With summer in full swing, pets and people alike are beginning to adventure outdoors to soak up the sun. Restaurants are cleaning off their patios and opening them up to customers to enjoy their meals in the fresh air. A number of them are welcoming furry friends onto their patios to enjoy a meal beside their human companions or to just kick back with a bowl of water.
When restaurants choose to welcome dogs, there can be some surprising benefits. Not only does it add a unique signature to the restaurant, the decision to welcome pets to some extent could be noticed by some of the 37%-47% of American households with dogs in them.
Here are 5 perks to having a pet-friendly restaurant.
1. It Makes for a Fun Environment
Morristown Deli in New Jersey is no stranger to the vibrant energy dogs bring to restaurants. Just look at their Facebook cover photo!
They know how to create an atmosphere that is a ton of fun for for all who dine there. Uniquely, this deli has booster seats to allow small, well-behaved pups at the table! Alternatively, a big pup gets a doggie mat.
Morristown Deli really goes all-out for their furry customers by offering doggie appetizers, meals, desserts, and cucumber water (colored pink or blue depending on the pooch’s gender). These small touches create a setting for all to enjoy. Even those who don’t have dogs dining with them can delight in making new friends with nearby animals. This pet-friendly restaurant certainly has created a great environment for pets and their owners.
2. It Brings in More Customers
Folks might be traveling with their furry friends, venturing out to enjoy nice weather, or taking a morning stroll to the park. In all cases, outdoor pet-friendly patios may open up an opportunity that may not have otherwise been available.
Rouge in Philadelphia sees a high volume of pet owning customers because of their proximity to Rittenhouse Square, which also welcomes four-legged visitors. Tired after a saunter through the Square, a guest may decide that upscale cuisine with their pup by their side is just what the day calls for.
3. It Enhances Social Media Presence
It’s a fact, people LOVE social media, especially when pictures of animals and food are involved. Whether it’s a restaurant owner or a customer posting pictures, they’re sure to garner attention. What a better way to generate buzz around your restaurant than a customer Instagramming a picture of their adorable Boston Terrier indulging in a sorbet on a warm summer day?
JP Licks, the Boston-centered ice cream chain offers a treat made just for pooches: Cow Paws Peanut Butter and Honey Sorbet topped with a mini dog bone cookie.
4. It Provides Opportunities to Host Creative Events
There’s lots of room to be inventive when expanding the customer base to also welcome dogs. Some restaurants host bark-mitzvahs, bow-vow weddings, and bark-day parties. Seemingly most popular, though, is Yappy Hour, which is an easy way to spice up the typical Happy Hour.
5. Dog-Friendly Menus Items Generate Revenue
Capitalizing on the additional customers that pet-friendly restaurants bring in, some cater special menu items to dogs. With a bit of simple menu engineering for pet-specific food, restaurants can see a slew of new orders and customers .
Nauti Dawg Marina Cafe in Lighthouse Point, Florida has a whole menu titled “K9 Cuisine” that is specifically made for “man’s best friend.” They have items ranging from scrambled eggs to Mahi. These menu items (bacon, eggs, hamburger meat) use ingredients that they already have in-house, making it easier to offer a wider menu and bringing in more revenue.
The Pawsitives and Negatives
Although welcoming four-legged friends on restaurant patios has its pawsitives, there are certainly some downfalls.
Pooches that are not well-behaved around other people, especially children, may bite, fight, make a mess, or even use the patio as a bathroom! Dogs also may get in the way of people eating their food or wander in the path of waiters serving. Although patios can be dog-friendly, state and federal health codes restrict pets from “the premises of a food establishment.” Restaurants have to walk a fine line when choosing to open their patios to pets.
Some ways to avoid these potential downfalls are to highlight featured pet days/hours and make a pets vs. no pets area for customers who might be allergic or might not want to share their meals alongside something with four legs. Keep in mind those who may not take too kindly to your pet-friendly initiative, and consider them in your decision!
But, all in all, pups that are welcome on the outskirts of restaurants can bring with them a certain air of joy and excitement.