Outdoor Dining – Is It Here to Stay or Go?

Wrigleys Mansion Eclipse Portable Heater

2020 left a lasting impression on the world globally, a pandemic that sent the everyday norm to a different routine that changed lives and the environment. One of the remaining effects from the pandemic was the change from indoor to outdoor, notably in the restaurant industry. Al fresco dining became the trend towards the tail end of the pandemic with many restaurants trying to keep patrons at a distance while adhering to local laws. Parking lots were turned into outdoor patios and sidewalks become an extension of restaurants to serve customers and gave a positive experience of outdoor dining.

Pandemic Trends and Current Statistics

The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of outdoor dining, turning it from a temporary solution to a permanent fixture in restaurants and residential spaces alike. What began as a necessity for social distancing has evolved into a lifestyle choice, with consumers seeking well-designed, comfortable outdoor dining spaces for year-round enjoyment.”

Blake Petty, Specification Business Development

During the height of the pandemic, outdoor dining became a lifeline for many restaurants. Staff were put back to work, and the norm soon came to follow along with additional occupancy space. Statistics show a significant surge in outdoor dining’s popularity, with a sharp increase in establishments investing in outdoor spaces.

  • 70% of restaurants offered outdoor seating during the pandemic
  • 69% of adults like the option of sitting outside at a restaurant
  • 90% of restaurants with outdoor seating say they plan to continue to offer it

Despite global inflation, restaurants are operating at a pre-pandemic level with many of its patrons excited to choose al fresco dining as an option. Owners should note the benefits of outdoor dining that could help maximize sales by having more seats readily available.

Eclipse Portable Outside Dining

Things to Consider

While many think that outdoor dining spaces can operate by simply opening patio doors, it is far from the truth. The most cherished and highly rated restaurants that offer outdoor dining services run like well-oiled machines. They excel in delivering timely service, perfectly tempered meals, and a seamless flow that enhances the dining experience. But how do they achieve this remarkable feat? It all boils down to meticulous planning and a focus on prioritizing the patrons.

Comfortability and Experience

Ultimately, comfort should be prioritized for patrons. Owners should assess factors like sun exposure, car lights at night, and weather when designing the space. Comfortable patrons tend to stay longer and spend more on food and drinks. Amenities like outdoor heaters can prolong the outdoor dining season, encouraging longer stays and increased spending.

Flow of Restaurant and Staff

Efficient service is vital for outdoor dining, prompt delivery of food and drinks are essential as the kitchen and bar at a distance. Staff should be trained to recognize and address patrons’ comfort concerns without being told to do so by offering solutions like heaters and sun-blocking umbrellas. Similarly, a well-equipped server station, stocked with water and extra tableware, ensures seamless service, mirroring the indoor dining experience.

Empty bar with large tree in centre and gas heaters


As pandemic restrictions eased and cities aimed to support struggling restaurant owners, ordinances became more lenient, allowing outdoor dining to flourish. However, some cities began to re-enforce regulations as the pandemic restrictions devolved. This led many restaurants to adjust their outdoor setups or completely remove them. In response to push back from restaurants and patrons, these laws have been under review. While recent trends show a move towards more relaxed regulations towards outdoor dining, but it is always best to seek design professional help to understand the full requirements of any plans of a remodel or new construction as variation between municipalities is quite significant.


Time to Invest

Outdoor dining is no longer a temporary fix but is here to stay for the long-term. As many ponder investing in an outdoor space, they must prioritize patron’s comfort through quality and durability of the materials used in its space. According to a source at popular reservation app, OpenTable, outdoor dining was up 19% YoY during their summer season. High-grade amenities, such as top-quality heaters, ensure year-round comfort, maximizing profit by expanding an outdoor space.

Outdoor dining and design are undergoing a transformation, driven by a desire for comfort, style and sustainability. By embracing these trends and offering innovative solutions, Bromic Heating can cater to the evolving needs and preferences of today’s consumers, helping them create inviting and functional outdoor spaces to enjoy year-round.”

Blake Petty, Specification Business Development


Adaptability is key in the ever-changing landscape of outdoor dining. Portable heaters and versatile furniture allow for seamless adjustments to accommodate varying party sizes and preferences. Tables that can change from a party of 2 to a party of 6, adjustable and portable heaters, umbrellas that serve as shade from the sun, and many others drive how flexible a space cam be in order to seat more patrons in a timely manner with comfort.

Good Design

A well-designed outdoor space elevates the dining experience and maximizes its potential. Having an outdoor space that is transformed into an alley of an international location, an oasis away from the city life all make a difference in the dining experience. Comfortable seating with cushions, heaters that are recessed in that don’t appear to be there, all seamlessly blended to create the curated dining experience for guests.

Adorable outdoor restaurant with bright flowered walls and blankets over wicker chairs to keep patrons warm along with a Bromic Heater

Table for Outdoor or Indoors?

We’ll take the outdoor option. Outdoor dining has transcended its initial role as a pandemic necessity for traditionally indoor only restaurants to a permanent fixture in many restaurants. With the right investments, prioritization in patron’s comfort, and thoughtful design, restaurants can maximize their profits and offer additional benefits to their patrons for years to come. So, when you’re out at a restaurant next, request the patio.

Bromic’s Business Development Specialist, Blake Petty ends with the note, “The line between indoor and outdoor spaces continue to blur as the outdoor spaces are evolving into extensions of the interior, offering seamless blend of comfort, style and functionality.”

Talk to a Bromic Expert

Ready to maximize your profits and bring in more patrons to your door? Talk to a Bromic expert about how our heaters can elevate your space’s dining experience. We offer a free design consultation to see how Bromic heaters can be optimized for your space as well.


Is it better to have electric or gas-powered heaters for restaurants?

Bromic heaters are either gas or electric powered. The type of powered heater depends on access to the fuel type such as gas. Some spaces that are in the city may have trouble accessing a gas line and may need to use electric powered heaters. This will not change the power or strength of a heater, only the fuel source.

What is the best heater installation method for restaurants?

Each restaurant is unique; thus each solution and design are unique. Space, fuel access such as electric or gas, and overall goals affect all of this. With our free design consultation, you may discuss these factors and our team will come up with an optimal solution for your restaurant’s space.

Will infrared heating work for my restaurant?

All Bromic heaters use infrared heating technology. Your patrons will stay warm no matter the weather conditions.

Do you have portable heaters?

Yes, if you are looking for flexibility to move your heaters around to accommodate your patrons, our Eclipse Smart-Heat™ Portable and Tungsten Smart-Heat™ Portable heaters are available.

Are outdoor patio heaters waterproof?

While not waterproof, Bromic’s heaters are typically IP54 with some rated up to an IP55 to withstand elements such as rain. While not recommended to operate openly in the rain, our heaters are tested to withstand water tolerance, ensuring durability when exposed to rain. Read more about patio heaters and rain.

What’s the difference between an outdoor infrared heater and outdoor radiant heater?

An outdoor infrared heater is a type of radiant heater that specifically uses infrared light to generate heat. An outdoor radiant heater, more broadly, can use various forms of energy, including infrared light, to emit warmth. Learn more about the subtle differences in our Blog Post.