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Denver Restaurants Get Creative With Winterized Outdoor Dining

Denver Restaurants Get Creative With Winterized Outdoor Dining

Winter is coming. There’s no getting around the fact that patio season as we know it will soon come to an end, and with it the opportunity for diners to enjoy the warm weather on expanded restaurant and bar outdoor eating areas, while COVID-related indoor dining capacity remains restricted to 50 percent or up to fifty people (with some exceptions).

Coloradans are a hearty bunch, braving the elements at the Beach at Arapahoe Basin for burgers and beers during ski season, dancing the night away at the annual Icelantic Winter on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and tailgating in the most miserable conditions before Broncos games. But what about a romantic dinner for two under the stars in January, or cocktails with friends during an outdoor Sunday brunch when the wind cuts through your sweater quicker than the first Bloody Mary cuts through the haze of your hangover?

A drive through Denver’s many neighborhoods and restaurant zones reveals that most businesses are still in summer mode, with misters going full blast; umbrellas, tarps and open-sided tents deployed to provide shade; and the occasional patio heater on hand for those evenings when temperatures dip into the 50s. But some businesses are already getting creative in order to keep guests comfortable outside this winter, taking advantage of the City of Denver’s one-year extension of its expanded outdoor seating program, which now allows bars and restaurants to spill out onto parking lots, lawns, sidewalks and traffic lanes through October 2021.

And they may have to get very creative: Larger outdoor seating areas could end up being considered indoors for capacity purposes under recently released guidelines from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. According to those rules, open-sided tents are considered outdoors, as are tents with two opposite sides open; the only

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New Study Reveals 450% Surge in Consumers Texting Main Street Businesses, Restaurants and Salons During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Study Reveals 450% Surge in Consumers Texting Main Street Businesses, Restaurants and Salons During COVID-19 Pandemic

Numa research sees significant boost in conversational commerce

Numa, a leading answering service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that ensures businesses never miss a call or text, today released its latest research on consumer engagement with Main Street businesses. Its infographic, “COVID-19 Changes How Customers Shop at Main Street Businesses,” illustrates surging demand for conversational commerce among consumers and how businesses are evolving communications to service customers in stores and off premises.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

STUDY REVEALS 450% SURGE IN CONSUMERS TEXTING MAIN STREET BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS AND SALONS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC. Numa research sees significant boost in conversational commerce. (Graphic: Business Wire)

“Our data, based on actual product usage data from small and medium-sized companies, indicates a shift in customer behavior prompted in large part by the global pandemic and shuttering of businesses,” said Numa Founder and CEO Tasso Roumeliotis. “Even before the crisis, customers had shown a preference for texting with businesses in addition to calling, but over the last several months there has been a dramatic increase in virtual engagement and a desire to communicate across multiple channels.”

Businesses today are not only struggling to meet consumer demand but also to adapt to new operational requirements that bring contactless solutions into the equation. With 98% of all text messages opened and 95% responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered, texting is one of the easiest and most immediate ways for businesses to strengthen consumer relationships—even from afar. Add to that the ability to accommodate curbside pickup and 24/7 communication, which mitigates the impact of limited staff and time away from stores, and businesses immediately possess powerful tools to take them beyond surviving to thriving.

After a deep analysis of user behavior, Numa findings include an increase in

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Restaurants get creative to keep outdoor diners warm

Restaurants get creative to keep outdoor diners warm

People enjoy outdoor dining amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 14, 2020.

Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Ice huts, yurts and tents have been growing in popularity over the last several years as restaurateurs looked to extend the life of their outdoor patios.

This year, the popularity of such structures is soaring, thanks to capacity limits restricting the number of diners inside restaurants. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurant owners to get creative to keep their businesses afloat. Florida is among the few states that have allowed bars and restaurants to return to full capacity, but the overwhelming majority of eateries are still navigating how to attract as many customers as possible while obeying social distancing measures. Some operators responded to expanded outdoor dining with set-ups meant to reflect the aesthetic of their indoor dining rooms. 

But seating customers outside also means reckoning with the weather. Heavy rainfall in the summertime in New York decreased restaurant visits by 14%, according to a recent study of restaurant traffic and weather trends from Foursquare and AccuWeather. The season, city and type of cuisine can also influence how much weather can affect a restaurant’s traffic trends.

“We see, across the board, no matter where you are, it doesn’t matter what condition it is, people are going out in the fall,” said Bill McGarry, senior vice president of advertising sales at AccuWeather. “Whereas in the winter, in New York, you see when it’s really cold, nobody’s going out.”

Some restaurant owners are trying to buck the trend with cozy, heated outdoor set-ups. But others are choosing to go into hibernation rather than sink more money into outdoor dining. Fiberglass igloos, for example, cost $1,000 a pop. 

Here’s a few solutions that restaurants across the country are trying:


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As winter weather approaches, restaurants get creative with outdoor dining

As winter weather approaches, restaurants get creative with outdoor dining

For many restaurants across the nation, outdoor dining has served as a crucial pivot to recapture business lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced cities to shut down indoor dining to prevent the virus’ spread.

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, restaurants in locations with colder weather are starting to rethink how to keep outdoor dining open.

Research from the National Restaurant Association found 1 in 6 restaurants closed permanently or long term due to the pandemic. And as more states report rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, there’s a fear more restaurants will shut down. Continue reading.

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Restaurants, small businesses face closures without COVID-19 relief

Restaurants, small businesses face closures without COVID-19 relief


After shutting down negotiations over a new COVID-19 stimulus package, President Trump said he would pass a standalone bill for $1,200 stimulus checks.


Restaurants and small businesses across the USA say they face dire situations without additional federal relief to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns have grown as another aid package for businesses and struggling Americans appears to be in limbo.

President Donald Trump quashed additional relief discussions Tuesday until after the  election Nov. 3. Several hours later, Trump softened his stance, saying he’s open to approving $1,200 payments to Americans and limited programs to support the airline industry and small businesses.

As many as one in 20 U.S. small businesses face possible closure without additional assistance, the International Franchisee Association estimates.

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“36,000 franchise small businesses won’t survive the winter without additional relief,” Matt Haller, the IFA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. “Trading a broad, bipartisan bill now for the vague goal of something better after the election is like quitting a game in the third quarter. American small businesses want the government to work as hard as they do to support their employees, families and communities.”

As of the end of August, 32,700 franchised businesses have closed in the USA and lost 1.4 million jobs, the IFA said. About one-third of those businesses are closed permanently, and about 40% of the job losses are permanent, estimates the group, which represents restaurants, gyms, hotels, salons and spas, day care and other businesses and services.

Bloom’s Pizza in West Bridgewater, Mass., is “closed for business.” (Photo:

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