Outdoor Dining Tips

What Founder Vicki Markussen is reading :

The below is a compilation of many articles, with hyperlinks to more when appropriate.

What Chicago’s Doing

  • Temporary structures must be secured to the ground
  • 50% of the sides must be vented if multiple parties
  • If a single party is in an enclosed area, it must have air circulation
  • A permit is needed for structure larger than 400 sq. ft.
  • They may be closed due to severe weather, as specified in a bad weather plan created by the businesses
  • Entrances and exits must be marked
  • Fire extinguishers to cover the space are required
  • Natural gas and propane heaters are only allowed in open, uncovered areas
  • Everything must be unplugged overnight
  • Employees must be trained on replacing fuel and detecting leaks
  • Companies must ensure there is adequate distance between heaters and flammable objects
  • A permit is required specifying heaters
  • Signage must be displayed explaining there is a greater risk of COVID transmission

Chicago is looking to use large empty buildings to expand capacity. There is a Winter Dining Challenge that has solicited more than 640 entries from across the world. Read more here >>

A Bill out of Oregon

In August, there is an effort introduced out of Oregon that is called the RESTAURANTS Act. The bill’s name stands for the Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive. If implemented, the legislation would create a $120 billion grant program to support food service or drinking establishments through the pandemic.

Restaurants are challenged to find patio furniture and heaters. What’s available can be expensive.

She noted restaurants typically use their profits from the warmer months to help through the winter when sales dip.

“Now it’s critical that people be able to open up to their max capacity and be able to utilize those additional spaces like their patios or even extending into their parking lot,” Hillmer said.

What New York’s Doing

Enhancing outdoor seating with a blanket, table heaters, and tents with flaps to allow for air circulation. They will decorate outdoor tents with fall accents. Warm cocktails and warm comfort food will be served.

Their clock is ticking, however. Their outdoor permits expire on October 31.

Restaurant owners plan to demand a relief bill from the state to help them survive until capacity can increase from 25% to 50% indoors.

Some are creating winter experiences with igloo rentals, fireplaces, greenery (particularly as barriers between tables), and wind blockers.

In Washington D.C. …

The District is using CARES Act funding to give restaurants up to $6,000 to winter-proof their outdoor areas through a Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program >>.

The restaurants there are concerned about the additional safety hazard for employees of delivering food in winter conditions. There is also a cost of propane and other overhead that causes some hesitation in offering winter outdoor seating.

In the Colorado mountains …

Aurum Food & Wine in Breckenridge is using yurts – circular, more permanent tents with glass domes at the top – to keep outside dining alive. The yurts are made by CampingYurts.com in Bend, OR, a company that is now overwhelmed with orders causing an 18-month backlog.

Suggestions from the Webstaurantstore.com here >>

Some great best-practices tips on igloss, yurts, keeping staff warm and more are at the end of this article >> .

More than 30% of restaurants in Wisconsin will go out of business during the winter – prediction by Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association

Critical in that number is restaurants being able to increase capacity safely inside during the winter.

Heaters are the new hand sanitizer – said the own of Songbyrd Cafe in Washington DC on competing with other restaurants to winter-proof outdoor seating

Post expires at 10:00pm on Saturday May 15th, 2021

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