As a coffee shop owner, you know how important your patio space is during the warmer months. Customers flock to sit outside, soaking in the sun and fresh air as they sip their lattes and munch on scones. But what happens when the temperature starts to drop? You don't want your patio to become a ghost town just because there's a chill in the air. The good news is with a few easy tweaks you can winterize your coffee shop patio and keep your regulars coming back all season long.
Get Ready for Colder Weather With Heated Patios
The colder months don’t have to mean the end of enjoying your coffee shop’s patio. With a few modifications,
you can keep customers coming even when there’s a chill in the air.
Invest in Patio Heaters
Propane heaters are an excellent way to warm up your patio. Freestanding units can heat areas up to 20 feet in diameter and are easy to move around. Mounted heaters attach to walls or ceilings and direct heat downwards. Either type will allow customers to comfortably sit outside for hours.
Add a Fire Pit
A wood-burning fire pit creates an inviting ambiance for any season. The dancing flames will keep customers warm while the crackling fire provides an authentic outdoor experience. For easier maintenance, opt for a propane model with faux wood logs.
Provide Extra Comforts
Give your customers cozy extras like plush blankets, mittens, scarves or wrap them in warmth with a basket of additional accessories. Thermal mugs for hot beverages are another thoughtful touch.
With heaters creating a comfortable climate, the glow of a fire pit and extra comforts to bundle up in, your patio will become a year-round hot spot for enjoying coffee and conversations. Customers will appreciate your effort to keep the patio experience going strong, even when temperatures drop.
By making a few adaptations, you can ensure your coffee shop’s patio stays a welcoming place for customers to gather any time of year.
Offer Cozy Blankets and Heat Lamps for Customers
To keep customers coming to your coffee shop patio this winter, make it as cozy and welcoming as possible.
Offer Cozy Blankets and Heat Lamps
Blankets, pillows and outdoor heaters can transform your patio into a comfortable winter refuge. Stock your outdoor furniture with warm fleece blankets, flannel sheets and plush pillows. Your customers will appreciate the extra warmth and comfort.
Install outdoor patio heaters, like propane heat lamps or infrared heaters. Place them strategically around the patio so customers feel the warmth no matter where they sit. For larger patios, consider industrial sized heaters. While they require a bigger initial investment, they heat much bigger areas.
Suggest that customers bundle up in warm layers, hats, scarves and gloves. Remind them of your patio heaters and blankets in your social media posts and ads. Let them know you've got them covered if they want to enjoy your patio this winter.
Serve Warm Drinks
Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or cider on a cold day. Feature warm drink specials and comfort food pairings on your patio menu this winter. Warm drinks in hand and heaters blazing, your customers can revel in your patio ambiance all season long.
With some cozy additions and warm drinks, your patio can remain a popular community space even when temperatures drop. A few inexpensive tweaks will keep your customers as warm and cheerful as your hospitality. Winterizing your patio is worth the investment to create a comfortable space where friends can gather and the community can thrive year-round.
Install a Wind Barrier to Block Cold Drafts
To keep customers comfortable on your patio during the colder months, installing wind barriers is key. Wind barriers block cold drafts and create a cozy space for people to enjoy their coffee or meal outside.
Door draft stoppers
Place draft stoppers along any doors leading to the patio to prevent heat loss. Door draft stoppers, also known as door snakes or draft dodgers, are long tubes filled with sand or insulation that you place along the bottom of doors to block drafts. They come in a variety of styles that you can match to your décor. For a coffee shop, rustic or industrial styles may work well.
Install weather-resistant curtains that can surround and enclose the patio. Curtains made of materials like canvas, sunbrella, or Polartec wind block fabric block wind while still allowing some light through. You'll want curtains that extend from above the doorway all the way to the ground to fully enclose the space. Secure the curtains so customers can easily open and close them as they enter or exit the patio.
For a more semi-permanent solution, construct freestanding windbreaks using fencing, lattice panels, or weather-resistant fabric. Place the windbreaks along the edges of the patio and any openings to block wind from multiple directions. You can also get creative with the design to match your shop's style by using wood, metal, or a combination of materials. Include hooks or ties to securely fasten the windbreaks in place.
