Summer Season Preparation: Maximise Your Space and Make Room for Walk-ins

Summer Season Preparation: Maximise Your Space and Make Room for Walk-ins

Summer is one of the busiest times of year for hospitality venues. Here are four tips to help you maximise table bookings and run a smooth service.

As the temperature rises in the summer season and people begin to seek more outdoor dining experiences, restaurant and bar owners have a great opportunity to capitalise on extra space – and that can lead to big increases in revenue along with happy (and full) customers.

So, how do you make sure you’re making the most of every table booking and walk-in diners? We’ve got four top tips for you with insights from our latest survey of hospitality venue operators and diners alike. Try some of these super strategies for your own summer space planning.

Don’t forget to grab our full guide to summer for hospitality venues with so many more vital insights and hot tips right here!


Patio perfection_ Summer success calls for flexible outdoor seating

Tip #1: Patio perfection: Summer success calls for flexible outdoor seating

If your venue has outdoor dining space, then this one should be a no-brainer for increasing your seating capacity (and in turn your potential for table bookings) and adding a unique experience to set you apart from the competition.

According to our survey, most people (71%) prefer eating outside during the warm summer months, and almost everyone (92%) agreed that eating and drinking outdoors is preferable when the weather is nice.

So, an outdoor space could be essential for your venue and ensuring it’s built to delight diners will be too. Rooftop patios are the most popular with 55% of those under the age of 34, and waterside dining is close behind (43%), but ultimately, the vast majority enjoys eating outside in the sun!

That’s what diners think, but what does the data say? Review your booking data from previous years to assess how popular your outdoor tables were and other trends like group sizes, popular times, and average spend. You can use that information to make data-based decisions when you re-think your space.

Did you know that ResDiary can work with more than 60 different integrated partners to bring vital data from your essential systems together?


Making the most of the great outdoors_  summer space tips for hospitality venues

Tip #2: Indoor appeal with an outdoor feel: How table management tools can help you create the perfect seating plan

Two-thirds (66%) of venue operators surveyed say they repurpose space for the summer months, whether it’s a garden, the pavement, a courtyard, or even a rooftop terrace. Is there any unused or underutilised space in your venue that could be transformed into a new dining area?

Operators we spoke to said repurposing an area for the summer added, on average, 45% additional space to their venue – so, for example, if you normally have ten tables of four, that's an opportunity for four-and-a-half extra tables or 18 additional covers- and that means more happy diners and extra revenue opportunities!

Take a strategic look at how your tables are set-up and see if there are opportunities to add more seats by moving things around.

Consider options like moving furniture outside or purchasing tables that can be ideal for couples or as communal tables, specifically for your outdoor space. This will allow you to be flexible and things can be easily rearranged to accommodate groups of varying sizes, adding extra covers, meaning extra revenue. 

The right table management system, like ResDiary’s, can help you organise your table plan to make the most of your available space and maximise your potential for table bookings.

You can create segments both indoors and outdoors, and set specific booking rules for each section. This includes setting up priority as to which tables should sell first, and importantly, create automatic joins to keep your seating plan flexible.

The best bit is that you only need to do this once. Once you’ve set the rules, you can simply switch them on or off whenever you need to. ResDiary does the rest in capturing and managing your summer bookings. Find out more and see it in action!


Successfully ride the wave of more walk-ins this summer

Tip #3: Ride the wave of walk-ins on busy summer days

As our survey found, 84% of venues seat more walk-ins during the summer season than at any other time of the year, and most agree (73%) that things get busier when it’s warm and sunny outside.

That’s great news, assuming your venue is well prepared to ride the wave of walk-ins on busy summer days.

Anyone who’s worked in hospitality will know that walk-in diners can bring vital revenue when you’re not fully booked. But they can also create chaos when you’ve got a packed restaurant with hungry customers and a queue forming out the door. And there’s perhaps no worse feeling than directing potential sales straight back out of your establishment.

You can take control by ensuring you’ve captured as many summer table bookings in advance as you possibly can - we’ll talk about planning promotions and special menus next. But it’s also inevitable that walk-in traffic will be on its way this summer, and there is a way you can create a better experience for your staff and potential customers alike. 

The ResDiary restaurant booking system makes it easy for your team to see what tables are available, what bookings you have coming up, and easily add walk-in customers when there is space. Plus, our W8List feature means you’ll never miss a booking opportunity, even if you are full. W8List is designed to help restaurant operators efficiently manage their waiting list, and in doing so, drive profit and improve yields.

Now you can save the chaos and form an orderly queue, for a smoother and more profitable service!


Effective summer promotion tips for outdoor dining

Tip #4: Effective summer promotion tips for outdoor dining

Laying the groundwork for a great meal or drinks outdoors is a big part of summer preparation for hospitality venues. But attracting diners and drinkers can be tough when you’re surrounded by stiff competition. Venues need to actively promote their al fresco dining experience they’re providing to make the most out of the summer months.

This may start with you updating your menu for food and drinks, or setting up special offers to entice your target audience - this is a tactic employed by most venue operators (75%). Use social media to show off your outdoor experience, and email your existing customers who are more likely to book again if they already enjoyed your venue in the past. You can create and send promotions directly from your booking system with ResDiary! 

Interestingly, 68% of operators said local events taking place makes them busier during the summer. So, be sure to leverage everything that’s going on around you or come up with ideas for your own events to attract customers this summer.

If your outdoor space is particularly pretty, be sure to include new photos, then highlight those pics along with any summer menu specials or upcoming events to attract all those patio-seeking patrons.

Again, the more early table bookings you can acquire, the more time you’ll have to prepare your space and your team for a smooth and profitable service on those long summer days.

Take a look at these top tips to attract diners by spicing up. your menu and make your venue a true summer hot spot!


Be prepared  for longer busier days

The key to elevating your dining experience this summer

Proactively preparing your venue for the busy summer season and maximising your dining space can help you create memorable dining experiences for your customers while ramping up your revenue.

Take advantage of the hot summer days and nights by using your outdoor dining space to its full potential to ensure you have a successful summer season.

For more ways to improve the room in your restaurant and send your profits soaring, check out ResDiary’s full guide on gearing up for a successful summer.

Download the complete guide to summer success for hospitality venues