One of the best things about the summer is relaxing on a restaurant or bar patio on a nice day or in the cool of the evening with a refreshing beverage in hand and a great meal to enjoy. If you want to give people amazing memories this season, give your patio some thought and look at what you can do to make the perfect patio experience for your guests.
With more competition in the hospitality industry than ever before, it’s critical that you take measures to optimize your guests’ patio experience and ensure they have the best possible time at your venue. There are some great spots in the Chicago area that are already offering up an amazing guest experience that you can learn from and be inspired by. Armed with new ideas and fresh inspiration, you will have all the knowledge you need to elevate your own outdoor space and ensure your customers come back time and time again.
5 Tips to Perfect your Guests’ Patio Experience at your Venue
Have A Winning Menu
Food and drink selection is the cornerstone of any patio experience. This should not come as a surprise but it can often be overlooked in the rush to add flashy touches to your outdoor spaces.
Keep the menu appetizing, new, and exciting for local diners. In Chicago, look for a local meat distributor that caters to trendy restaurants to make sure that you have steady access to the best cuts of meat in the city. Remember that summer is the time for light and fresh ingredients so, be sure to incorporate this concept into your menu. Aim to include some locally produced beverages that your guests will enjoy as well as a decent selection of imported drinks.
Remember, that the summer season can be busy so make sure that you keep an eye on your inventory to avoid running out of your best sellers. It’s important that your guests can enjoy your entire food and drinks menu and not just what you have in stock. Try adding some seasonal specials that feature locally sourced products to add another element to your customers’ patio experience.
For a great example of a fantastic menu coupled with a solid patio experience, check out Politan Row in the vibrant West Loop neighborhood of Chicago.
Stand Out From The Crowd
No matter how many people your outdoor space can hold, there are always plenty of things that you can do to create a unique setting and a relaxing ambiance for your customers. Aim to create an inviting outdoor area where people can come to escape and relax in an environment that is different from anywhere else in Chicago.
If you have the opportunity to create your outdoor space in a rooftop setting, this can be a great draw that will add a truly special vibe to the space. Having the ability to offer incredible views of the city is something that not every venue can do. On the other hand, if this isn’t possible, consider installing art features, adding greenery or implementing another strategy that will make your patio area stand out from the crowd. Let your creativity run wild and you can easily create an outdoor space that you can be proud of and that your guests will love.
Take a look at Orso’s Italian Restaurant for a good example of how you can create a unique space. While the patio does not have a view, the enclosed space offers a beautiful and rustic feel that allows guests can relax and dine in style. Featuring fresh, vibrant greenery in wooden boxes and ceramic pots mounted on the timber walls, accompanied by a ceiling of vines with ornate period style lighting suspended throughout the space, you feel like you have been transported to Italy in this unique and inviting area.
Be Creative With Your Patio Lighting
Lighting can make a dramatic difference in the overall patio experience. Depending on what atmosphere you are aiming to create, whether romantic, casual or a party vibe, the lighting that you install can have a big impact. Take some time to consider your options and find a solution that works with your overall theme.
The candlelight setting at Gather is a great example of an intimate and stylish experience that adds a touch of class and sophistication that small groups and couples will enjoy.
Consider The Weather
The weather can make or break outdoor dining during the summer season. Being exposed to rain can ruin an otherwise great afternoon or evening if you don’t have some sort of shelter in place. On the other hand, the sun can also become overbearing if your guests are sitting in direct sunlight for the entire course of a meal. To ensure your guests happy and comfortable through any weather conditions, make sure you have an adequate system in place to offer protection from the elements. Experiment with different materials and designs to find a way to protect your guests that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
If you’re on the way to a Cubs game, be sure to check out the 60-seater second-floor patio at Hotel Zachery. The venue shows how a stylish area can look great when covered, offering the perfect patio experience at any time.
Work With The Space
Sometimes the things that make a patio great are the extra touches that can naturally be worked into the natural flow of the space. Often times, these unique elements that make a space really stand out are reliant on the features or location of the space you are working with. For example, River North’s Bridge House Tavern offers fantastic views of the river where guests can enjoy watching the boats go by as they dine. ROOF on the Wit is located 27 stories above the city below, which creates a unique atmosphere in itself. And, the Old Grounds Social has created spaces within their outdoor space to accommodate a pool table, lawn games and seating for their guests to create a cool party atmosphere.
Consider what you are working with and what you can do to provide one or two distinct features about your patio experience that other bars and restaurants do not offer. This will increase the recognizability of your venue, bring in more business and help you build a solid base of return customers as your reputation grows.
Make It A Summer To Remember For Your Customers With the Perfect Patio Experience
Tourists and locals alike will flock to Chicago patios this summer season to enjoy delicious food, great drinks and good times. Make sure that you take steps to ensure that your patio will give them the best possible experience by creating a unique and inviting space that enhances the outdoor dining experience. There is no limit to what you can do to make your space stand out from the crowd. Seek out inspiration, let your creativity run wild and see where it takes you.