Is your restaurant ready for winter? With the cold temperatures coming, you need to be certain that you can provide a warm, welcoming place for your customers to enjoy a meal. Creating that space requires a working HVAC system that can keep the restaurant cozy and toasty. Here are some tips to help you prepare your system for everything that winter can throw at you.
Keep Using the Outdoor Space with Patio Heaters
If your restaurant has an outdoor eating space, you don't have to close up shop just because it is winter. Yes, there may be days or even weeks when it's too cold to be practical, but cooler temperatures do not mean your guests have to head indoors. Consider investing in portable heating options such as patio heaters, as well as awnings to help keep your outdoor eating areas warm.
Why is this important? When you can serve guests outdoors, you open up more tables where guests can dine. This allows you to serve more people per hour, increasing your profits. Also, the novelty of being able to eat outdoors in the winter while remaining comfortable may draw some guests to your restaurant over the competition.
Portable heating can also help you extend your reach during the winter months. Does your restaurant offer catering? You will be surprised how many of your clients would love to have outdoor events, even if the temperatures are a little cooler than average. If you have a portable heating option that can heat up a tent, you can offer catering to outdoor events without worry about guest comfort and food quality.
Be Prepared for Power Outages
A power outage is devastating to your business. Power outages lead to lost food and lost business. You can prevent this damage with the right planning.
First, invest in a generator. The generator can kick in and keep your food at safe temperatures while you ride out a power outage, so that you avoid wasted inventory.
With that said, buying a generator that is large enough to power your heating system may not be practical for the occasional power outage. In this case, it may be wise to partner with a company that can provide temporary heating solutions to keep your customers warm if something happens to the power.
Have the Furnace Inspected
Before winter hits in full force, have your heating system inspected by an HVAC professional. This will ensure first that it is operating safely, without a risk of something breaking in the near future. It will also help you know that your system is running as efficiently as possible, which will in turn help you save money.
Consider Cooling the Kitchen
When you start to run the heater in your restaurant, does your kitchen get unbearably hot? Unless your restaurant has a zoned heating or cooling system, the heating system will run when the dining area gets cool. In the kitchen, where ovens and stoves are always on, this can become uncomfortably hot.
This problem has two basic solutions. Either you can install a zone heating system, or you can invest in portable air conditioning units to use in the kitchens. It may seem counterproductive to cool an area of your restaurant in the winter, when you are heating everything else, but your kitchen staff deserves a comfortable place to work. Zone heating systems may be difficult to retrofit, so portable air conditioning during those times when you are running the heat is an important option.
Being ready for winter in your restaurant means more than simply pulling out your tasty soups and shelving the recipes for strawberry salads. It also means making sure your restaurant is ready for the cold temperatures of winter. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can ensure that everyone who comes to your restaurant—guests and workers alike—feels comfortable in the midst of winter.
The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.