As the weather cools, you’re likely to experience a shift in guest preferences and expectations when it comes to your available seating, both indoors and out. While many of your guests may have put the pandemic behind them and are happy to eat inside, others may be looking to avoid mixing with others indoors and expecting your outdoor seating area to be open. Now is a good time to give your cool-weather plan a review so you can readily tell guests in advance (on your website, reservations platform, phone line and other places where you provide information about your restaurant) whether your outdoor seating area is open, as well as share any adaptations you have made to make the area more comfortable in chilly weather. After all, in an era of abundant plexiglass and dining bubbles, outdoor dining in cool weather can look very different across restaurants. While you’re at it, consider the comfort and safety of your outdoor furniture – including replacing aluminum chairs that are icy to the touch or using blankets to warm them up, covering or securely storing outdoor furniture overnight to protect it against inclement weather, and clearing away leaves, twigs and other debris that may collect on your walkways and cause a tripping hazard.