What You Should Know Before Starting a Pet-friendly Restaurant

By on January 20, 2022

Pet owners love their furry friends and want to spend as much quality time with them as possible. So, when going out of the house, pet parents prefer taking their animals with them rather than leaving them at home.

It’s no wonder why so many pet owners seek out restaurants where they can share a fun dining experience with their furry friends. As a result, pet-friendly restaurants have become quite commonplace due to this large—and continuously growing—population of pet owners.

If you’ve been considering opening a restaurant of your own, you may be happy to learn that welcoming pets and their owners could potentially bring several benefits to your future business. Here are some of them:

An Expanded Customer Base

Animal-inclusive establishments often experience increased profits due to their wider customer base. After all, pet parents will choose a pet-friendly restaurant over one that explicitly denies entry to people who have their fur babies with them.

Organic Marketing Opportunities

Pet owners love taking pictures of their pets during their adventures together and often share these photos on social media platforms. Satisfied customers are likely to share pictures and stories about their dining experiences with other interested parties, which can really boost the visibility and reputation of a restaurant. Restaurants that welcome furry companions in their outdoor patios can also increase their foot traffic, as it may convince other passerby pet owners to drop by.

Given all these amazing benefits, you may be thinking of turning your restaurant into a pet-friendly establishment. However, it’s important to note that this endeavor, though rewarding, comes with its own set of challenges. If you want to be better prepared for this undertaking, below are a few things you should know before welcoming pets into your restaurant:

It Can Be an Expensive Venture

Transforming your restaurant into a pet haven can cost quite a lot of money, so do be sure that you have enough capital to shoulder the necessary expenses. Depending on the type of animals your restaurant will welcome, you might need to make some renovations. For instance, you may have to purchase pet-friendly furniture that can withstand some wear and tear. To better promote your brand, you might need to invest in personalized pet merchandise, like custom martingale collars, toys, food bowls, and poop bags.

It Involves Heavy Logistical Planning

Aside from additional costs, running a pet-friendly business also requires a lot of logistical planning. After all, creating a good environment for pets and humans takes a lot of effort. If you want to know more, below are a few logistical matters that you should be aware of:

Setting up Appropriate Spaces for Pets and Humans

Before opening your restaurant to pets, you should assess whether your facilities can accommodate both humans and animals.

Having an outdoor space or patio is ideal, as it can be designated as the main dining area for people with pets. This not only provides pet parents and furry companions with some fresh air, but also gives them enough space to comfortably relax in.

Additionally, it’s best to keep pet owners seated at a certain distance from each other. This prevents pets from getting agitated or aggressive, as skirmishes can happen when some animals are kept close to one another.

Assigning Spaces for Pet Owners and Non-Pet Owners

Having an outdoor area for fur babies can help keep your indoor facility clean. Given this, your indoor facility can be used as a dining space for customers without pets. Remember, not everyone will enjoy sharing the same dining area with animals. Some people may have fur allergies while others may be frightened of cats or dogs. By keeping separate dining areas, you’ll be able to satisfy both kinds of customers.

Implementing Strict Sanitation Measures

It’s important to maintain the cleanliness of your restaurant, as your establishment still needs to comply with food safety regulations. Your staff should avoid touching or petting any animals, as they may transfer fur and dirt onto food. Likewise, staff should practice frequent hand washing for hygienic food handling. Your restaurant premises should also be regularly cleaned to maintain a pleasant and odor-free environment.

Your Restaurant Must Provide a Pet-Friendly Menu

Of course, an essential part of any restaurant is the delectable food it serves. Owners appreciate a dining establishment that lets them enjoy scrumptious dishes with their pets. However, many animals have special dietary needs and can’t digest certain cooking ingredients commonly found in their owners’ dishes. For instance, food like onions and chocolate can be toxic for cats and dogs.

With that in mind, you may want to consider preparing a separate menu for your customers’ furry companions. Be sure to include dishes made from pet-friendly ingredients and treats so that people’s fur babies don’t have to miss out on a mouth-watering dining experience.

You’ll Need to Establish Clear Boundaries

As cute as animals are, they can still be a handful. Dogs may get rowdy, cats may break objects, and customers may complain about these mishaps. All sorts of incidents can happen, so the best thing to do is prepare the appropriate measures to mitigate or fix them.

With this in mind, make sure to set restaurant rules that establish clear boundaries for owners and their pets. For example, if a dog has been barking loudly for more than twenty minutes, you may need to step in and politely ask its owner to leave the premises. Even if your establishment welcomes animals, pet owners should still take full responsibility for the behavior of their furry friends.

If you want your establishment to stand out amongst other restaurants, it’s not enough to simply welcome pets into your establishment. The key to owning a successful pet-friendly restaurant is ensuring that you offer a comfortable environment for all your customers, whether they own pets or not. With the proper budget and logistics, you can create an enjoyable and inimitable dining experience for humans and animals alike.

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