Ideas For Extending Patio Season for Toronto Restaurants and Bars

By November 4, 2020 News
CHI Blog

Ideas For Extending Patio Season for Toronto Restaurants and Bars

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants across the country have moved quickly to expand outdoor dining sections. But with colder weather on its way, anxiety is beginning to set in among Canada’s diverse community of restaurants and bars.

What’s more, Ontario recently reverted to Stage 2 restrictions following a spike of 939 new COVID-19 cases. The measures, which came into effect on October 10, include prohibiting indoor dining while shutting down gyms, cinemas, casinos, and performing arts or racing venues.

Staying Prepared for Fall and Winter

Canada’s foodservice sector employs 1.2 million people. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry served 22 million meals a day across the country.

Statistics Canada recently released the results of a survey conducted in May regarding the condition of the country’s restaurants. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, 60% of the survey’s participating restaurants don’t expect to survive more than three months with current COVID-related restrictions in place.

The Chamber has joined forces with sixty well-recognized restaurant brands in Canada, alongside other hospitality organizations, to launch a campaign known as Our Restaurants. The campaign urges customers to order from their favourite local restaurant as well as contact their local representatives to advocate certain policy changes that would benefit the struggling industry.

Are you concerned about winter? Here are a few ideas on extending patio season.

1. Lighting the Night

Making the most of each day means welcoming customers into the night. Having a well-lit patio entices customers to grab a seat. Outdoor lighting comes in many stylish forms, including wall sconces, string lights, and solar lights. Make sure to keep your guests safe by lighting any ledges or steps surrounding your patio.

2. Keeping Guest Warm

Demand for patio heaters soared as many businesses prepared for their first COVID-19 fall and winter season. Outdoor heaters can use either electricity, propane, or gas. They also come in a variety of sizes, including a smaller table top option for heating more intimate gatherings. Restaurant owners who have this coveted item need to be careful as the high demand, expense and scarcity has prompted reports of theft. A Toronto restaurant owner reported that thieves cut through the lock chain that was attached so you will want to ensure you have a safe way to store these precious items when your business is closed.

3. Accessorize

It’s the little things that matter. Attract customers with a clean and stylish patio. Accessories such as candles, string lighting, and flower vases create a comfortable and romantic dining environment for your guests.

4. Extra Seating

Make sure you’re ready to accommodate guests by making sure you have enough seats available. Keep extra chairs on hand just in case. You may want to rearrange your existing seating arrangements to maximize the space you have while respecting social distancing guidelines.

Calls for More Support

While the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that has benefited many of the country’s restaurateurs has been extended until December, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program expired at the end of August.

Many restaurateurs are now reaching out to the provincial and federal governments for a helping hand to stay alive. The vice president of Restaurant Canada’s western Canadian division pointed out that physical distancing guidelines include one metre, not two, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). An extra metre closer would increase dining capacity as the weather turns colder, and patios begin closing.

Are you interested in learning more about the future of the restaurant industry post-COVID? Get in touch with the team at CHI Real Estate by calling 647-347-9723.

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