How Will Restaurants Use Patios and Sidewalks as Weather Cools During COVID-19?

As autumn and winter approach, you will need to come up with ways to keep your guests outside.

This summer, COVID-19 enforced limits on indoor seating. Major cities followed our European friends and opened their sidewalks and streets to outdoor dining.

Many cities like New York even shut down some streets completely. They made room for restaurants to serve their customers while safely distanced outside.

It can get freezing in the winter, depending on your restaurants is location.

How Can You Keep Your Restaurant Patio Warm for Guests This Autumn and Winter?

Your patio and sidewalk are a valuable part of your restaurant’s space.

It is an area that you own or lease, which allows you to generate more income for your restaurant regardless of the time of year.

Not only does this free up more space for potential customers, but it also sets your business apart from other eateries that cannot offer this attraction of a patio experience.

Below are suggestions for making your restaurant comfortable and draws in customers, even when the weather is COLD.

Patio Heaters – Heating elements are necessary to make your patio operational during cold winter months. Commercial patio heaters provide warmth in your outdoor space. They can be placed around your customers’ tables, while the ceiling and wall-mounted options are available.

Outdoor Fireplace – Fireplaces add ambiance! A fire will add heat, sound, and light to create an inviting atmosphere welcoming to guests. If your patio is small, a fireplace may generate sufficient heat.

Vinyl Curtains – You need to keep the heat that you generate! Transparent vinyl curtains can help your patio retain heat, but they do not take away your guests’ view.

Patio Furniture – Entice your patrons to come outside when the weather is chilly. Make your patio space comfortable and relaxing. Provide an area with lounge-style patio furniture. It creates a casual atmosphere that encourages guests to feel at home. With cushioned chairs for extra insulation, customers can bundle up and order food and drinks without being hindered by the cold.

Make It an Experience They Cannot Get Any Place Else

Your outdoor space should provide a different experience that guests will seek out.

Create a unique appetizer and drink menu.  Menus with hot and hearty meals will be a draw! Offer unique starters and craft hot cocktails exclusive to your outdoor guests that will influence potential customers.

You can run promotions to welcome customers, create a special happy hour menu for drinks ordered on the patio, or include complimentary s’ mores with an entree purchase.

Leverage Your Customers Hearing and Sight Senses 

Add Music, hiring musicians for live entertainment. This addition not only attracts customers who enjoy music, but it also differentiates the ambiance of your outdoor space from indoors. If live music is not an option, install sound speakers and play acoustic or holiday music if it is the appropriate season.

Add Lighting – You can coordinate your lighting with the atmosphere you want your patio to have. If you keep lighting low, this encourages your customers to look outside at the wintry sights. Candlelight is lovely but be sure your guests can read the menu and see each other.

The seasonal decor adds ambiance, a few special promotions, your restaurant can draw guests outside in cold weather.

Danny Py, vice president of food and beverage at the Illinois-based, hotel dining-focused First Hospitality’s said, “We’re thinking fireplaces, igloo rentals for private parties, electric heaters and adding greenery and wind blockers,”

Mark Fox — founder and owner of Fox Hospitality Group, “I see this as an opportunity to step outside of our normal business operations and do fun things that people will remember. We will put in a lot of effort creating a comfortable outdoor dining space, providing blankets, table heaters and tents with flaps, so they’re not fully enclosed”.

They will also create changing seasons by decorating the outdoor tents with pumpkins and other fall accents to entice customers to brave the chilly weather for a handcrafted cocktail and some bar bites.

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Calcana Heaters

Restaurant establishment and patios are the perfect settings for an alfresco dining experience.

The PH Series increases time spent outdoors by providing sufficient, comfortable warmth that almost must be experienced to believe.

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Calcana Heaters offers top-quality, stainless steel, infrared heaters for any indoor or outdoor use:


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