What’s the appeal of dining outdoors?

A favourite, recently completed project of ours here at OpenAire has been Gusto 101 in Toronto. Gusto 101’s rooftop patio never seems to lack an empty seat, rain or shine. What gives? What’s the draw towards the rooftop patio? What’s the appeal of dining outdoors?

For diners, the answer is to be found in seeing that “the outdoors” refers to nothing concrete. The outdoors, rather, are a mood—a sense of open possibility; of a leisurely drifting cloudscape; of a calming natural breeze and the sense of warmth that comes with access to unfiltered sunlight. A retractable roof brings diners closer to that mood.

For owners and restaurateurs, outdoor dining tends to be on their list of “must-have” features when opening a new establishment. They know what their customers want. But with the current price of real estate, especially in urban areas, the idea of an outdoor space that doesn’t generate revenue for eight months out of the year presents a risky, potentially money-losing investment.

By enclosing its patio with a retractable roof, Gusto 101 avoided the risk of an under-performing, completely uncovered dining area. Instead, their rooftop patio’s retractable roof became a revenue driver, becoming an attraction in its own right for local diners.It’s a place to see and be seen, where the mood of the outdoors allows the people and food to shine.