Restaurants hoping for patio sales bump with hot weather

Dan Allard of Cold Garden Brewery put up tents, with patio heaters and fire pits to keep the patio open last autumn. Cold Garden is one of the Calgary bars and restaurants that say patios helped them survive the pandemic. Cold Garden has doubled staff, from 14 to 33 employees

With temperatures reaching the low 30's Monday, restaurants and bars are hoping to see a sales bump from people looking to enjoy a cold drink on a public patio.

While dining restrictions eased last Thursday, the hospitality industry has been driven into a deep financial hole over the past year. Many invested heavily in outdoor patio spaces, while the city eased requirements for outdoor patio applications.

Cold Garden Brewery has enjoyed the change, saying their new patio space is ten times the size it was a year ago.

"Patio culture is huge in Calgary, we have such a limited window and Calgarians get so excited about it," said Dan Armand, co-founder of Cold Garden.

"Our expanded patio was a total crutch for us through COVID," he said, adding they've more than doubled staff as a result, from 14 to 33 employees.

According to the City of Calgary 195 patio expansions have already been approved since last year. Another 35 are underway.