What size does your restaurant patio space need to be? Incorporating a covered outdoor dining patio area is an easy way to extend your usable square footage. But how much space can you maximize? You can determine your ideal patio and commercial aluminum pergola dimensions by following a few general sizing rules.

Outdoor Dining Patio Design Guidelines

To avoid creating a small space that feels crowded a cramped, an overly large patio that drains your ROI, or an obstacle course for customers and servers, we offer these tips to help you conquer restaurant patio design obstacles:

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Check local zoning first
Contacting your local building department before planning can help you avoid expensive planning blunders. They will provide essential information regarding setbacks, COVID rules, and other regulations that will affect your commercial patio design’s final footprint.

Sketch it out
Creating a paper or cut out scaled plan of your design on graph paper can be a great tool to help you play with different furniture and design possibilities, identify the pitfalls of your potential layout, and recognize areas of opportunity.

Determine your preferred table size & seating arrangement
Consider who your establishment caters to, setting the stage for interaction on your patio with the right patio table size and ample space for traffic flow:

  • Bistro dining for two
    Bistro setups require about 2 ½ feet of space beyond the table’s edge to ensure sufficient chair and circulation space. Planning on a minimum of 6 x 8 feet per table is best for comfort and accessibility.
  • Square and round table settings for 4-6 people
    Designs incorporating round and square table styles for seating 4-6 patrons should plan on each table taking up a minimum 10 ½ x 10 ½ foot space. A larger 12 x 12 area, however, would offer improved comfort and traffic flow.
  • Arrangements for large parties
    Larger tables often vary in size and shape. As a general rule, plan on a 3 x 3 space for each chair surrounding large outdoor tables.
  • Movable vs. built-in seating
    For patron comfort, movable seating surpasses built-in seating for versatility and comfort.

Incorporate standout fire features carefully
A fire feature is an excellent way to draw attention to your business. Like other furnishings, it must also be carefully sized to your space. Ensure safety and comfort, budgeting a distance of at least 2 ½ feet between the feature and seating for comfort, and more room surrounding larger features.
Plan extra space around surrounding doorways
Be sure to budget additional space in seating areas adjacent to doorways, giving servers ample room to wrangle food without dropping it on unsuspecting guests.

Tips for Enhancing the Patio Dining Experience

  • Open up the space with greenery
    Small trees and plants along walls can make your patio space feel larger and more welcoming.
  • Guard against chair pushback incidents
    Protect plants and dangerous/fragile features from chair pushbacks with strategically placed low stone borders.
  • Ensure year-round use with a louvered pergola addition
    Unlike flimsy umbrellas and awnings, which won’t stand up to Denver winds, StruXure aluminum pergolas are up to the task. Sleek and stylish, StruXure louvered pergolas offer versatile, effective year-round shelter, allowing you to cater to diners earlier in the spring and later in the fall and winter. Open to the warmth of sunlight in cool fall weather, dial-in the perfect amount of shade on hot summer days, or close louvers for leakproof rain protection. Our commercial pergolas can be designed to your exact specifications, taking up minimal floor space, beginning with a 12 x 12 minimum size.
  • Enhance privacy while maintaining airflow
    Enhance privacy and fight pests and germs, incorporating motorized screens into your pergola system. Surround the perimeter of your dining space, or create seating zones, providing a feeling of privacy while maintaining fresh airflow.

Ensure a successful restaurant patio design. Maximize your return-on-investment with help from the pros at Denver Pergola Systems. Contact us to learn more about boosting your revenue stream with an outdoor covered seating area. Schedule a complimentary design consultation today.

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