Outdoor dining, whether it's a full patio or just an area of the sidewalk set aside for a few bistro tables, is an effective way to draw in new customers to your restaurant while also providing additional seating options. Safety is a primary concern, both for the diners and for your employees. The following can help you choose the best way to protect the outdoor dining area from the surround traffic.
Tip #1: Create an obstruction
One of the most important aspects of the patio railing will be its ability to withstand a strike from an out-of-control vehicle. It isn't unheard of for cars to jump a curb and come up on a sidewalk or patio in front of a restaurant, and some cities have even developed codes requiring obstructions to be placed around outdoor dining areas. Common obstruction items include concrete barriers. You can even have a railing manufacturer work these into the railing design, with the barriers creating the posts or a lower wall. They are then fitted with hardware so you can install more attractive railings and fences into the actual barrier.
Tip #2: Opt for durability
Durability is your next concern after safety. You need railings that can withstand weathering, no matter the season. They also need to stand up to hard use from both diners and passersby, who may lean on them, sit on them, or even jump over them. Stainless steel railings and fence panels work well, since these can withstand weathering and remain attractive. Stainless steel is difficult to bend or break, and it also resists rusting and corrosion. Wood, on the other hand, will splinter and break, especially as it ages.
Tip #3: Consider maintenance needs
Fortunately, durable railings like stainless steel are also relatively low maintenance. If you go for a smooth finish, they will be simple to wipe clean. This can be handy if you are concerned about food residue or general grime building up on your railings. Avoid brushed or etched finishes, since dirt can collect in the small grooves. Stainless steel will need wiped down daily with a soft cloth and a window cleaner or stainless steel cleaner. Wrought iron, on the other hand, will eventually need sanded down and repainted to prevent rust from forming. Wood will also require regular sanding and refinishing as the paint peels. It is also difficult to scrub dirt from the surface of wood.
Contact a railing manufacturer in your area to get more help in designing the perfect railing and fencing for your outdoor dining area.