The COVID-19 pandemic has rattled restaurants across the US. Forced to pivot rapidly to take-out dining due to shelter-at-home orders and strict social distancing guidelines, these establishments now face the challenge of re-imagining dine-in service as states begin to reopen. They must navigate how to serve dine-in customers creatively and safely while complying with state outdoor dining guidelines.
What does the future of “dine-in” service look like?
In many parts of the US where COVID-19 cases continue to climb, restaurants are taking “dine-in” services outdoors to comply with state outdoor dining guidelines, remain open, and ensure patron safety. Health officials continually endorse outdoor, distanced activities due to increasing evidence that outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is less likely. The ‘alfresco’ dining style popular in European countries like France and Italy is seeing a resurgence in the US. As businesses migrate outside, restaurants demand outdoor-friendly layouts and furniture. Temporary structures have become essential for restaurants to keep serving customers safely and maintain their operations.
What kind of temporary structures are restaurants using?
Peering into a post-pandemic world reveals the ongoing impact on the hospitality industry due to occupancy constraints and continued distancing guidelines. Third-party companies like Choura have initiated support for local dining options by expanding their open-air dining facilities. Choura has transitioned from erecting stages and tents for large events like Coachella to leveraging its warehouse of resources to supply helpful layouts and builds for local restaurants. This resource reorientation includes quick-setup outdoor furniture and decking tailored to each restaurant’s needs. Wooden decks, slat table dividers, and street barriers foster a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for patrons, further enhanced by optional umbrellas, string lighting, and plants for shade and ambiance. These resources, available in various paint colors and wood stains, complement each restaurant’s style. Affordable and dependable, these builds enable local restaurants to stay open amidst uncertainty and economic strain.
What do restaurant owners think of this idea?
Restaurant owners, particularly in places like Laguna Beach and San Pedro, have largely embraced this idea. Bernard Delao, a Laguna Beach restaurant manager, enthused, “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.” With the new temporary structures in place, restaurants in these locations have seen reservation upticks and positive customer feedback.
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.