Given all of the new changes coming to the restaurant industry, a guide to surviving the winter is in order. New York City is experiencing the toughest restrictions, but every restaurant should be considering two things: how to form a robust plan for patio dining and how to optimize online ordering.

New Restrictions

Coming on the heels of recent reimposed indoor dining restrictions, restaurants now face a winter season that comes with its own set of challenges. Restaurants in the Northeast will need to strategize and develop a scalable plan that abides by new guidelines. New York City dining establishments in particular are jumping through hoops to create an environment that aligns with state government requirements. What are these stipulations?

According to Eater, The NYC Department of Transportation requires a retrofitted curbside outdoor dining setup with more safety features including heavy filler material, more reflective strips, and brightly-colored snow sticks. If there is a snow day alert, curbside dining will need to be closed and setups taken down. New York is an example that demonstrates to other states the need to be aware of tightening restrictions and remain agile during the transition into winter.

Shifting the Guest Experience to the Patio

It’s clear that restaurants in colder areas will need to be strategic about keeping their patios open, while warmer states experience a built-in advantage. Regardless, this alternative will prove extremely important for businesses because it is conducive to a safer, more comfortable guest experience. So what do restaurants in colder climates need to do to make outdoor dining viable at their location this winter?

Businesses will need to winterize their patios to keep outdoor seating available, which will benefit guests, staff, and the entire operation. Customers and employees report feeling more comfortable with outdoor dining, and it’s no surprise why: many are aware that transmission of the virus is lower outside and the air filters itself through constant movement. Staff feel more confident about coming into work under these circumstances, which will have a direct positive impact on employee turnover.

The most important benefit to adapting to an outdoor environment is that it will maximize revenue. In places like San Francisco and New York City where indoor dining has come up against reimposed restrictions, outdoor seating availability is an essential source of revenue. If this trend continues, the patio may be an asset that carries beyond just the summer months in the future.

Online Ordering & Digital-First Mentality

Beyond patio dining, there is a growing emphasis on another trend: online ordering. Twenty percent of American consumers admit they spend more on online orders than traditional dine-in experiences. This trend is dominating the restaurant industry and consumers are virtually outpacing restaurants with their digital-first mentality. As a result, online ordering for both delivery and takeout has become an extremely important source of revenue for many businesses.

Sixty percent of American consumers order delivery or takeout once a week. To meet increased demand for these channels, restaurants need the capacity to fulfill these orders by ensuring online ordering and fulfillment are backed by robust processes or solutions. Given the current digital migration, businesses should invest in innovative technologies that improve productivity and streamline operations. By doing so, they can greet online customers with a convenient, seamless experience that inspires delight. Investing in powerful solutions with these capabilities will enable restaurants to navigate any unexpected challenges in the coming months.

Presto Can Help

Presto is an asset for restaurants that are seeking out ways to survive the winter. With reimposed indoor dining restrictions unfolding, patio seating and off-premise channels are becoming increasingly important. In terms of online ordering, Presto gives guests the option to pre-order and prepay for their takeout meal anywhere using their phone.

Whether it’s patio or indoor dining, Presto Contactless makes guests and staff feel comfortable by minimizing human contact. In the chilly months ahead, staff at Presto-powered restaurants will enjoy less back and forth between tables and the POS terminal, and managers will benefit from increased productivity.

Our clients have found that they can maximize revenue through accepting QR-code order and payment via indoor dining, patio seating, and to-go. Above all, they are enabled to create a superior guest experience that will outlast the pandemic. Learn more about our solution at