Toronto restaurants without covered patios have been majorly struggling with the recent bout of rainy weather, which makes it difficult to predict whether or not they’ll be able to do business.
Even some patios with coverings set up have been getting rained out as the rain pelts down.
For places like Khau Gully, an Indian restaurant with a curbside patio with no covering at all, the situation can get pretty dire.
“The rains have been very unforgiving this year and as we do not have a covered patio, we lost a lot of business. Not every customer wishes to sit out on a damp and chilly morning or evening,” Khau Gully owner Abhishek Arun tells blogTO.
“There were so many calls we kept getting about the weather getting better but just like them, we were clueless as the forecast would say one thing and the reality another.”
Arun says the restaurant can’t afford any kind of covering for their patio as they’ve already invested in retaining staff, rent and overheads, as well as equipping the interior with plexiglass for indoor dining when they ended up only being able to open up inside for a brief period.
They’ve only been able to equip their patio with blocks to add a little comfort for customers, and Arun says there’s not much point to adding other enhancements when he’s not even sure of the returns he’ll see on an investment like that as people might still cancel reservations due to weather.
“Customers would cancel reservations in large numbers and we lose a lot of business as tables of fours and threes would dismiss dining out on the patio due to poor weather conditions,” says Arun.
At sports bar Round the Horn, owner Kristin McNeill has been trying to deal with the rain by handing out umbrellas and simply being persistent.
“We hand out personal umbrellas to patrons who are willing to stick it out and finish eating and drinking,” McNeill tells blogTO.
“If there is a game on the TVs people have been more willing to sit through the rain. As long as its not a thunderstorm we try to keep serving.”
She says not only does the bad weather make it difficult to predict whether customers will come in and stay, it also makes it tough to schedule staff.
“The rain makes an already unpredictable situation even more unpredictable,” says McNeill. “It’s difficult to plan a schedule and make sure all the staff get the hours they need not knowing what days we will be closed for rain days.”