Why it’s important to have—and use—an outdoor dining space

Photograph: Shutterstock

Open up and get outside

 As restaurants continue to reopen from the COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s time to appreciate the importance of spending time outdoors. Many outdoor spaces are open and serving, but unfortunately, if restaurants only have indoor seating, they may have to wait a little longer). But, regardless of where a restaurant is located or what type of establishment a restaurant is, getting outside is vital to consumers’ mental, emotional, and business health. Why? Read on to find out why it’s so important to have—and use—an outdoor dining space.

1) It’s not just for guests

Spending time with friends and family is important for mental and emotional health—especially as a restaurant operator. When  When operators are out at their “other” favorite restaurant, many choose to sit outside rather than indoors. 


Photograph courtesy of Stoett

According to Psychology Today, spending time with friends and family in a social atmosphere can have positive impacts on mental and physical health and may even help people live longer.  

2) (Re)opening for business

Many states are allowing restaurants with outdoor seating to open first. For example, the Ohio Restaurant Association announced that restaurants with outdoor areas were allowed to begin serving customers earlier (May 15), than those with just indoor seating (May 21). This six-day head start may be the difference between a good year and a bad one.

Even as the lockdowns were beginning, restaurant operators across the country were looking ahead to reopening their outdoor areas first to help maintain social distancing requirements.

Jeanne Kern, owner of The Vine in Elkhart, Ind., said, We have a 12-table patio and, as the weather gets better, we’re seeing [more] activity there. We’re anxious to get to 100% allowed capacity in July. It’ll take more than a virus to stop what we’re doing.” 

3) Increasing capacity

An outdoor dining space can help to increase both the capacity and the restaurant’s bottom line. There are many simple ways to do this: from sidewalk seating to building an enclosed (but still outdoors) space. The Simons Advisory Group found that a $200,000 investment increased overall sales by $500,000—more if the seating is available year-round

Antonio’s Italian Restaurant in Elkhart, Ind.,  has a large outdoor space that enjoys the positives and negatives of outdoor seating. When the weather is nice, it’s perfect, but bugs can become annoying.

“Our patio is a big part of our success,” said Paul Cataldo, owner of Antonio’s. ”We currently have 45 seats, butonce the lockdowns are over and we can have full capacity, we could get up to 60 guests seated. We try to use tiki torches, fire pits, and other things to keep our guests comfortable [from bugs].”

 Now, the type of seating area can make a difference on your customers’ choices. If it’s open and adjacent to a walkable area, it can create its own “social scene” that may attract new customers.

4) Sunny Delight

Vitamin D is an important supplement that helps with bone growth, calcium absorption, and protects against osteoporosis in older adults. One study, from the Environmental Health Perspective journal, had this to say:


Photograph courtesy of Stoett

“The best-known benefit of sunlight is its ability to boost the body’s vitamin D supply… At least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body are now thought to be regulated by the active form of the vitamin, including several involved in calcium metabolism and neuromuscular and immune system functioning.”  

The Vitamin D Council recommends sun exposure from 15 minutes to a couple of hours a day—depending on skin tone and sensitivity. However, consumers should consult their doctors if they have questions about specific sun sensitives. 

Making the most of the outdoors

It’s almost guaranteed that there will be a beautiful night later this year that will be perfect for an outdoor meal. Whether a restaurant has an open-air space or an enclosed space with permanent or retractable screens, customers will have a great time dining outdoors. 

With an outdoor space—particularly one that’s enclosed—operators can protect customers from annoying insects, inclement weather, and harmful UV rays. For a high-quality retractable screen system, Stoett Industries has just what restaurants need. Located in Hicksville, Ohio, Stoett’s Panorama retractable screen systems are made in America and can be custom fit to match and enhance any restaurant’s current architecture.

Panorama: The perfect fit

The Panorama, PanoramaUltra and Panorama Clear Vinyl retractable screen systems are made with high quality materials, are easy to install and come in a broad range of colors to match any style and decor. The housing is made from powder-coated aluminum and is available with 80% to 90% solar screen mesh fabric or clouding-resistant, 30-gauge clear vinyl that resists waving. 

panorama outdoor dining

Photograph courtesy of Stoett

Each Panorama retractable screen system uses efficient Somfy® motors and the myLink app (iPhone and Android) that lets operators or staff control the screen from just about anywhere. The custom feel of the Panorama systems will be a welcome addition to any restaurant’s outdoor space. Stoett combines the best of both worlds—the great outdoors and great restaurant food—so restaurants and their guests can make the most of the outdoors!  

To learn more about Stoett products and the Panorama retractable screen systems, visit stoett.com.

This post is sponsored by Stoett Industries


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