Case Study: Cantina Del Centro

Pop-up patios have quickly evolved from a novelty to a trend.

In 2015, Burlington, Ontario piloted a program that allowed local businesses to establish temporary seasonal patios utilizing on-street parking spaces. The following summer, neighbouring city Hamilton ran a similarly successful program. Fast forward to 2019, from Montreal to Vancouver and everywhere between, the term pop-up patio has become synonymous with ‘patio season’.

Cantina Del Centro

Nelson is a quaint city tucked in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. With an unusual abundance of big city cosmopolitan amenities, coupled with an authentic small-town charm, the vibrant community shows its zest as you walk down Baker Street.

Located in the heart of Baker Street is Cantina Del Centro, a Latin American restaurant known for its unique Mexican street food and wide selection of tequila and mezcal. Looking to distinguish themselves from the competition, Cantina introduced a pop-up patio during the summer of 2018. Offering an experience different from other restaurants in the area, the patio became an instant hit with locals and tourists alike.

Pop-up Patio

The initial concept of the patio was a handful of tables on a temporary deck opposite the sidewalk. Knowing the seats would be exposed to the elements, the need to add some sort of overhead coverage became apparent.

Working alongside ShadeFX, the Cantina team designed a hollow tube box frame that could be torn down in the fall and re-erected the following spring. As an added bonus, the design of the frame allowed for incorporation of overhead gas heaters.

Aside from the obvious benefits the shades and heat provide, the structure also created a focal point on Baker Street, allowing Cantina to lay claim as the “place to hang”.

Return on Investment

The combination of retractable shades and commercial heaters allow Cantina to offer a perfect al fresco dining experience, regardless of the season or fluctuation in weather. When the weather is cool and the sun is out, the shades can be retracted to fill the patio with warming rays. In the heat of the summer or during a period of light rain, the shades can be drawn shut to protect the patrons.

“We believe the retractable shades allow us to seat customers on our patio for an extra 30 days where extreme sun or light rain would otherwise prohibit.”

– Brad Filleul, Owner, Cantina Del Centro

Cantina invested $10,330 for their manual kissing canopies. With 38 seats on the patio and an estimated table turnover of 4 to 6 times per day, Cantina’s investment paid itself the first season they were installed.

Using our ROI calculator, it is estimated that the 30 additional days provide approximately $54,000 in annual profit that would otherwise be lost due to inclement weather. That results in a whopping 2500% return on investment over a 5-year period!

Inputs applied to calculator:

Investment                              $10,330

Patio Seats                              25 (65% patio capacity)

Revenue per Seat                   $30 (estimate by management)

Mark-Up                                  250% (conservative by industry standards)

Table Turnover Ratio              4 (4-6 estimate by management)

Extra Number of Days            30 (estimate by management)


Bringing the pop-up patio to fruition took the vision of an ambitious owner, the approval of an obliging council and assistance of supportive suppliers. What started out as a sketch-up on paper, quickly evolved into Nelson’s first and only pop-up patio.

With the tequila flowing and patio tables turning, Cantina is transcending the patio scene in Nelson, BC.

Have the perfect space for a pop-up patio? We can help.