With bigger lots to allow them to spread out, retailers are experimenting with outside seating.

“We’re looking at more environmentally friendly spaces where it’s not just a big parking lot,” Lawshe of Paragon says. At the Alltown Fresh store in Plymouth, Mass., a pair of clothlike panels cover the outdoor seating space. Another cover option could be a pergola. Outside spaces don’t have to be limited to seating, either. Lawshe cites Hat Six, a travel center in Wyoming, that includes a dog park on its property.


The exterior seating at Alltown Fresh has a fabric cover to differentiate the space.