As many restaurants re-open or prepare to re-open, expanded use of patio dining is part of many plans. In addition to the myriad of health and public safety guidelines you must follow, keep in mind this tried-and-true checklist to help you prepare for serving guests outside:
- How are your flowers, plants, trees and landscaping holding up to the elements? Do they need a facelift or a simple pruning?
- What is the “sun factor” for any areas affected by direct sunlight? Prepare for those rays with awnings and umbrellas in the right places.
- If you have a large insect population in your area, consider constructing a screened dining area or installing bug zappers (check state and local health codes).
- Make sure your chairs, tables and utensils are “wind proof.” Use napkin rollups to prevent strong winds from carrying away utensils and napkins. Weight down table bases with sandbags or metal weights.
- Are your electrical outlets waterproof? Make sure you have enough waterproof outlets to accommodate your outdoor POS systems, outdoor buffets, chafing dishes and lighting sources.
Employee Training for Patio Dining
Train all employees prior to having them serve in your patio dining areas. Focus on these areas:
- Sales and service. There’s something about summer fun in the sun, and newfound freedom, that will make people want to indulge a little more than they used to. Make sure your staff is prepared to take full advantage of this by knowing how to make sales suggestions that improve the overall dining experience.
- Logistics. Employees may encounter situations outside they’d never think about in the dining room. For example, train your employees to use highly absorbent terry cloth towels — not table linen — to wipe up rain puddles or outdoor spills.
- Weather emergencies. You should have an emergency plan in place to care for your customers during a sudden rain shower or extreme weather. Make sure all your employees are trained on how to safely and quickly handle changes in the weather.
Online Restaurant Training
The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.