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Outdoor Restaurant Ideas

The COVID-19 pandemic has dram...

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the restaurant industry, and outdoor dining has become increasingly popular due to its lower risk of transmission. 

As a result, many restaurant owners are looking for creative ways to enhance their outdoor dining spaces and attract customers.

We'll explore outdoor restaurant ideas to help owners create an enjoyable and unique customer experience. 

From outdoor seating arrangements to lighting and décor, these ideas can help restaurants create an inviting and memorable outdoor dining atmosphere.

Create a Beer Garden 

A beer garden allows customers to enjoy a cold beer in a relaxing and comfortable environment. This setting is perfect for unwinding and socializing with friends or colleagues.

To create a beer garden, the first step is to choose the perfect outdoor space. The space should have enough room for tables, chairs, and a bar area. 


Adding awnings, umbrellas, and heating lamps can give customers a comfortable experience in any weather condition. 

The décor should be kept simple and rustic, with wooden picnic tables, beer barrels, and fairy lights to create an inviting and relaxed atmosphere.

A beer garden should also feature a variety of local, national, and international beers, focusing on craft beers. 

The beer selection should cater to all tastes and preferences, with options ranging from light and refreshing to full-bodied and complex. 

It is also essential to offer a selection of non-alcoholic options such as sodas, juices, and mocktails. 

In addition, you should incorporate live music or other forms of entertainment to create a lively and enjoyable atmosphere.

Add a Fire Pit

Adding a fire pit can be an excellent outdoor restaurant idea that gives customers a welcoming atmosphere to dine and relax. 

Fire pits serve a functional purpose while adding ambiance to your outdoor dining area.

They are perfect for customers who want to enjoy a meal or drink while staying warm and cozy. 

The warmth from the fire pit will provide a comfortable environment for your customers to linger and enjoy their time in your restaurant.

Fire pits come in various sizes and styles, so choosing one that suits your restaurant's theme and atmosphere is essential. 

A simple fire pit with a metal bowl and gravel base can be a low-cost option, while a custom-built fire pit with seating can be more expensive. 

In either case, following local fire codes and safety guidelines is important when installing a fire pit.

To make the most of a fire pit, consider creating a dedicated seating area around it with comfortable outdoor furniture such as chairs, benches, or even Adirondack chairs. 

You can also add blankets or pillows to make the seating area more comfortable and inviting for customers. 

This will help create an intimate space for customers to gather and relax around the fire pit.

Utilize Rooftop Space

If you have access to a rooftop space, it's a great way to maximize the use of space in urban areas where ground-level outdoor dining may not be possible. 

A rooftop dining area can also provide stunning views of the cityscape or other surroundings, adding an extra element of ambiance to the dining experience.

To establish a rooftop dining area, first, ensure the building can support the weight of restaurant equipment, seating, and customers. 

Then, consult a structural engineer to assess the building's ability to support the weight and ensure that the rooftop meets all necessary safety codes and regulations.

Use outdoor furniture and décor that can withstand exposure to the elements, such as weather-resistant tables and chairs and durable, all-weather outdoor lighting. 

Additionally, consider adding shade sails or umbrellas to protect diners from the sun's rays and provide a more comfortable dining experience.

Add Entertainment 

An inviting outdoor entertainment area can draw customers and encourage them to return. 

The entertainment area can be used for various activities like live music, movie nights, or sports screenings. 

The area can be designed to fit the restaurant's theme and create an inviting atmosphere.

The area should also have appropriate lighting and seating arrangements to ensure that customers are comfortable and can enjoy the entertainment. 

Additionally, the area should be equipped with the necessary technology, such as speakers and screens, to enhance the customer's experience.

Overall, creating an outdoor entertainment area can be a valuable investment for a restaurant.

A well-designed and equipped entertainment area can provide customers with a unique and enjoyable experience, attracting them to return and recommend the restaurant to others.

Add Outdoor Games

Incorporating outdoor games is an excellent way to entice customers to your restaurant and keep them entertained while awaiting their orders.

Outdoor games can be anything from classic games like cornhole and horseshoes to more unique games like giant Jenga and Connect Four. Providing a variety of games can appeal to a wide range of customers, from families with children to young adults looking for a fun night out.

When choosing outdoor games for your restaurant, consider the space you have available and the demographic of your customers. 

For example, if you have ample outdoor space and cater to a younger crowd, consider games like beer pong or spike ball. 

However, if your outdoor area is more limited and you cater to families, consider games like giant tic-tac-toe or ring toss.

Investing in high-quality outdoor games can be a worthwhile expense for your business. 

