Winterization is crucial for Canadian restaurants that depend on outdoor dining areas, but all restaurants can benefit from taking steps to winterize their establishment. Whether you have a seasonal summer business or only offer take-out during the winter, safeguarding your building from storms and low temperatures can help prevent damage. 

The weather is becoming more and more difficult to predict each year. While it may be tempting to delay winterizing your restaurant, an unseasonal storm or early freeze could catch unprepared businesses by surprise. Our friends at Chase have put together a list of items that restaurants should consider when winterizing your space. Here are some of the top things to check:

  1. Power sources: Canadians often experience power outages due to severe weather. To keep a restaurant operational during such occasions, have a backup power plan. A generator is advised. The generator should be placed in a well-ventilated area away from customers due to noise. A backup internet service is also recommended to continue accepting payments and maintaining communication with customers during outages.
  2. Windows, doors, and insulation: Proper insulation is essential to keep the restaurant comfortable and save on energy bills. Make sure to inspect windows and doors for drafts by clearing debris. Removing excesses dirt will create a better seal, as well as a more comfortable experience for your guests. Professional help may be required to replace sub-optimal insulation or weather stripping.
  3. Prevent slips and falls: Wet and snowy weather can increase safety risks. Restaurants should keep supplies such as kitty litter or calcium chloride to melt sidewalk ice, use non-slip mats in high-traffic areas, and consider an awning to protect walkways. You can also provide a coat check service to keep walkways clear. Compliance with Canada’s national accessibility standards is crucial to ensure the restaurant is inclusive for all customers.
  4. Winterize outdoor spaces: Outdoor spaces need to be prepared for harsh weather conditions. Reinforcing structures, weatherproofing roofs, and having the ability to close open spaces while maintaining ventilation is recommended.
  5. Indoor safety and preparation: If customers prefer dining indoors, streamline cleaning procedures to accommodate more guests. Make sure to use cleaning products that require less time to sanitize surfaces. Ensure your tables are adequately spaced out inside the restaurant and provide hand sanitizer for staff and patrons.

Winterizing your restaurant can keep you in business year-round, especially if you rely on outdoor dining. By properly preparing your restaurant for winter before temperatures drop, you can save money, prevent closures and service interruptions, and stay a step ahead. 

Embracing the season can also work wonders for your restaurant. By creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for both diners and staff, you’ll ensure your customers will continue to come back even during snow, sleet, and ice.

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