Wind barriers help make a patio cozy when temperatures drop by blocking annoying drafts of cold air. With a variety of options to choose from, you can find a solution that enhances the look and feel of your coffee shop patio. Your customers will appreciate having a comfortable space to enjoy their favorite drink, even on a chilly day.
Encourage Mobile Ordering for Pickup Service
To keep customers coming to your coffee shop patio this winter, consider offering mobile ordering and pickup options. With the rise of on-demand everything, many people prefer grabbing their caffeine fix without waiting in line or interacting with others.
Enable Mobile Ordering
Set up a mobile app like Per Diem or a similar service to allow customers to place and pay for orders on their phone for pickup. Promote the availability of mobile ordering on your website, social media, and with in-store signage. Send push notifications through the app with special offers to encourage people to order ahead for pickup.
- Mobile ordering is convenient for customers in a hurry or concerned about close contact with others. They can place an order on the go and grab it without waiting when they arrive.
- It's also an easy way for you to boost sales and gain new regulars. Offer mobile-only discounts and deals to attract new app users. Track their favorites and send personalized notifications to keep them engaged.
Designate a Pickup Area
Create a designated pickup area, separate from your main counter, where customers can grab mobile orders. Clearly mark the area and have orders ready to go, labeled with the customer's name. Consider offering curbside pickup where customers can call when they arrive and have their order brought out to their vehicle.
- A pickup area, especially one with curbside service, makes the mobile ordering experience seamless for customers. They don't have to navigate a crowded shop or stand in line at the counter to get their order.
- Be sure to promote your pickup options on your app, website, and with in-store signs. The easier and more convenient you can make the experience, the more people will take advantage of it.
Mobile ordering and pickup service are easy ways to keep your coffee shop patio thriving this winter. Give customers what they want—great coffee fast without the fuss. Staying open for business will ensure you're their go-to spot for a hot drink all season long.
Use a Loyalty Program Like Square to Keep Customers Engaged
To keep customers coming back to your coffee shop patio this winter, a loyalty program is key. Square Loyalty integrates with Square Point of Sale and your Customer Directory to easily track customer visits and reward them for their loyalty.
Offer Incentives That Keep Them Coming Back
A rewards program gives customers a reason to return again and again. For every purchase, offer “points” or “stamps” that can be redeemed for free or discounted items. Maybe five visits get a free small coffee, or ten visits get $5 off their next bill. You can also reward frequent customers with periodic perks like a free bakery item on their birthday or double points days. These small incentives and surprises will make customers feel appreciated and encourage repeat business.
Engage Customers with Exclusive Offers and Events
In addition to the standard rewards program, reach out to your most loyal guests with special offers and invites to exclusive events. Send email newsletters highlighting a “loyalty member only” deal for the week or month. Host private patio parties, tastings or live music events only for members of your rewards program. Making customers feel like VIPs will strengthen their connection to your brand and keep them engaged even when the weather outside is frightful.
Track Data to Improve Your Program
A digital loyalty program like Square Loyalty allows you to gather data on your customers and their buying habits. See who your most loyal and highest-spending patrons are. Note the items they buy most frequently. Track which offers and events draw the biggest turnout. Then use these insights to improve your program - send more targeted communications, provide rewards and experiences your customers will value, and make changes to better suit their needs. Data-driven loyalty means higher customer satisfaction and increased sales.
Keeping your coffee shop patio open in the winter months requires effort and innovation. A well-designed loyalty program can transform casual customers into passionate regulars, giving your business a boost when you need it most. With the right mix of incentives, engagement, and data, you'll have customers as loyal as the season is long.
So there you have it, three easy ways to winterize your coffee shop patio and keep customers cozy all season long. By investing in some thoughtful additions like space heaters, fire pits, blankets, and lighting, you'll transform your patio into a welcoming winter oasis. Your regulars will appreciate you staying open through the colder months, and you'll gain new customers looking to escape the chill. Make the most of this opportunity to boost your business during a time when many other places are closing down for the winter. Stay open, spread the warmth, and watch as your patio remains the hot spot for coffee and community all winter long.