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Step Up Your Patio Game

10 Tips from Restaurant Pros on Preparing for Summer

As the only dedicated recruiter for the hospitality industry, we know the appeal and anxiety of patio season. When anyone asks for recommendations as to where they should enjoy drinks and a meal outside, we want people to mention your place. To make sure you kick off patio season without a hitch, here are a few tips from us at Clock’d.

  1. Update your POS and number your tables. Customers tend to camp and combine tables, and nothing is worse than being on a swing shift and having to play Clue to figure out who ordered what when it’s time to split the bill.

  2. Train all your open staff on the exact patio set up and station changes.

  3. Load up on ashtrays. Your dishwasher will appreciate fewer butts to clean out of the drain.

  4. Beautify the patio with potted plants and provide shade so your customers can dine outside without heat stroke.

  5. Invest in good heaters and make sure they work.

  6. Set a server station for the outside and make sure it is weatherproof. It ruins everyone’s experience when servers need to run 100 extra feet because there are not enough silverware rolls, water, or spare plates outside.

  7. Provide dog bowls, water and treats. Dog people with happy well-treated pets can be big business.

  8. Create a dedicated patio menu featuring quick seasonal appetizers and finger foods (hummus, quesadillas, etc.) to reduce ticket times and kitchen stress. Bonus benefit: diners feel enticed to come back to explore the expanded indoor menu.

  9. Co-brand with local producers on your patio menu. Give credit to where you source the produce, dairy, and meat so the patio feels all the more noteworthy for social media reviews.

  10. Finally, staff up with friendly talented FOH staff and extra talent in BOH. Opening up to patio season expands the dining capacity and rush hours for your establishment. Running too lean or with insufficient staff could turn a shiny happy patio season into the pits of despair.

Allow your customers to bask in the sun while enjoying braggable meals in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Preparing properly for patio season will create memorable dining experiences for your customers and glowing reviews online. So let's raise a glass to the beauty of the outdoors and the delicious success that goes along with it!

PS- if you need the right staff fast for your restaurant, bar, or catering business, don’t panic. Schedule a consultation with Clock’d today!


Marc LaPierre is a 10-year veteran of the food and hospitality industry, Certified Staffing Professional, and CEO/Founder of Clock’d + SEEN. From cooking in James Beard award-winning kitchens to opening and managing a nightclub in Mexico, he worked every job in the industry. Today he connects professionals looking to advance their careers with clients eager to find an all-star team.


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