Perfecting the Pop-Up Patio

In the never-ending race to outdo the competition, restaurants are constantly reinventing themselves to remain relevant and distinguishable from their neighbors.

Take a walk through any restaurant district and count the number of steak houses, Italian eateries, seafood shacks and cafés. Chances are multiple options exist for each.

Build Your Brand

It starts with the brand. Building a restaurant brand isn’t as simple or straightforward as one might think; it goes well beyond a catchy name and fancy sign to stand out amongst the crowd.

Creating an environment and experience that resonates with patrons requires a lot of hard work and attention to detail, but the reward is sustainability with a loyal audience.

Know Your Customer

By the time spring rolls around, everyone is yearning to spend time outdoors. This is even truer when looking at those who reside in temperate climates. After a long winter, the thought of fresh air and sunshine vitamins stimulate the senses.

Whether it be a walk through the park, a bike ride around the city or a quick latte on a sidewalk cafe, it’s all with the intent to spend time outside. In fact, research has shown that consumers are likely to spend more time on a patio after finishing their meal, often ordering additional alcoholic beverages, desserts and coffees – music to any restaurateur’s ears.

Be Distinct

How are you different? Exceptional service and enticing menu options are the expectation. It is true, flavors combined with the right fluids set the table, but it’s the ambiance and comfort that make it tough to leave.

There’s no denying the allure of al fresco dining, through the warmer months it is not uncommon to see the patio fill up before the dining room. There’s a sense of freedom that even the most spacious dining rooms can’t achieve.

If you’ve read this far and have a patio, you’ve likely been nodding your head along the way. If you don’t have a patio and there’s no room to expand, don’t panic, there may be a solution.

Pop-Up Patios

Pop-up patios have taken over metropolitans in recent years. Looking to stimulate local economies, city officials have exchanged dedicated street parking for temporary patio space.

Dependent on city regulations and location within the city, the temporary patio can either occupy the sidewalk with foot traffic redirected to the parking spaces, or the patio footprint can simply be placed in the closed-off parking spaces.

Redirected Foot Traffic

The Crooked Cue installed two retractable roofs on a ShadeFX custom aluminum structure. Covering a space of over 500 square feet, the patio comfortably sits 40 customers. The system is designed and manufactured to be easily disassembled each fall and re-erected the following spring.

Additional decking was built along the outside edge of the structure to redirect pedestrian traffic.

“I have been told that The Crooked Cue had become the talk of the town since our new canopy system was installed…and we have seen a nice increase in business too!”

– John Pappas, Owner, The Crooked Cue

Note the additional decking along the outside edge of the structure. The Crooked Cue is redirecting pedestrian traffic using the closed-off parking spaces.

Parking Space Footprint

Cantina Del Centro installed two retractable canopies on a hollow tube box frame. The incorporation of overhead gas heaters supplies warmth during cool spring and fall evenings. Covering roughly 450 square feet, the patio can accommodate 38 patrons.

The temporary structure built over the closed-off parking spaces.

“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

With the temporary structure built over the closed-off parking spaces, foot traffic passes directly between the dining room and patio.


Although both The Crooked Cue and Cantina Del Centro rolled out pop-up patios, the path they took and the combination of products they applied were vastly different.

Whether it’s a complete turnkey solution or simply the addition of retractable shade, ShadeFX offers the product and expertise to properly guide you to success.

Start your pop-up plan today. Contact Us.

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