Tented Dining Additions

"Social Distancing" became popular under Covid. What better way to accommodate the need for extra seats with airflow than with a tented addition.

The Challenge

When state health authorities mandated restaurants cut service to a fraction of their built capacity, some closed their doors. Some tried to outlast the shut down, running at a loss hoping Covid restrictions would lift before cash ran out. Others took a gamble on extending capacity with a tented space so as to keep their heads above water.

We’re pretty bullish on tents. Where possible, we partnered with those who also saw tented expansions as an assist to pandemic restrictions. Many communities eased their building restrictions to help small businesses, so tents could be pitched adjacent to structures without violating building codes. Many of those allowances remained in place after pandemic restrictions eased.

A stretch tent pitched with sidewalls stays surprisingly warm, even during winter months. Blow in a little heat, add a few parties, and the temperature is quite comfortable.

Depending on local building codes and owner restrictions, Tentrix may be able to mount semi-permanent stretch canopies directly to structures with aluminum keder channels for a water tight seal. Windowed sidewalls can be dropped when it’s cold, rolled up for air circulation as it warms.

We find a pony wall or half wall with a drop down window to be a good way of sealing off an outside seating area. This pony wall can double as a seating/bar area (not pictured).

Each tented addition is custom fabricated, and we’re usually able to engineer, fabricate and install within our standard 4-6 week lead time.

This image shows that aluminum keder channel into which we slide the edge of the stretch canopy with integrated keder cord. This is one of many attachment options, but certainly one of the cleanest.

Covid taught restaurants that to stay alive, you might need additional capacity to comfortably space customers. Covid or no, boosting capacity with a flexible outdoor space might continue to boost profitability.

By adopting temporary canopy solutions, restaurants and bars may be able to extend enclosed seating without running afoul of the local building department.

We’ll work with you to create an environment that adds value to your establishment, even as a seasonal addition. Some photos of our bar & restaurant projects are appended here, but ask for a site visit to review options.

Some options to consider, many pictured:
Clear retractable walls
Solid doors
Pony wall with bartop on outside walls
Clear-span structure
Integrated with existing structure.

We work around existing obstacles for added character. In the cafe to the left, we added clearance for a tree, but that same hole can be sealed off during the winter months. The fabric pictured is our flex coated which is a polyester knit with PVC coating for added UV tolerance.

We also offer clear span solutions if needed, often with box trusses and flying masts. All build-outs are custom so ask for a site visit to review options.

As seen in the slides below, we can integrate rigid doors as well for a more permanent installation.