Industry Trends

Restaurant Industry Trends: Outdoor Dining

4 min read

You all know the gist already, but to sum it up quite simply: COVID-19 is affecting every aspects of life, all types of businesses, work life, and especially the state of the restaurant industry. As we have all recently learned, numbers are beginning to skyrocket again.

As businesses open back up and people have reached just about all they can take staying inside. With about 2.5 million COVID cases, the US has the highest number of confirmed infections in the world. That is about a quarter of the global total. [i] 

The US has also conducted the highest number of tests, approximately 20 million. Which explains the high number of confirmed cases, however this is not the sole reason for rising numbers of COVID-19. [i] Business owners continue their efforts to make a long term “new normal” change in their business plan to adapt to COVID. Because of this, outdoor dining is here to stay. What will this look like in cooler months? How will business learn to gear the social aspect of how they gain revenue to safe, socially distant, sanitized conditions?

According to Bloomberg, an architect, has created a prototype for outdoor dining that is socially distanced and easily implemented in different settings. [ii] It is pretty clear that the restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. There has been speculation that a number of restaurants will not open back up. [ii] 

Restaurant Industry Plans For NYC

Mayor de Blasio of NYC announced that their Open Restaurant program will return on June 1st, 2021. [iii] The city’s Open Restaurant program was implemented to help restaurant industry businesses struggling during the pandemic that closed off about 100 miles of streets across all five boroughs. [iv] An estimated 80,000 jobs from more than 9,000 participating businesses have been saved since the program’s start. [iii]

“I wanted to say it now because I want people in communities to look forward and see that we’re going to keep coming back strong. I want the folks who own the restaurants to know that they’re going to have that additional revenue going forward. The folks who work in the restaurants to know that whatever else we have to weather, we have seen that this experiment worked,” said the mayor. [iii]

Although outdoor dining is the most logical response to help restaurants stay in business. Naturally there are some hurdles that restaurant owners must jump over. One prominent problem being the weather. A restaurant in NYC was approved for opening expanded outdoor seating on June 22nd, and has seen a gigantic increase in sales and has been “slammed every day”.


Issues With Outdoor Seating

The only issue with sales increasing again due to outdoor seating being available, is that if it does start raining or the weather doesn’t permit outdoor seating, restaurants who don’t typically have outdoor seating don’t have the processes and equipment to keep customers safe during rowdy weather. Not to mention the heat of July and August, really anywhere in the country besides Northern California. Another hurdle for businesses is safety regulations. It’s a lot easier to require customers wear masks while inside because you can easily monitor and have eyes on most if not all customers, but when outside of the restaurant, this is particularly harder to monitor and keep track of.

Another restaurant in the busy streets of New York says, “outdoor dining isn’t really driving business at Di an Di, and they aren’t trying to depend on it. ‘The route of outdoor dining is very limited and there is definitely an end to this,’ Quan explains. ‘Everyone knows it’s just something we have to do and to hold us down until we can have guests come inside and eat.’”


To sum this article up: What does the future of dining look like as we make our way into cooler months? Rainier months? Winter? When will restaurants open back up full time? Even the experts don’t have answers to these but what we do have is this: business owners must adapt to survive. And adapting involves businesses like Rogers behind the scenes helping these businesses do just that. How can we help adapt? How can we help restaurants and grocery stores and retail chains stay afloat as they navigate these uncharted waters? We have enjoyed bringing new industry updates to our fellow Rogers followers, and look forward to connecting with you if any of these needs fit what you need. Head on over to our contact page to ask us any and all questions.