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Starting a Poolside Restaurant: 6 Pointers

Trends come and go in the dining industry, and the poolside restaurant is coming around now. You’d usually see these restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Miami. These cities are notorious for their party scenes, luxury resorts, hotels, and spas. 

Now, they’re becoming more mainstream. If you want to start a poolside restaurant, follow these six pointers for a successful startup.

Cool Food Over Hot

When starting any restaurant, one of the first things you should consider is the type of food you’ll serve. This question relies on many factors.

First, consider the fact that you’re serving guests by a pool. The weather will likely be very warm or hot, depending on your area’s climate and whether your restaurant is outdoors. In the summertime, it’s best to serve cool and refreshing foods to your patrons.

Fruits are an excellent option during the summer because they’re refreshing. When the summer heat hits, fruits hydrate your body and are dense with nutrients. They’re also inexpensive to purchase. You can sell sliced fruit, create drinks and smoothies, and find other uses for fruit in your poolside restaurant.

Think About Demographics

Another factor to consider for your menu is the city your business will be in. What do the locals enjoy eating? Is there a heavy influence from another country in your city? Who do you suspect will be the most frequent patrons at your restaurant?

Age is an important factor. Will the crowds be primarily young people, families, retired couples, or another group?

As mentioned above, cities like Las Vegas, Miami, and Los Angeles are prominent for their nightlife and how other cultures influence them. Miami is only 100 miles away from the Bahamas and about 260 miles away from Cuba, so its proximity to these Caribbean islands inspires the cuisine.

Keep the locals in mind when crafting your menu because they’re more likely to support your business if they see familiar dishes.

Serve Handheld Food

People swimming and sitting in the sun for hours can build an appetite, but they won’t necessarily want a three-course meal. Serving small portions of food will give them energy while being mindful of their bodies in the hot sun.

Pick foods that are easy to eat with your hands, such as finger foods. Or, choose small dishes patrons can readily eat with a fork or spoon. Portability is also essential because your restaurant is essentially a drive-thru venue.

When you were a kid, did your parents tell you to wait 30 minutes after eating before you could jump in the pool? As it turns out, that notion is not valid. In fact, food can be helpful. Your body needs energy before swimming. Afterward, you need food to replenish yourself. Competitive swimmers can use nearly half their daily energy expenditure in training sessions. Proteins and carbohydrates are necessary nutrients in a poolside dining setting.

Paper or Plastic

Once you’ve crafted your menu, another essential step to consider is how you will serve the food. Materials like glass and ceramic can look nice, but they can easily slip out of someone’s hands and fall onto the concrete. When running a poolside restaurant, broken glass is the last thing you’ll want to encounter because many people will walk around barefoot or with light footwear like flip-flops.

Instead of glass, consider items that won’t break easily or cause harm to patrons. You could use paper or plastic. Or, consider using sustainable materials as a way to help the environment. Post-consumer plates, napkins, and utensils are excellent ways to use recycled items and promote an eco-friendly mission at your poolside restaurant.

If your restaurant is outside, try to find biodegradable items so they won’t harm the environment if a customer accidentally litters.

Consider the Colors

The menu is important when figuring out how to cater to your crowd. And how will the food presentation look when your guests create posts for social media? These networking sites are popular and only rising. In 2022, there are about 4.5 billion social media users, and experts forecast that number will surpass 5 billion in 2024. The influence they can have on your restaurant is immense.

What will stand out when posting a pool food picture on Instagram? Various colors can make a plate pop and appeal to the human eye. Think about strawberries, mangos, bananas, and other berries for fruit plates. For savory dishes, lighter foods like fish or shrimp tacos with fresh salsa can make the mouth water. The color of the food is something to think about, and don’t undervalue the presentation, either.

Stay in Season

One way to optimize your menu’s colors is to track what fruits are in season. This factor will also depend on where you live and how accessible the foods are. As mentioned above, salsa is a terrific menu option and fits with the summer months because tomatoes and corn are in season.

Try to locally source strawberries, blackberries, watermelon, and other summer fruits to get refreshing tastes for your customers.

Starting Your Poolside Restaurant

Poolside restaurants can be an exciting business venture to start. These venues are popular in large cities with luxury hotels, but they’re slowly becoming more widespread. Poolside dining can make you feel like you’re in a Miami or a Caribbean resort. If you’re considering starting a poolside restaurant, follow these six pointers before making the moves

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