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Restaurant owners nationwide push to make street-side dining permanent

Consumers were forced to move out of their dining rooms onto the sidewalks, parks spaces, and streets by the pandemic. The push comes from restaurateurs to preserve their outdoor dining areas, tents, or sheds for ever.

San Francisco’s supervisors approved permanent dining parkslets in July. Atlanta, Philadelphia and other cities are also considering similar initiatives. New York City has begun to work out details regarding more sustainable outdoor dining. Mayor Bill de BlasioIt made the Open Restaurants Program permanent one year ago.

Not only are big cities considering the changes. Fairfax in California conducted an August survey that was open to all residents and visitors. The results were used to decide whether Fairfax should permit restaurants to have permanent dining parkslets. 91% of the 987 participants voted in support of this measure.

David Ruiz, his wife and the owner of Stillwater restaurant in Fairfax opened it in June 2020. This location was originally equipped with a rear patio. However, Fairfax allowed for parklets to be built so Stillwater added one. It accounts for approximately a third (or less) of the total capacity of the restaurant.

“It is a gamechanger, for certain,” he stated. We probably have 30 to 100 people there each day.”

Veselka is a mainstay of Manhattan’s Ukrainian Village. She built an outdoor structure to hold roughly 50 people.

Jason Birchard, co-owner said that it has really contributed to my bottom line. It’s certainly earned its keep without those 11 tables and 50 seats.

It extra sales from those tablesVeselka was able to resume its 24-hour pre-pandemic service with less pressure even as the city relaxed restaurant curfew Laws Staffing troublesThey would be difficult to resume after such a long night with rowdy people at the end of the evening.

While outdoor dining is becoming a popular fixture in restaurants’ menus, it has its challenges. There have been complaints from some eateries about loud outdoor patrons and the loss parking spots.

Pietro Gianni co-owner of Atlanta’s Storico Fresco, Forza Storico and Forza Storico restaurants said that there was resistance at the beginning about parking. “I prefer to have four parking spots in front of my restaurant with people seated so you can see it, rather than four Yukons and a wall full of SUVs.”  

De Blasio in New York City has justified the loss of approximately 8,550 parking spaces and credit the program for saving 100,000 jobs. According to 2019 estimates, the city had 3,000,000 parking spots available.

Andrew Rigie is the executive director of New York City Hospitality Alliance. He lobbies for restaurants. As many people will tell you, one parking space is only for one vehicle. They are usually temporary and limited in number.

The safety of these dining areas is also a concern for opponents. A sanitation truck was driving down Manhattan on Wednesday when it accidentally picked up an outdoor dining room with someone inside and dragged it down the street.

Another issue is sanitation.

Stuart Waldman from Cue Up NYC told CNBC’s Kate Rogers that rats were seen coming out the sheds almost every single day. Cue Up NYC or the Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy is an alliance consisting of neighborhood groups that are opposed to the city’s outdoor dining plan.

Even though cities are trying to solve these problems, some restaurants might find their customers less inclined to eat outside all year. Restaurants reported that last winter’s cold weather saw many diners brave the elements rather than eating indoors. invest in propane heaters and other features to warm customers. Veselka for instance, has enclosed some of its outdoor structures.

Many restaurateurs plan to keep their street-side restaurants open throughout winter. However, they might change their plans depending on the demand. Many consumers are now comfortable eating indoors after receiving the Covid-19 vaccines. However, a new version or an increase in cases may change their mind.

Gianni stated, “I think some people won’t go back in the dining room.”

Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.