Local restaurant looks at options as cold weather starts to cut down outdoor seating

Shaniqua Juliano

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Throughout the warmer months of the pandemic, many restaurants have been relying on outdoor areas to help increase where customers can sit. But, with winter on the way many places are looking at what to do when they lose those outdoor seats to chilly temperatures.

a person standing in front of a window: Restaurants prepare for colder temperatures during the pandemic

© Provided by Huntsville-Decatur WAFF
Restaurants prepare for colder temperatures during the pandemic

Honest Coffee Roasters is a café in downtown Huntsville, when restaurants were first allowed to let customers back inside back in May, Owner Christy Graves took the cautious route and kept people outside.

Graves and her employees relied on their large garage door to serve people right out on the sidewalk and several outdoor tables and chairs to give people places to eat and drink. It’s part of a lot of adjustments they’ve made.

“We made a real effort to increase our to-go capabilities, we added a second delivery service, we got our online ordering up and ready to go and we’ve done a heavy concentration on our food menu.”

As we start to get colder, Graves is looking at once again having to change things up.

About three weeks ago, she reopened her indoor seating, but since the “Safer at Home Order” mandates different parties need to be six feet apart this only gives Graves about 20 more seats, still nothing close to the amount of seating she had last year.

In an attempt to keep that outside seating area an option during the winter, Graves is looking into different outdoor fireplaces. It’ll be yet another change, but she said they’ve all worked out well, so far.

“We’ve completely revamped the way we do our storage system, we’ve rebuilt all of our ordering guides, we’ve redeveloped out kitchen, we’ve just kind of adapted from just a third wave coffee shop to a full service café and it seems like people who enjoy a good cup of coffee are liking that they can also have food options,” Graves said.

Since Graves doesn’t have many seats inside she’s working to keep people on the move. She’s got a new rule in place that people are only allowed to sit down for an hour, this keeps seats open throughout the day for new customers. She said so far she hasn’t had any issues.

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