Patio-Perfect Dining for Challenger Brands

April 14, 2016 | blog | By Mike Sullivan


A nice day, good friends, and a cold drink in your hand, and you’ve got the makings for a picturesque restaurant experience and an atmosphere that’s considered by most to be ideal.

Outdoor seating can be the deciding factor for patrons who are ready to linger on a nice day or want to spend their lunch hour escaping to the outdoors, whether it’s a rooftop deck, sidewalk seating, or back patio. Maximizing your outdoor space can help your restaurant marketing compete head to head with the chain down the street. With that in mind, here are some ideas for creating outdoor dining delight for your guests:

Offer the same experience. Cut no corners when it comes to your outdoor seating compared to your indoor seating. If you offer cloth napkins indoors, use cloth napkins outdoors. Ensure the service is up to par with a dedicated staff who can attend to your outdoor diners’ needs.

Extend your décor. Your outdoor furniture and décor should also be an extension of your restaurant’s atmosphere and brand experience. Outdoor seating can appear formal or casual depending on how you set the stage.

Prevent pests. Beautiful landscaping and potted plants can make your patio inviting, but avoid bee-attracting plants such as those from the mint family, lavender, larkspur, monkshood, monarda, columbine, and snapdragons. Also, with growing fears of mosquito-borne illness, it’s wise to consider a mosquito repellent solution such as a spray to keep the pests at bay.

Just add water—or fire. Humans are drawn to water or fire. Add a trickling fountain or a crackling fire, and we all want to get close, preferably with drink in hand.

Install heaters and fans. A few well-placed heaters and fans can extend the life of your outdoor space beyond the seasonal changes and keep guests comfortable.

Provide cover. An awning or table umbrellas will protect guests from undesired sun exposure and light mist or rain.

Offer patio specials. Patio traffic slow? Draw guests outside with dedicated drink or appetizer specials.

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Be kid friendly. Outdoor spaces are magnets for families looking for a space where children can roam without bothering other guests. You can cater to this audience by offering sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or even just a few toys and a fenced area. Parents will thank you, and they’ll return.

Entertain with live music. Live music can set just the right tone, whether it’s a harpist, guitar player or even a full musical ensemble.

Warm weather is here and it’s time to think about creating an outdoor atmosphere that will keep your customers coming back over and over again.


restaurant marketing

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.