Winter Could Bring an End to Outdoor Dining in 2020

September 29, 2020

According to the National Restaurant Association, during the pandemic more than 100,000 restaurants have closed either indefinitely or permanently and millions of jobs have been lost. Experts expect that the nation’s eateries will lose more than $240 million this year and warn that the worst could be yet to come. Along with takeout and curbside business, many restaurants have relied on outdoor dining to drive sales as many customers remain wary about eating inside. With winter on the horizon, however, this crucial source of revenue could soon freeze up. 

For instance, the owners of Kachka Alfresca in Portland, Oregon, increased revenue to $6,000 per day when they filled an adjacent parking lot with 30 picnic tables with individual tents. This allowed the Russian restaurant to hire back 20 additional employees and keep the business busy during the summer. On October 11th, though, Kachka Alfresca will close its outdoor dining operation in order to focus more on takeout and frozen food options. “Portland is moderate as far as temperatures go, which makes it a little bit easier, but it is so rainy that I just don’t think it will be pleasant,” said co-owner Bonnie Morales.

Meanwhile, other restaurants are investing heavily in heaters and even tents and igloos as a means to keep diners eating outside. Others are offering multi-course takeout meals so that customers can recreate the restaurant experience at home. Of course, it remains to be seen if any of these measures will be able to make up for the sales earned by summer outdoor dining. What’s more, many struggling eateries can barely afford to keep their lights on as it is, let alone pay for a new fleet of heaters. The National Restaurant Association estimates that 40 to 85 percent of operators won’t be able to survive unless they receive some sort of relief soon. 


  1. How has outdoor dining helped restaurants during the pandemic? 
  2. Do you think that restaurants should try to keep their outdoor dining operations going through the winter? Why or why not? 

Source: Tim Carman, “Outdoor Dining Has Helped Restaurants Avoid Disaster. But Winter is Coming,” The Washington Post, September 28, 2020.

5 Responses to Winter Could Bring an End to Outdoor Dining in 2020

  • just do whut sonic bin doing for a long time out door dining eating in side of your car maybe make an app whar you rite a code belonging to that place and take the food out side

  • 1. During the pandemic outdoor dining helps restaurants conduct business and still be able to achieve social distancing, to help contain the spread of the virus.
    2. I do not think they should keep it going cause making people sit in the cold is dumb and nobody is going to want to do that.

  • Q1:Outdoor dining has helped restaurants during the pandemic because it keeps the workers safe from being sick.
    Q2:I think they should because if they dont then they will not make no money but if they do keep it open then it might increase the chances of the workers getting sick.

  • 1: Outdoor dining helped the restaurants during the pandemic because people just do take out. They can’t go inside and people decide to go outside but be six feet apart. But as winter is coming it’s going to be cold and people are going to decide that it’s to cold to go outside and it might not harm the restaurant but it’s bad for outside dining.
    2: I think they should try to keep outdoor dining because they don’t always want to be in their house and want to go out. So they should keep it because people want to go to place.

  • 1) Outdoors helps restaurant to grow a little more, with this idea restaurants were able to hire more employees and also keep the employees safe while they’re working.

    2) I think that they shouldn’t keep the chair outside because of the winter, because people are going to be almost frozen before there food get ready and the employees can get sick because of the going in and out from frozen temperature to hot.

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