New convertible patio enclosure extends season, adds seats, boosts bottom line

NOVEMBER 30, 2010 | River Falls, WI

The Cabreeze got lots of attention this year when it was unveiled as a featured item at the 2010 Wisconsin Restaurant Expo. The convertible patio enclosure, featuring a retractable ceiling and walls, was promoted to the restaurant and hospitality industry as a cost-effective way to use outdoor spaces during any kind of weather. Since then, the first structure developed by River Falls-based Cabreeze, has now been installed at the Lake Elmo Inn in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

John Schiltz, owner of the Lake Elmo Inn, has always had good patio business, but with the addition of a Cabreeze structure, he can now cash in on this business year-round. “We have already booked 700 additional guests on our patio for the holiday season. Living in Minnesota, I never thought I would be able to say that,” claimed Schiltz.

Schiltz had a custom Cabreeze structure built to fit his 550 square foot patio at a fraction of the cost of adding on. The structure’s insulated glass panels will allow him to heat the space during the cold months and capture revenue from the additional seats year round. When the warm weather returns, the retractable roof and walls of the Cabreeze turn the space into a patio once again, allowing guests to enjoy the open air. Even in warm months, at the first sign of inclement weather, the roof and walls can simply be closed, with no interruption to the customers or to the business.

“We used to have a tent on our patio and no matter how we dressed it up, it was still a tent,” said Schiltz. “Our Cabreeze is not only functional, but it looks fantastic and adds to the character of our building.”

Cabreeze was developed by Kent Forsland, the founder of Designer Doors, a wood door company specializing in entrance doors, garage doors, service doors, garden gates, and shutters that complement each other and the home where they are installed. He found that many beautiful homes had very unappealing doors and he set out to design attractive ones that had more architectural harmony with the homes they were attached to. The idea was a hit and Forsland was able to retire from the company’s success.

Forsland didn’t stay retired for long before acting on a similar idea with Cabreeze. He was vacationing in Arizona and noted that many restaurants were unable to provide enough seating for all the “snowbird” tourists. Most restaurants had ample outdoor patio seating that would go unused during weather that was too cool or too wet. Forsland had a mission to develop an attractive patio cover that allowed people to be outside more often. He once again applied his philosophy of “architectural harmony,” and developed the Cabreeze, a convertible patio structure that provides total control over inclement weather situations. Forsland notes, “The Cabreeze is an affordable solution for extending the patio season, generating buzz, increasing seating capacity and ultimately boosting an establishment’s bottom line.”

The Cabreeze structure at the Lake Elmo Inn was installed in November.