Across the US, restaurants have been feeling the rattling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With shelter at home orders and strict social distancing guidelines in place in many states, restaurants have had to quickly pivot to primarily take-out dining. Now that states are beginning to open, how restaurants are complying with state guidelines to remain open and get creative with how they serve their dine in customers while keeping them safe.
What does the future of “dine-in” service look like?
For many places in the US where cases are still on the rise, “dine-in” services are being taken outdoors so restaurants are complying with state guidelines to stay open and serve their patrons, while keeping everyone safe. Health officials have repeatedly made statements supporting outdoor distanced activities, as there has been increasing research that COVID-19 is less likely to transmit person-to-person outdoors. The ‘alfresco’ dining style that is popular in European countries such as France and Italy is making a comeback in the US. With business moving outside, restaurants have been in demand for layouts and furniture that is outdoor friendly. Temporary structures have been a primary avenue for restaurants to stay in business, while keeping their customers safe and distanced from one another.
What kind of temporary structures are restaurants using?
As we peek into a post-pandemic world, it has become clear that the hospitality industry will continue to be impacted by occupancy constraints and continued distancing guidelines. Third party companies, such as Choura, have developed initiatives to support local dining options in expanding their open air dining facilities. Choura has pivoted from setting up stages and tents for large events such as Coachella, to using their warehouse full of resources to provide useful layouts and builds for local restaurants. This redirection of resources has included outdoor furniture and decking that can be quickly set up and arranged to fit the needs of the restaurant. Wooden decks, slat table dividers, street barriers create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for patrons. Additional materials may include umbrellas, string lighting, and plants, for shade and ambiance. These resources come in a variety of paint colors and wood stains to compliment the style of each restaurant. These affordable and reliable builds allow for local restaurants to keep their doors open during this time of uncertainty and economic hardship.
What do restaurant owners think of this idea?
Feedback from restaurant owners in places such as Laguna Beach and San Pedro has been positive overall. Laguna Beach restaurant manager Bernard Delao said, “It’s going to add to our business, and we’re going to be able to recoup some of the losses that we’ve had over the last couple of months, being closed. I think it’s a good opportunity for all of the businesses down here, to help us get back in the swing of things.” Restaurants in both locations have reported increases in reservations and happy customers in their first weeks with the new temporary structures.
Where can you find restaurants that have implemented these outdoor structures?
Choura continues to provide outdoor decking, layouts, and furniture to an increasing number of small businesses throughout Southern California. Right now you can visit these restaurants in San Pedro, Long Beach, and Laguna Beach. Choura crews have been hard at work in these locations to create “parklet” platforms that are flush with the curbs and extend out into the streets in long, narrow formations. These “parklets” also include concrete K-rails around the edges to protect diners from the street traffic. These socially distant tables on curbside platforms, in certain cases, can provide as much seating as is usually available indoors. Check out more information on visiting restaurants with temporary outdoor structures, or adding a temporary structure onto your restaurant here.