The fall and winter seasons can wreak havoc on your bar or restaurant’s patio if you’re not prepared. However, taking the right steps can ensure that it’s weatherproof before these treacherous seasons begin. We’re going to show you what you should do to make sure your outdoor dining space is prepared for the worst while looking its best.
When it comes to outdoor dining, one element that you must pay attention to is the furniture. Too many bars and restaurants buy furniture that looks good during the day but becomes a liability when a storm kicks in. What is the right kind of furniture? Well, there are a few schools of thought on the topic:
First, heavy chairs that incorporate metal and wood (especially pressure-treated wood) are a very good idea for most businesses. Not only will these items stay put during a windy day, but they can hold up to the elements very well. In fact, on the right patio, you may be able to leave them out all fall and winter if you lack the storage space.
The second popular option is wicker furniture with cushions for seating. While you will need to remove the cushions in the winter, the wicker furniture can withstand the elements while suffering little damage. For tables, you’ll want all metal or synthetic wood that is too heavy to lift or anchored for the sake of durability and security.
Many bars have a patio that is entirely open to the elements or uses umbrellas to shield their customers from sunlight and rain. While that can work if you have a small space that is easy to take down over the winter, bars with medium and large patios should consider putting up a fixed hard top cover. Not only can that give your patrons more room to sit throughout their time in the bar or restaurant, but it can contribute to better weatherproofing. Your patio surface will suffer less damage, you can leave the furniture out with confidence, and it will save your staff from having to shovel if you get snow in the winter. Although it’s not practical for every bar or restaurant, it’s still something important to consider.
Another significant way to improve the weatherproofing in your patio is to invest in the outdoor bar top and a liquor cart. A lot of bars have a place to order and receive alcohol on their patio, but not all of them are capable of handling harsh weather and temperatures. Even if you have a hard top over your patio, you must pick a sturdy, attractive bar top. There are two ways you can approach this. First, you can invest in a heavy-duty bar top that will be able to handle anything that the weather and your patrons throw at it. While stainless steel and aluminum are not likely to let you down anytime soon, it might not mesh well with your bar’s aesthetic. Synthetic wood or finished wood can stand up to damage, wetness, and wild temperature changes.
The second approach is for bars with a hard top over their bar. For these, you can utilize all the materials listed above as well as tile and granite. You’ll have a much easier time matching the bar top to the rest of your bar, and you don’t have to worry about too much direct interaction with the elements.
Another thought regarding outdoor bars is to get a quality liquor cart. That way, your bartenders can access what they need without having to leave out the liquor in the event of an unfortunate weather occurrence. Not only does that help the bar in terms of product loss, but it can also mitigate potential damage from bottles blowing over.
A significant aspect of weatherproofing a patio that is often ignored is the surface of the patio. Many bar owners think, “there’s concrete, what more do you want?” That’s not the best way of thinking, though. Instead, it’s a good practice to prepare your patio surface by ensuring that water doesn’t puddle on your patio. It should run off completely. Not only is that beneficial because patrons can go outside right after a rainstorm ends, but it will cut down on the appearance of ice on the patio. Water, leaves, and ice are all slipping hazards that can be cut down by using the right materials and ensuring a proper level. Also, having mats at the entry and exit of the patio to help people clean and dry their feet reduces water and snow getting tracked inside. These are minor changes, but they could save money on the bar’s insurance bill.
Weatherproofing your patio is not only about passively protecting the items on your patio. It means that you should have a plan in place and people responsible for maintaining the integrity of the patio and items on it. For example, when bad storms are in the forecast, it’s important to bring in any furniture that could blow away or become a missile. Not only will that reduce costs from losing patio sets in the storms, but it lessens the chances that your business will be struck by anything that was left outside. Metal chairs, tables, and umbrellas can slam into panes of glass and vehicles, costing your business dearly. The plan for weatherproofing your patio in the event of storms should be clearly outlined and identify which people in the building are responsible for performing each task. That is the best way to ensure the safety of the people and the bar’s property.
Getting your bar or restaurant patio ready for all seasons can require a fair amount of thought. These ideas can help you set up your patio and confidently stay ready for all kinds of weather. It’s never too early or late to do an audit on your current patio situation and get it in hand so that it’s not something you have to worry about later on.
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