One of the more identifiable symbols of summer in Canada is a bustling patio. And this year perhaps more than any other, people are craving patios.
It has been a long winter, made even longer by lockdowns and stay at home orders. But all signs seem to be pointing towards a cautious, steady reopening across the country, and that comes as very welcome news for patrons and restaurant owners alike.
Prior to March 2020, there had not been as much attention paid to our patio dining areas. But given that they are part of the province’s Step one reopening plans for full service restaurants on June 11th, 2021, rest assured patios will be a heavy focus for the summer months and beyond.
Programs such as CaféTO have been launched, which acknowledge the hospitality industry’s challenges for navigating dining room closures and assists with the development of increased outdoor dining areas under new restrictions.
Other innovations such as patio locator apps have been launched to help patrons navigate which patio hot spot they should hit next.
Canadians are also being encouraged to stimulate the economy by way of supporting local restaurants. According to Bloomberg, “Canadians should really double down on trying to help local businesses and services as much as they can and in the here and now and that’s with things like supporting your local restaurant through takeout or a small retailer through curbside pickup,” says Douglas Porter, Bank of Montreal’s chief economist.
Coupled with the fact that people are very anxious to get back to normal, and with the millennial demographic citing patios as one of the main places they intend to visit first after the reopening plan kicks off, you’ve got the perfect recipe for a potentially incredibly successful patio season.
Here are some ways to set your patios up for a safe and successful summer.
Make room: You might want to consider expanding patio tables to fit more patrons, of course while still adhering to mandated social distancing protocols.
Comfort matters: Ensure that heating, cooling and covers can account for various weather conditions. Patrons love to be outside, but sometimes Mother Nature has plans of her own.
Green it up: You may consider adding greenery to the required separation barriers throughout your patio. Adding greenery not only looks nice, it also provides a natural way to break up the space, and offer patrons additional privacy. When placed tactfully, plants and flowers can help obscure the stark reminders of safety protocols like plastic glass dividers between tables.
Signage: Clearly marked through-traffic areas for servers and patrons can really help organize the flow of traffic to and from the designated patio areas. Clearly marked signage directing people to the right places can minimize confusion, plus keep patrons and team members safe.
Winterize: Given the short patio season in Canada, it might make sense to research winterization options for some of your seating areas wherever possible. Our Recipe business consultants can help discuss some of these ideas and determine where it makes sense to get more seasonality out of our patios.
If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s how to adapt and evolve as a result of drastic change. At Recipe, part of our Social Safely plan has been to make special accommodations for full service restaurant locations with patio space. Also, keep in mind that if you have a building with fantastic potential for a large patio, we invite you to reach out with questions about how we can help convert your space into one of Canada’s most iconic restaurant brands.
Here’s to a safe and profitable summer for all!
Despite the massive challenges that the restaurant community is currently facing, the Recipe Franchising Team would like to extend our message of reassurance. Having been in business for over 137 years, we are confident we can get through this challenging time just like many others in the past. We take pride and ownership in the well being, health and safety of our franchisees, associates and customers. Recipe Franchising is looking towards the future with hope and continuous growth. With the challenges at hand, The Recipe Franchising Team has adopted a new process that we like to call "Frictionless Franchising", a way for you to meet, research, investigate and explore new franchising opportunities with us from the comfort of your home. We want to make sure that we are always here to answer your questions, inquiries, and help anyway we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
The Recipe Franchising Team