We’ve all missed eating out. Due to the pandemic, most of us would rather have the meals delivered at home. Some opted to go for meals while others just cooked their own food.
One of the recommendations to safely eat out is to limit the number of people in restaurants. Outdoor dining is also much preferred. Food trucks have an edge here as they do mostly have outdoor seating for customers. Do you have an outdoor dining option for your customers? If you still haven’t, then continue reading because we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make that a successful one.
Outdoor Dining Options For Food Trucks
There are many outdoor dining options for food trucks. Some really don’t have one and would just rely on the natural grass located in front of their food truck. If your food truck is near a park, then customers could find their own seat throughout the park. However, it would also be best if you could offer outdoor seating, even if it is limited.
Some outdoor dining areas are quite simple. They can be a few tables and chairs in a sidewalk space. Others can be more extravagant. Nevertheless, the presence of these outdoor dining options is more inviting rather than just having your food truck. Before you head out and build your outdoor dining area for customers, here are a few tips to remember:
Rules And Regulations About Outdoor Seating
The first thing you have to do before you even try to create and design your outdoor dining space is to know the rules and regulations regarding it. Local, state, and federal rules should all be considered.
Remember that the guidelines for outdoor seating can vary from one state to another. Learning the rules and getting the permits you need should be your priority. You don’t want to get in trouble just because you want your customers to be more comfortable.
In relation to the rules and regulations, you should also know a few details. Learn if it is okay to serve alcohol or not. Should you have a designated smoking area? How about the noise that your customers might make? Are you going to get in trouble for that?
Outdoor Seating During The Pandemic
Providing outdoor dining can help attract customers to purchase from your food truck post-quarantine. Outdoor and open space is advisable for dining in. However, you should still abide by the local rules applicable at this time.
Some places may still not allow outdoor dining, especially when in the middle of a quarantine period. Make sure that you are always updated whether you are going to have outdoor dining options in private or public areas.
Rules like having a 6-feet distance between customers may apply. In some areas, the local government allows the use of full sidewalks to accommodate the 6-feet distance requirement. Check to make the most out of your outdoor space.
Also remember that if you are going to use sidewalks, there will be pedestrians that would use them too. Check to see if you could use barriers to separate the pedestrians from the diners. In that way, there would still be allotted space for the pedestrians and the diners would feel safer because fewer people would be passing by their tables.
Remember to always keep your staff protected. It is best to use disposables and to sanitize the dining tables for every new customer. You could also provide sanitizers or wash stations so your customers will feel safer dining out.
Design The Layout
Are you going to simply provide outdoor seats or are you going to add other items to make the atmosphere more inviting? You can add decorations or interactive areas to attract more customers but that could also reduce the capacity of your outdoor seating.
Apart from the layout, you should also carefully select what type of furniture and decor you use. It should be easy to clean and not too bulky because you have limited space.
To create a better atmosphere for your outdoor dining area, you can use bright colors to attract the eyes. Canopies and other decors that are eye-catching can help attract more customers. You can also add lights especially if you operate during the night as well. These should also be cohesive with the design of your food truck.
Prepare For Unexpected Weather
You just can’t predict when it’s going to rain or shower. That’s one of the challenges of providing outdoor dining. You can use shade sails or huge umbrellas to provide cover against rain or the intense heat of the sun.
If your food truck operates until nighttime, you may also want to provide a way to counter the chilly nights. Heaters would be great, some would even enjoy the natural bonfire. However, you should still check if that is allowed in your area.
Pests can also be a problem with outdoor dining. You should prepare to combat them to avoid unsanitary consequences. Prepare for flying insects, birds, squirrels or other stray animals. Ants and other bugs can be attracted to sweets so always check your pantry.
Routine cleaning is one of the best ways to avoid pest infestations. Uneaten food can attract various insects and animals so make sure to get rid of them immediately. Even food bits that have fallen on the floor should be swept away immediately to avoid attracting them.