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Tip Sheets

Cold weather dining: Restaurants should ‘lean-in’ to the elements

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli

Restaurants in New York City and other city centers around the country are making plans to reopen for reduced-capacity indoor dining. 

Lilly Jan, senior lecturer of food and beverage management at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell, says that restaurant operators should find creative ways to resume indoor dining while considering maintaining viable options for outdoor dining as well.


Lilly Jan

Lilly Jan

Lecturer of food and beverage management

“Finding a creative way to lean-in to the cold weather outdoor dining might help some operators and create opportunities for interesting dining experiences. Tabletop smores, vodka flights, hot cocktails, can be options for enhancing offerings for guests while potentially improving profits and without significant costs. 

“It may be worthwhile for operators to consider how guests’ dining experience outdoors might change with regards to food – cold weather means hot foods will lose temperature faster, which may impact perceived qualify of the food and meal. As operators look at their menu items, thinking of dishes that may not suffer so much in the cold weather may help keep diners happy. 

“For indoor dining, it’s important to remember the guests concerns – it’s not just about their own health, but whether the staff are comfortable serving them as well. Many guests know that for employees, it’s a stressful time too so ensuring guests are aware of how employees are being cared for and considered will be part of creating a comfortable environment for indoor dining.”

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