Dining pods, igloos and other creative outdoor seating options continue to be a needed source of revenue for restaurants. In an industry of narrow margins, the benefits of these spaces can’t be unseen – operators would be foolish to let go of the opportunities they now know these spaces provide to boost profitability, advertise menu items to people passing by, and cater to guests who simply don’t feel comfortable eating in a crowded dining room anymore. (In fact, data that Yelp released earlier in the year indicated that the total number of restaurants listing outdoor dining on their website was more than 26,000 – up from less than 8,000 in February of 2020.) However, the novelty of these spaces has had time to wear off and not everyone wants them where they live. As a result, it has become more common for restaurant operators to face criticism from neighbors for everything from noise pollution to increased rodent activity due to the use of outdoor dining areas. But there are ways to keep the peace if you’re struggling. A recent opinion piece on Restaurant Dive suggested that outdoor eateries could be built without speakers – or that restaurants be required to turn down the music at a certain hour in the evening. Cities might offer restaurant operators a standard kit of materials designed to keep them clean and safe for guests, neighbors and others. People who live adjacent to the restaurant could be offered a special discount or other perk when they visit to help secure their buy-in. The holiday period can be a good time to extend some of this goodwill to help smooth out relations and generate some winter business in the months ahead.