Restaurant owners struggle with outdoor dining during cold temperatures, limited inside seating
Today's cold temperatures certainly won't be helping restaurants that are trying to stay afloat by serving guests outdoors, including Project Brunch and Ruocco's Italian Restaurant in Manalapan.
A large tent is set up outside at Project Brunch on Route 9. The restaurant also has a patio area, as well as the limited indoor dining. Restaurant owner John Fusco says he's happy that warmer temperatures will be returning this weekend, which means the tent will stay, although he does not have heaters in the tent.
“Yeah, the cold weather definitely gives us a couple of punches here and there,” says Fusco.
Project Brunch does not offer heaters in the tent. Instead, Fusco is happy to see the forecast call for a warm up this weekend, and he hopes to put the tents to use for as long as he can.
“I definitely don’t think it’s time to take the tent down,” says Fusco. “It’s been very receptive with customers in terms of them coming in to sit down in our tent area, as well as our front patio area.”
On Route 9 is Ruocco's Italian Restaurant, and owner Glenn Essner says they'll be keeping one of their outdoor tents and heaters running as long as they can through the winter.
“The heater definitely helps,” says Essner. “Again, as long as you can keep that safe distance from people. The ones that are all completely enclosed it’s almost like being back inside, so I’m not sure that were quite ready for that.”
Essner admits it's been really hard on business. The 25% inside seating just isn't enough for most to stay open during the winter months.