The Lot: Extending the dining room
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John McBride is managing partner of The Lot, a new restaurant in Dallas that has 124 seats inside and an additional 54 sets on a screened in porch and 80 seats in a beer garden.
McBride offers two best practices for successful patio operations:
Have dedicated patio staff. “Treat the patio as an extension of your dining room with its own stations,” McBride said.
“Often, a patio becomes a station where a waiter is told to ‘pick up’ the table in addition to serving their inside station,” he said. “My experience says that whenever you have a wall that divides a station, especially inside and outside, the service easily slips. Dedicating staff to the patio is essential for its success. A patio is difficult to schedule, especially with the weather changes, but a properly staffed patio is a successful patio.”
Bring good feelings and sounds to guests. McBride also suggested patios include comfortable seating and good music. “Plastic chairs, plastic tables and an added speaker might be a budget decision,” he said, “but the guest notices and appreciates a patio that ‘feels and sounds’ good.”
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