Outdoor Dining: The Best Restaurant Patio Ideas for Winter

Winter-Ready Restaurant Patio for Outdoor Dining

Because of COVID-19 transmission risks, many consumers are embracing outdoor dining as a way to safely gather with friends, eat a delicious meal, and support their local restaurants during the pandemic. But as the weather gets colder, many restaurants are looking for new ways to facilitate outdoor dining. Here are some of the best restaurant patio ideas for winter!

Choose the Right Patio Furniture

Anyone who has ever sat down on a metal chair in January can attest to how unpleasant it can be. That’s why choosing the right patio furniture is one of the best restaurant patio ideas for winter. When choosing your patio furniture, look for materials that are warm to the touch and won’t absorb the colder winter temperatures. If you already have metal patio furniture, consider choosing cushions or other coverings that will keep diners warm while they enjoy their meal al fresco.

Stock Up on Outdoor Patio Heaters

Especially if you’re going to keep your patio relatively open for increased airflow, outdoor patio heaters can make a world of difference. Before choosing a heater, you’ll want to consider local guidelines, as some areas might have restrictions. You’ll also want to do your research on electric heaters, gas heaters, and other types of heating devices, so you can make sure you have the best option for your unique patio.

Embrace Winter Patio Plants

Filling your restaurant patio with winter plants is a great way to create a welcoming atmosphere for your diners. Not only can the plants block cold wind, but they can also provide physical distance between tables to help enforce safe social distancing practices.  

Create a Seasonal Menu with Outdoor Dining in Mind

Creating a seasonal menu for your restaurant can help lower costs, increase profits, build strong local ties, and provide opportunities for experimentation. But that’s not all. Seasonal menus are also a great way to incorporate food and beverages that work well with outdoor dining. Outdoor diners in the winter months will likely be looking for menu items like hearty pasta dishes and soups, as well as hot beverages like hot chocolate, mulled wines, hot toddys, tea, and Irish coffees.

Experiment with Outdoor Fireplaces & Blankets

With people spending so much more time at home, the goal of outdoor winter dining should be to create a cozy and delicious dining experience. One way to keep diners cozy is to experiment with outdoor fireplaces and blankets. Unlike heaters that just provide warmth, outdoor fireplaces can add to the ambiance of your restaurant patio. You can also try providing blankets for outdoor diners, assuming you have the resources you need to wash them between each use. At McDonald Wholesale, we’re here to help your food service operation succeed whether you’re running a food cart, a café, a brewery, a bakery, a ghost kitchen, or a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. Keep an eye on our blog for more restaurant management tips, including our guide to no-contact curbside pickup and delivery and how local restaurants can compete with chain restaurants.

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