[Minnesota has] blizzards, snow, wind, sleet, ice, you name it. And, in a Minnesotan December, Lake Elmo Inn, one of the Early Adopters of the Cabreeze™, kept their patio open!
Last year after Thanksgiving, my cousins and I joined the mass of holiday shoppers at a Minnesotan mall. For lunch, we met at an upscale restaurant in the mall and put our names down on the waiting list. It was a cold, grey day and the spacious outdoor patio was shut down for the season. So we waited and waited.
Naturally, for every potential patron willing to be patient and wait for a restaurant table, there are a dozen others who decided to grab take-out at the nearest fast food joint because they didn’t want to wait. It’s true we could all learn to be a little more patient, but we live in a time where we can be impatient. There will be another place of business to obtain food from, even if it doesn’t taste as delicious.
Take a moment and access the right hemisphere of your brain with me: Imagine the restaurant from my story with a retractable roof over the patio. This would keep heat inside and provide protection from rain AND allow an open-air feeling during perfect weather. Next, add opening walls and a heating system, and voila! my restaurant would have been able to seat more clients that day in November, possibly retaining those impatient customers!
Here’s the good news: that retractable patio system doesn’t exist only in your right hemisphere. One of those patio systems is located at Lake Elmo Inn in Stillwater, Minnesota. Here’s one thing you might not know about a Minnesotan winter: dress in layers. We have blizzards, snow, wind, sleet, ice, you name it. And, in a Minnesotan December, Lake Elmo Inn, one of the Early Adopters of the Cabreeze™, kept their patio open! As owner John Schiltz put it, “In December we seated over 1,000 additional guests ($50,000 additional revenue!) on our patio. Living in Minnesota, I never thought I would be able to say that.”
The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is a heavy eating and dining out period for most Americans. Families are celebrating together, friends are partying together, worker bees are attending office parties at local restaurants. We are people of tradition, and food is still at the center of most celebrations.
If your restaurant consistently seats to capacity and has an outdoor patio, consider adding a retractable roof and/or opening walls. During inclement weather, your customers can enjoy the feeling of al fresco dining and you can enjoy the extra revenue!
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