Expanded patios have been key to survival for some restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues able to make up for the lost indoor space due to public health orders limiting capacity, or, in some cases, outright banning indoor gatherings. With fall and winter steadily approaching, some restaurateurs are fretting the cold season as it could put them out of business, reported CP24.
“If the next few months of COVID does not go away or they don’t find a solution or medication or something, it’s going to cripple the city for sure,” said Charles Khabouth, who operates Toronto-based Ink Entertainment, a company that runs dozens of clubs, restaurants, entertainment venues, and music festivals.
Ink Entertinament Properties
Khabouth warned, “It’s going to get worse because come October, November, December, it gets cold, there’s no traffic, people are not on patios and people are not walking around.”
To his point, heating degree day (HDD), a measurement designed to quantify the demand for energy needed to heat a building, will steadily increase in Canada and the US through mid-Oct.
In Canada and certain northern parts of the US, cold weather could render outdoor seating or standing areas for restaurants or clubs useless, further pressuring cash flows as indoor spaces continue to be limited or banned. This poses a significant problem for operators that must shrink operations in the colder months as people stay home, unwilling to have a meal or drink in freezing outdoor weather.
Ahead of the winter season, operators must choose to keep staff and operations running at full tilt or reduce the workforce in anticipation of collapsing demand come October, November, December, January, and February.
Some restaurants are purchasing electric and gas heaters to keep patrons warm during the upcoming cold season – with those added costs, does that mean operators will pass it along to patrons?
Here’s the next question: Will Old Man Winter lead to an even larger bust cycle of restaurants?