Patio Heater Shortage May Prevent The Extension Of Outdoor Seating For Some Restaurants

DULUTH, Minn. – The pandemic is continuing to put a strain on restaurant capacities, but low temperatures across the northland are making it harder to offer outdoor seating.

As a result, the demand for patio heaters and fire pits has drastically increased.

Restaurant owners are doing the most they can to overcome the hurdle of limited indoor capacities.

Patio seating is one way to help manage that limitation.

As temperatures continue to drop, patio heaters are becoming a hot ticket item and now restaurants are scrambling to find them

“Availability on these particular patio heaters is undetermined at this point. We have some orders out looking to see if we can get them filled,” said Managing Partner of Duluth Stove and Fireplace Matt Boo.

Sir Benedict’s Tavern in Duluth is one of the many restaurants utilizing patio seating during this chilly season.

The owner says he had to do some research to find some form of heating equipment for the outdoor space.

He also says providing extending outdoor seating is more than just dealing with capacity restrictions.

“I think there is a large subset that isn’t comfortable coming inside of an establishment. This gives people an opportunity if they just want to come and get out of their house,” said Josh Stotts.

Currently, restaurants are only allowed to offer indoor seating at 50% capacity.

A recent Google study showed online searches for patio heaters have jumped by nearly 70% nationwide compared to the same time last year.

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