Hot Dog Days of Summer

Hot Dog Days Of Summer
The steaks are high (but so are the prices for ribs, sausages, poultry, and sides)! So just how will you keep your costs down while serving up quality al-fresco experiences in the coming warm months?

The many benefits of adding extra seating in the sunshine, or even moonlight, are not limited to just a vitamin D boost or a howling good time. With so many folks considering this growing patio dining trend as a healthier alternative, it is sure to lead to greater customer satisfaction and higher staff morale (i.e., tips). The increased capacity can lead to minimizing waste and better inventory control. Enhancing your venue’s versatility could provide the ripple effects of curbside visibility — enticing additional patrons, and increasing your regulars’ visit frequency.

There’s a lot to consider when moving your operation out of doors. Here are a few suggestions that should be on your shortlist:

Consideration #1: The Space & Place

Consideration #1: The Space & Place</p>
Once you’ve identified where you will be establishing your celebratory space under the sky, you’ll need to decide on the scope of it. Will the space be strictly dedicated to seating, or will cooking outdoors take place too? How many seats can reasonably be added? How about drink service? Will you implement an outdoor bar in your plans as well? What day parts will you serve, and how will you handle inclement weather interruptions? Will the outside menu maintain your standard fare, or will you limit the offerings?

Consideration #2: Budget & Planning

After establishing a budget, and navigating any regulatory issues, formal plans should be drawn up. Now would be a good time to bear in mind any expansion possibilities in the coming years. High priority, for both now and in the future, should be given to accommodating utilities, table-bussing issues, and wind & weather considerations. Building in modularity here will be a major asset. Keep in mind that the versatile spaces you are creating might also be able to be reconfigured for special events.

Outside Dining

Consideration #3: Choose The Right Equipment & Furnishings

Purpose-built appliances and furnishings are essential to your success in an open-air operation. Flexibility is key in selecting durable lightweight chairs, weatherproof tables & umbrellas, and specialized wait stations. Cooking equipment should be wind-resistant and powerful enough for in-the-weeds performance, while attractive enough to be in full view of hungry patrons awaiting their meal service. Visit our Culinary Experience for an equipment consultation and to test equipment for your unique needs.  

Avoiding line-of-sight issues (with stations that would normally be back-of-house) can be a challenge, as can pest control in this open space environment. Lighting, flooring, sight & sound attenuation, and decor all come into play here as they would in your indoor dining areas.

When the weather begins to turn, will you be adding heaters to extend the season as it wanes (or get an early jump on the spring)? Speaking of the off-season for outdoor dining, there are several items to look out for here as well. Upon winding down where will you be storing and/or securing your furnishings and equipment? Some appliances can stay in place but must be thoroughly cleaned (refrigeration condensers, grease drawers etc.), drained, and serviced at the season’s conclusion.

All in all, the grill of your dreams will need a long winter’s nap so that it can awaken again in time for a successful spring forward.

Summer BBQ

Whether you are considering a sidewalk café, poolside dining, extra seating in your parking lot, a rooftop bar, or finally furnishing the patio, Pecinka Ferri has your back. See and taste how it all pulls together at our Hot Dog Days of Summer Barbecue on June 13th at the Culinary Experience in Fairfield, NJ.

See event details and register today!