Outside Dining in the time of Covid-19

This is a fast and affordable way of accommodating more people at an establishment in an effort to offset the loss in sales from government regulations. Many businesses failed to treat outdoor seating areas as an extension of their interior seating and instead saw it as it has always been, a few chairs put out as extra seating. With the most recent regulations preventing in door seating it is now essential to prepare the outdoors for customers. This can be done through the provision of comfortable outdoor seats, coverage, reservation service and waiting service to exterior tables. Additional comforts such as heaters should also be available in order to keep this space as an option through the winter.

– Structure and Design
Many restaurants are attempting to make permanent changes to their premises in order to keep the design aesthetic. This is done by removing temporary perspex screens and replacing them with picture framed glass or permanent wood dividers between tables. Another important aspect to consider is closing off your outdoor seating area from the surrounding street, this can be done by utilising plant pots, glass walls, picket fences or artistic murals on otherwise grey walls. This will also help to prevent drafts for your outdoor guests. Full canopy, glass or wooden roofs are preferable over quick fixes such as outside umbrellas as they may not be able to stand up to the temperamental Irish climate. Some premises have utilised isolation dome seating for tables to bubble up from each other while dining but this is a more expensive option.

– Food Temp
When serving food outdoors some unforeseen issues can arise such as keeping your food hot when it must pass outside the front door and into a chilly environment. A few ways of solving this issue include covering the food in a metal dome and giving a silver service experience to your guests or by using a closed service trolley. These amendments can be seen as a service extra in opposition to competitors and also prevent customer complaints or food safety issues with dropping temperatures.

– Pest Control
Outdoor dining also has a significant issue in pest prevention, nearly everyone has had an experience of a wasp or fly not leaving their food alone until you move inside. With inside dining being removed as an option these pests need to be dealt with decidedly. Some options include bait traps in the corners of the seating area for rodents, a mesh fly net in between the walls and roof covering which still provides ventilation and also quick service ensuring the area is cleared and cleaned thoroughly after the customers have left. These practices reduce the possibility of pest infestation but are also essential practices in these covid-19 times.

If you need any advice for your outdoor needs contact The Food Safety Company at info@thefoodsafetycompany.ie or 021-4355917