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6 Things to Consider When Designing Your Restaurant’s Parking Lot

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Purchasing a property for your business is a big step that you can take pride in. However, your customers need a place to park their vehicles and visit your new location. Here are six things to consider when designing a parking lot for your restaurant.

1. Purpose 

The first thing you must consider when designing your lot is its purpose. Parking lots can serve several needs — you need to decide what yours will do.

Of course, your customers will use the lot to hold their cars while they patronize your restaurant. However, you need to think of other vehicles that might use it — your employees also need spaces to park their cars and you may need to store catering trucks and equipment there. Also, consider whether you want to allow bus and tractor-trailer parking spots, which will take up significant space but could lead to more consumers.

Ensure you have handicapped parking near the entrance. These spaces should have smooth access to a sidewalk or ramp that allows wheelchair users to enter and exit your business with dignity and safety. When planning these spaces, you’ll need to dedicate an access aisle next to it since these vehicles have ramps.

Some restaurants allow non-customers to rent or use spaces on days the restaurant isn’t open. If you take Sundays off and are close to downtown or a sporting arena, you’ll need to consider letting people park, knowing that whatever activities occur will do so on your property.

2. Size 

The temptation is to try allowing as many customers as possible, but you need to give your customers space to breathe. A standard-size parking space for public use is 9 by 19 feet and these should take up most of your lot. You can also choose to add compact areas for small cars and motorcycles.

Your restaurant’s capacity is also a major factor in the parking space you’ll need. If you have a large property, you’ll need to figure out how many customers you can serve at one time. You want to accommodate as many cars as you can, but a too-large parking lot can lead to higher costs than necessary. You can satisfy your customers by balancing your restaurant capacity with parking ability.

3. Safety 

When you design your lot, you need to consider its safety and surveillance capabilities. You don’t want to add parking in concealed locations where customers might feel uncomfortable. You also don’t want to establish parking in an area where restaurant security cameras won’t see.

Security cameras are an essential part of keeping your employees and customers safe — as well as covering you in the event of legal accusations. When your parking lot has constant surveillance, you can find footage if a crime or accident occurs on your property. If you don’t have proof of events, you could end up in an unnecessary drama that harms your restaurant.

4. Maintenance 

When you build a parking lot, you need to consider its maintenance. Asphalt will need repair from time to time, but poor drainage and debris can lead to it happening more often. To avoid constantly paying for repairs, ensure you install proper drains in areas that could accumulate standing water, as it can weaken your lot’s structure.

It’s also important to regularly clear sticks, mud and debris from drains to keep them flowing appropriately. Clogs can also lead to asphalt damage that you’ll need to correct.

Even for routine maintenance, you must be able to keep up with the necessary repairs for your entire lot. Forming a positive relationship with a paving company you can partner with for your parking lot’s care is a good idea.

5. Overflow

Plan for your business to do well, especially if you already have a solid customer base. This may require overflow parking. You should keep these extra parking spots in mind for busy dinner hours or large events when planning your lot.

You can purchase a nearby property to serve as overflow or partner with a local business to use a portion of their lot for these moments. Another option is to expand your lot past the initial layout, paving a piece of your property that you open up for parking during busy times.

Overflow parking shouldn’t be a constant need, as it’s meant for large or busy moments. If you find this parking frequently necessary, it may be time to expand your main parking lot.

6. Exemption Rules

Whenever you build a parking lot, you should look into potential exemptions your municipality has. Check whether your restaurant qualifies for a tax exemption before acquiring the necessary permits.

Many cities award these to businesses that expect to improve their municipal area. Knowing the laws and exemptions for your parking lot allows you to save as much money as possible, benefiting your bottom line.

Designing a Restaurant Parking Lot 

A parking lot is a necessary part of your business, allowing your customers easy access to eating at the restaurant you worked so hard to build. By keeping these things in mind, you can create the right parking lot for your needs.

Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.

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