Look for durable and weather-resistant games to ensure they can withstand the elements and heavy use. 

Additionally, consider branding the games with your restaurant's logo or colors to create a unique and memorable customer experience.

Outdoor games can also be used to host events and competitions, which can draw in even more customers and create a sense of community around your restaurant. 

Picnic Area

Establishing a picnic area is an ideal outdoor restaurant concept that fosters a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for guests.

A picnic area can be made in different ways, depending on the available space and the restaurant's overall design. 

The area can be as simple as an ample grassy space or a more sophisticated setting with picnic tables, blankets, and baskets.

One way to create a picnic area is to use a corner of the outdoor space and set up a few picnic tables, each with an umbrella for shade. 

This will provide guests with a space to sit and enjoy their food while enjoying the fresh air. 

Adding colorful tablecloths, flowers, and decorations can enhance the picnic vibe and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Another option is to provide guests with picnic baskets to take to a secluded spot on the grounds. 

The baskets can include sandwiches, salads, fruits, and desserts. The restaurant can also offer blankets and cushions for a more comfortable seating experience.

The picnic area can also be created by using benches and tables that can be easily moved around the space. 

This option is ideal for small outdoor spaces as it provides flexibility in setting up the seating area.

Overall, creating a picnic area provides guests a unique and relaxed dining experience, especially during the warmer months. 

It is a fun and casual way to enjoy good food and great company while being outdoors. It is also a perfect opportunity for customers to create memorable moments with friends and family.

Use the Patio

A patio is an excellent space for outdoor dining ideas. First, consider the size of the patio and how many tables and chairs can fit comfortably. 

Then, you can add a mix of high-top tables, regular tables, and lounge seating to give your customers plenty of options.

Next, consider the atmosphere of the patio. You can add string lights, lanterns, or candles for ambient lighting. 

You can add plants and flowers to create a natural and inviting space. Add umbrellas or canopies for shade if the patio is exposed to the sun.

You can also offer outdoor entertainment such as live music, trivia nights, or movie screenings to make the most of your patio space. 

This can draw in more customers and create a fun and lively atmosphere.

Regarding food and drink, consider offering a separate menu for the patio with items that are easy to eat outdoors, such as sandwiches, salads, and finger foods. 

You can also provide a selection of refreshing drinks, such as iced tea, lemonade, and cocktails.

Lastly, make sure to have proper heating and cooling systems in place for your patio. 

This will ensure that your customers are comfortable no matter the weather. With the proper setup, your patio can become a popular outdoor dining and entertainment spot.

Food Truck

Slaunching a food truck is a creative approach to establishing an outdoor restaurant.

Food truck expenses are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a unique dining experience and are often seen as more affordable than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. 

To start setting up a food truck, you must research the local regulations and obtain the necessary licenses and permits.

Once the legalities are sorted, you can customize your food truck to fit your brand and menu. 

This could include adding signage, painting the truck in your brand colors, and outfitting the interior with cooking equipment and storage. 

Your menu will also need to be designed to fit the limited space of a food truck kitchen while still offering a variety of options for your customers.

When choosing a location for your food truck, it's important to consider foot traffic, visibility, and competition. 

Start by setting up at local festivals, events, and farmers' markets to build a following and gain exposure. 

You could also partner with local breweries or wineries to offer food at their tasting rooms or set up in popular downtown areas.

One of the advantages of a food truck is that it can be mobile, allowing you to take your business on the road and reach a wider audience. 

This also means you can adjust your location based on demand and seasonality. 

However, it's crucial to have a reliable vehicle and a solid plan for logistics, such as stocking inventory, handling waste, and maintaining equipment. 

Overall, setting up a food truck can be a cost-effective and exciting way to create an outdoor restaurant.

Final Thoughts 

A range of outdoor restaurant ideas can elevate the customer dining experience. 

From creating a beer garden to setting up a food truck, each idea has its own unique appeal that can attract a different segment of the market. 

Offering outdoor seating options can also greatly increase customer capacity and revenue, especially in the current climate where outdoor dining has become increasingly popular. 

As restaurants continue to adapt and innovate to meet the demands of their customers, implementing creative outdoor dining ideas can help them stay ahead of the competition and provide a memorable experience for their patrons.


Spring Nee

Spring Nee is an outdoor furniture expert with 18 years of experience.


She has extensive experience in outdoor design, including choosing furniture materials, following trends, and adding useful elements.


As a thought leader in the outdoor furniture industry, Spring has been a regular contributor to various blogs, magazines, and design forums

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