outdoor winter dining experience

Creating a functional outdoor winter dining experience

Canadians love their patio season, so creating an outdoor winter dining experience is great for your bottom line. For a successful winter experience, you need to decide whether to make your patio a working winter space or whether creating something new is more your style.

Using your existing patio

With 49 per cent of full-service operators planning to extend the outdoor dining season, you want to stand out with excellent execution, and there are a few key elements to consider.

  • It’s a challenge to heat the space. Depending on the size and shape of your patio, there are a number of options available, from electric space heaters to radiant floor heating. Keep in mind that you may still have to close that area during extreme temperatures.

  • Think about furniture. If your chairs are metal, they could get very cold, making them unenjoyable for your guests. Choose warm furniture and accents like electric fireplaces and bonfires to provide warmth and ambiance.

  • Transform your patio into a new space with seasonal music, warm menu features like hot beverages or s’mores, all-season plants, and lighting to help set the mood.

Creating something new

If your patio isn’t conducive to “winterizing,” maybe it’s time to embrace winter with outdoor structures like domes or pods, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • These structures aren’t typically heated, so you need space heaters or portable heating, as well as wraps or blankets to make guests comfortable. Remember to let guests know what to expect when they visit so they’re not disappointed.  

  • Create a dedicated menu to market the experience as unique. Get guests excited with seasonal dishes, special features, and warm drinks to add to the experience.      

  • Don’t forget about service! Make sure your dishes can make it from the kitchen to your guests without getting cold. Think about using thermoses and minimizing the distance between the kitchen to the table for the best execution.

Winter is coming, so create an outdoor winter dining experience to attract attention and extend your profits. Providing a practical space with an inviting atmosphere will encourage your guests to return all season long.