It is common for the restaurant and service industry to slow down during the colder months. Many folks in the food service industry think that winter is when you’re at your slowest when people stay home because the weather isn’t enticing them to venture out of doors unless they have to.
But it doesn’t have to be.
There is a whole market out there of people who embrace the cold weather and still want to do what they do in the summer, like dining on a patio. You might think that’s madness, but there is a method to it, trust us. Our Okanagan winters are milder than many places in BC (lucky us!), so whether it’s a downtown cafe, a winery with food service, or even a restaurant at a ski hill, there are opportunities for taking advantage of and embracing the cold weather.
For restaurants with a covered patio or who are thinking of covering their patio, there is an option that doesn’t involve tent walls or a plastic dome that a few folks squeeze into. Retractable screens can increase your dining space and bring in more business in the winter.
With retractable screen installation, they look like they were always part of the patio. They can be made to fit virtually any size opening and completely opaque for privacy or with a mesh that allows diners to look out while enjoying their meal. The best part is, once the temperature warms up, the screens simply retract into their casing until they’re needed again.
You can do more to make your patio an appealing place to eat and drink in the winter. Find suitable space heaters for the patio; some will work better than others, given the space size, and you’ll likely need more than one.
Instead of just putting out tables and chairs, arrange the patio to make it feel more like a ski lodge or a winter campfire. A propane fire pit or fire table adds ambience to the winter darkness, and if you can arrange comfortable seating around it, it’s all the better! People will be willing to sit closer together while they enjoy a beverage or some appies together.
You can also get an outdoor fireplace to go all out. Arrange couches and a coffee table around it to make it the best place to eat, drink, and be merry.
The longer evenings mean that most of your dining experiences will provide little to no light; you can offset that with some mood lighting. Stringing up patio lights with Edison bulbs will add to the ambience, as will having candles on the tables, be they natural or electric.
Lastly, draw people into the space by making it lively! Bring in live music to bring people off the street and entice them to stick around for a drink. It can be something as simple as someone with an acoustic guitar or a keyboard. Or try holding outdoor trivia nights that are just in the patio area.
Once people see what a unique experience outdoor winter dining can be, it’ll encourage them to share it with others who want to experience it for themselves. Word-of-mouth buzz will help bring in more customers.
People are always willing to gather, and while some are coming to your establishment for an inside experience, there is a demographic looking for something different outside the typical experience. The colder months often mean slower times, but with a screened-in warm ambience space for friends to gather, your bottom line doesn’t have to be affected simply because snow is on the ground.
Ready to get your patio outfitted with retractable screens? We will help you make your winter wonderland dining experience a reality! We will help you pick the best screens for your establishment, and our installation experts will get you ready to welcome even more guests.
Call us for a consultation today at 250-762-7592!