winter

Winterizing your restaurant patio

Patio season isn’t just for summer! As the seasons change and the weather gets cooler, you may want to create a winter space that’s practical for your winter guests. If you’re looking to extend the life of your patio and increase winter seating, there are some steps you can take to winterize your patio and make use of it through the season.

Studies show that adding a patio can add up to 30 per cent in additional revenue for your restaurant, so taking a year-round approach could set you apart, fill more seats, and raise your profits.

RELATED: How to make your patio more profitable

Heating

While a winter outdoor patio isn’t easy to implement in all climates, there are a few things you can do to winterize your outdoor dining space, wherever you’re located. The most important part of this process is creating a space where your guests will be comfortable, and that means that they stay warm. From portable propane or infrared to built-in heating equipment, there are a few options you can choose. Consider choosing a system that works with your aesthetic, your space, and your budget. No matter which route you go, open fire pits or bonfires can add ambiance to your space, along with a little additional heat for your guests.

Wind could also be an issue, so consider roll down wall panels to help protect the space from the wind and precipitation.

Access

Making this space accessible can be a challenge when heavy snow and ice arrive. Tackle this issue with a solid snow removal strategy to allow for easy access and to mitigate the risk of slip and falls. Train staff on daily safety protocols, keep ice melter and tools on hand, and be sure to maintain access to the outdoor space diligently. Don’t forget the street access, too. If your patio has an entrance or exit that does not go through your restaurant, be sure that the area is also being maintained for your guests and their safety.

Experience

Like the inside of your restaurant, the vibe a key factor in the experience on your winter patio. Think about lighting, décor, and the feel of the space. Consider upping the experience with a dedicated menu, weekly events, live entertainment, and more to make the patio a pace guests want to visit, even in the winter months.

With the growth in popularity of dining globes and domes, there is some competition in this space, so create a unique concept that will draw people in to give it a try. Spread the word on social media and more to offer your guests an exceptional experience and to make your winter patio as successful as possible.