Labor Day has come and gone. The kids are heading back to school, and summer is almost over. Depending on the weather in your area, it may feel like fall is already here. What does the changing season mean for your restaurant’s patio?

Patios are huge revenue boosters for bars and restaurants. In many regions of the country, however, outdoor seating is only popular during certain times of year. At CAKE, we just know there’s a way to maximize profits in every area of your restaurant, whatever the weather may be. This week, we’ll discuss the ways eateries around the nation are using technology, special events, and seasonal menu items to maximize patio revenue in all seasons.


Why Keep Your Patio Open?

Patios bring encourage casual customers to get a better look at the food, drinks, and vibe your restaurant offers. When patios aren’t well-attended, restaurants make less money and have a much harder time staying competitive.

Keeping your patio open is all about adjusting around the weather. Restaurants located in cities with dramatic seasonal changes should keep an eye on local weather reports – in extreme fall or winter weather, it may be necessary to close for a day or two. However, with a solid plan for dealing with inclement weather, restaurants can expect a much more predictable revenue stream from every seating area.

The 2017 fall season has brought unpredictable weather that is dramatically affecting people all over the nation. If your patio isn’t equipped to handle weather, you will always be at the mercy of the elements, and you may lose customers as a result.


Local Warming

There are many luxurious ways to prepare your patio for fall. Many of these tips involve investments – such as buying heating equipment and other climate controllers like fire, shade structures, and building additions. Over time, these investments will pay off in both profit and customer loyalty, as they extend the lives of patios and keep your patrons coming back year-round.

Propane heaters are one versatile option for heating outdoor areas. With so many options, you’ll be able to find one that works for a patio of any size. Safety-minded restaurateurs can rejoice knowing most outdoor propane heaters have passive safety controls and stay cool to the touch, so patrons and servers can move past them with ease.

Tents and other shade structures can also keep winter from coming into your patio area and scaring away customers. Semi-permanent structures give your patio space the option to add usable square footage to your restaurant without the expense of constructing a permanent addition.


The Fireplace To Be!

Fire draws people in like a moth to…well, you get the idea. Fire is dramatic and bold, and it dazzles people passing by with light and warmth. Portable fire pits, fire bowls, and outdoor fireplaces are all surging in popularity as restaurants continue to monetize outdoor spaces.

In the Twin Cities in Minnesota, patio season springs early with the use of fireplaces and fire pits, allowing restaurants with chilly northern weather to utilize more square footage of their restaurant throughout more of the year.

If you can’t spare the staff to tend a fireplace, you might consider an infrared heater. These devices work by warming nearby objects – like furniture and people – instead of the air around the heater. They can be used safely in sheltered areas, so you won’t have to worry about releasing smoke into the air.


Seasonal Specials

Keeping your patio open in colder weather is exciting. Your guests will be impressed that you know how to keep an outdoor space warm, so consider offering specials to showcase it. You might serve special menu items, like hot toddies or artisanal cocoa. You could even host a holiday party outside, with seasonal decorations like lights or hanging snowflakes.

With a cozy patio and some attention to detail, it’s easy to keep your guests engaged. And if you live in a place that suffers from cold or wet winters, the promise of fresh air for more than a few minutes will be enough to bring them into your restaurant no matter how bad the weather gets.