People enjoy alfresco dining during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan, New York City, the United States, September 14, 2020.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters
Ice huts, yurts and tents have become increasingly popular in recent years as restaurateurs tried to extend the life of their outdoor patios.
This year, the popularity of such structures increases thanks to capacity restrictions that limit the number of guests in restaurants.
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurant owners to get creative to keep their businesses alive. Florida is among the few states where bars and restaurants are back to full capacity, but the vast majority of restaurants are still trying to attract as many customers as possible while adhering to social distancing measures. Some operators responded to expanded outdoor dining with facilities designed to reflect the aesthetics of their indoor dining rooms.
But putting customers outside also means taking the weather into account. Heavy summer rains in New York reduced dining out by 14%. This is based on a recent study of restaurant traffic and weather trends by Foursquare and AccuWeather. The time of year, city, and type of cuisine can also affect how much the weather can affect a restaurant’s traffic trends.
“We see the whole line, no matter where you are, no matter what condition it is in, people go out in the fall,” said Bill McGarry, senior vice president of ad sales for AccuWeather. “While in winter in New York you can tell when it’s really cold, nobody goes out.”
Some restaurant owners are trying to counter the trend with cozy, heated outdoor areas. But others are choosing to go into hibernation rather than investing more money in outdoor restaurants. Fiberglass igloos, for example, cost $ 1,000 per pop.
Here are some solutions restaurants across the country are trying:
A16 in Oakland, California
A16’s outdoor parklet
The Italian restaurant A16 has set up outdoor tents hanging from a wooden frame to keep its customers warm. Co-owner Shelley Lindgren said the restaurant plans to roof over the parklet and install heat lamps. The San Francisco location, which tends to be cooler at night, already has heat lamps.
Coconut Club in Washington, D.C.
Coconut Club greenhouse
Source: Coconut Club
The island-inspired restaurant has an outside greenhouse with an electric heater to keep its customers warm. A pop-up tent is cheap and breaks easily, while wedding tents are expensive and aren’t meant to be left out that long, Co-owner Emily Cipes said the Washingtonian. So the restaurant opted for a 33-foot greenhouse instead.
Cafe du Soleil in New York City
Al fresco dining at Cafe Du Soleil
Will fire, CNBC
Customers sitting outside at the French restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side occupy plastic bubbles that also include chairs and tables.
Owner Alain Chevreux told the New York Times that he bought 16 buildings online in July. According to him, the internal temperature of a bladder feels about ten degrees warmer.