A Table Outside? More Diners Say No Way | Kanebridge News
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A Table Outside? More Diners Say No Way

Restaurants say heat waves, smoke have hurt their outdoor dining business

Tue, Aug 15, 2023 8:32amGrey Clock 3 min

Stretches of severely high temperatures across the U.S. are taking a toll on restaurants.

Customers are avoiding patios during heat waves, cutting into a key source of summertime sales for many restaurants, owners said. Visits in July and August declined from earlier in the year, industry data showed, with chains including Chuy’s and Cheesecake Factory reporting a decline in outdoor business this summer.

“No one’s sitting out in the patio at 100 degrees,” Steve Hislop, chief executive of Texas-based Chuy’s, said during an Aug. 3 earnings call.

Utility expenses are also rising as restaurants run air conditioning at full blast for long stretches of time, operators and industry groups said.

Temperatures climbing to the highest levels in recorded history this summer have hurt hospitality, sports, agriculture and many other businesses. In states such as Texas, weeks of days topping 100 degrees are expected to reduce overall economic productivity.

Restaurants are contending with heat and smoke as many operators are fighting for sales from cash-strapped consumers, and dealing with high inflation in food, labour and other costs.

Diners overall at restaurants in Arizona, Florida and Georgia dropped between 6% and 8% in the first part of August compared with last year’s period, according to OpenTable. The reservation tech company also recorded diner declines in other states running hot this summer, including Texas and North Carolina.

“This summer does feel different,” said Kelsey Erickson Streufert, chief public affairs officer for the Texas Restaurant Association trade group. “It’s a little tougher to get people to come out.”

Employees working at restaurants and bars dipped 1.5% in July compared with the month prior, with steep declines in cities such as San Antonio, New Orleans and Phoenix that recorded high temperatures during the month, according to Homebase, a small business workforce app. The declines likely stemmed from extreme temperatures disrupting consumer spending and foot traffic, Homebase said.

Worker advocates are increasingly making heat an issue in campaigns for improved conditions for restaurant workers. Some are pushing for better enforcement of existing standards and additional federal indoor heat regulations to provide employees breaks and water when temperatures rise.

“We’ve seen 86 degrees on the coolest side of the kitchen,” said Ariana Lingerfeldt, a cook at an Asheville, N.C., restaurant who is a member of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United worker advocacy group, during an Aug. 9 event pushing for more heat standards. “The air conditioner is unable to keep up with the equipment.”

Some restaurant operators said they are giving their workers more water and rest breaks, since kitchen temperatures can climb steeply despite air-conditioning.

Many restaurants set up patios in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have come to rely on them to drive summer sales. New York City, for example, is poised to make expanded outdoor dining in roadways permanent from April to November, and supporters say patios have helped restaurants maintain sales and jobs.

Now, some restaurant owners said those patio sales are drying up when temperatures surge, or wildfire smoke blows.

“When the sun’s on it, it’s literally scalding out there,” said Marc Hochmuth, general manager of City Social restaurant in downtown Chicago, which has a patio. Hochmuth said his business dropped about 20% overall when temperatures soared this summer.

Zoe Dean-Neil, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania resident who was on vacation in Chicago in August, said she opted to eat inside in the air conditioning after a day walking around in the heat. “I don’t want to sit outside and sweat,” she said.

Smoke drifting into the U.S. from Canadian wildfires also affected business at restaurants in parts of the country earlier this summer. John DuBuque, a 31-year-old management consultant from Chicago, said he tried to have a glass of wine outside during one heavily smoky period in the city, and regretted it.

“It was not the vibe,” said DuBuque, who said he now makes more outdoor dining decisions based on the air quality index.

Restaurant owners are trying to work around the weather. Sue Rigler, owner of Hundred Mile Brewing Company in Tempe, Ariz., said she is misting and putting extra fans on her outside beer chilling units to keep them cool. She has also cut back on labor in response to slower sales that she attributes to the heat.

“July was a really hard month,” Rigler said. “We finally got a break at 108, and they call that a break.”

Tom Hutchinson, owner of La Posta de Mesilla and Hacienda de Mesilla in New Mexico, said his hotel and restaurants are promoting cold beers and margaritas to attract customers. He is also hoping to keep people coming to the outdoor space surrounding their adobe building at night when temperatures may fall to the 90s.

“We don’t have humidity in our state and you can tolerate that,” he said.

Longer term, restaurant operators are trying to adjust to more climate-driven variables.

Avram Hornik, owner of the FCM Hospitality group of restaurants, bars and outdoor pop-up venues in Philadelphia, said his sales are down 30% this summer because of weeks of heat and rain. Smoky conditions in June didn’t help, he said.

“I look at it such as being a farmer. The weather controls all,” he said.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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