjoy together, such as tacos, flatbreads, sliders, and charcuterie boards.
And what are shareable apps without a fresh cocktail or mocktail? Stock the bar with classic cocktails for the traditionalists, or add some flair to your menu with drinks like a Black Pepper Date Cocktail and Easy Smoky Margarita for the adventurists. You can also pair cocktails together on a flight as a fun way for patrons to sample the beverage menu. Creative beverages are a great way to increase your average check and keep the crowds happy.
Patios, decks, and lawns will be packed this spring and summer, so make sure your kitchen is stocked and staff are trained. Implementing these tips is sure to help boost your outdoor dining menu, drive patron excitement, and increase foot traffic.