Al Fresco Dining Simplified: What You Need to Know About StreetDeck Parklets

Posted By: Janice Dobson Restaurant Recovery , Restaurant Industry News , Restaurant Operations ,

Al Fresco Dining Simplified: What You Need to Know About StreetDeck Parklets

 

There’s no sugar coating it, the pandemic has been a train wreck for the restaurant industry. We’ve had to come together and adapt in ways that we could never foresee. Today we can look back and see that our resilience has led to some beautiful metamorphoses that have forever changed the way our customers experience our food – one such butterfly is al fresco dining on raised, self-contained platforms called parklets.

 

If you’ve driven through College Park in the past 8 months you probably have noticed the 86’ streatery occupying 7 parking spaces just outside of Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen, The Real Milk and Honey, and Johnny’s Chicken and Waffles. This is an example of a StreetDeck modular deck system designed by Archatrak Inc. and it may be the most expansive parklet in the country to date.

 

Because so many foodies living in or visiting Georgia are on the hunt for unique outdoor dining experiences, GRA invites Archatrak’s Business Development Director, Janice H. Dobson to break down the reasons she predicts parklets like StreetDeck will flourish in every corner of the Georgia restaurant scene.

 

Why Choose StreetDeck?

 

Compared with the cost of expanding interior restaurant dining areas, parklets are a much more affordable option. StreetDeck parklets are flexible in size and can be set up either on a temporary or permanent basis.

 

“Our two standard deck sizes, 12′ x 6′ and 32’ x 6’, were designed with either one or two parallel car parking spaces in mind,” says Janice. “But I see Georgia restaurant owners thinking bigger this year. When restaurants work together and use StreetDeck to create a continuous decking system along restaurant rows, each business benefits greatly. Their expansive outdoor presence enlivens city streets and draws in countless new diners passing through the area.”

 

Each standard StreetDeck parklet kit includes decking tiles, pedestal supports, planters, railings and other prefabricated components that can be assembled on site in less than a day with knowledgeable labor. They are available in a multitude of sizes to suit practically any site. Even so, configuring your StreetDeck parklet to meet specific site conditions and design requirements will require a detailed discussion with the Archatrak team.

 

Janice would be delighted to offer her services and help you get started with your StreetDeck project. She can be reached at 406.551.4098 or Janice@archatrak.com.

 

Customizing Your Parklet

 

Just like our famous southern food staples, Georgia is widely known for our charming downtowns and vibrant city life. To help add some spice to your outdoor deck and enhance the outdoor dining experience, a number of stylistic add-ons and components are available from Archatrak, including:

 

  • Whimsical café furniture in bold colors with a polka dot pattern
  • Umbrellas with solar-powered lighting for night-time dining that can also charge phones
  • Fence panels with laser cut designs or logos
  • Ipe wood tiles or porcelain pavers that mimic the look of stone, wood, terrazzo and much more

 

“In addition to these options, we’ve seen our customers get creative with signage, partitions, and other accessories. Some have even gone as far as to hire a local artist to paint the deck with elaborate illustrations,” explains Janice. “It’s wonderful to see parklets come together that really exemplify the restaurant’s brand and delight everyone who walks by.”

 

Before delving into any extensive parklet customization however, GRA recommends that you consult with your parklet supplier as well as your local municipality channels where necessary.

 

City Approvals

 

To comply with most modern guidelines, StreetDeck parklets are ADA accessible and provide a perimeter along three sides of the platform. Standard StreetDeck configurations allow for a maximum railing height of 36”, however railing heights up to 42” can be supplied on request.

 

The StreetDeck surface is levelled with adjustable height deck supports and aluminum ramps bridge the gap along the sidewalk edge. These deck supports ensure good under deck drainage and when access to the underside of the deck is needed, it’s as simple as lifting one or more of the pavers on top.

 

“Because city guidelines are continuously evolving when it comes to curbside dining, the flexibility StreetDeck offers is a huge advantage,” Janice explains, “If the street is due for maintenance, the deck can simply be disassembled, stored and reassembled as needed without a costly demolition.”

 

Although Archatrak is confident that their design meets most nationwide requirements, regulations vary from city to city. Some cities, like Savannah for instance, have parklet applications and guidelines available on the web for you to review before making a purchase.

 

Why Take on an Outdoor Expansion Now?

 

In the past two years, diners have grown accustomed to eating outside and often prefer it. According to Time Magazine, spending just 20 minutes outside per day can be significantly rewarding for an individual’s physical and mental health. Why not enjoy that time with a tasty meal?

 

“You can liven-up your outdoor dining area by using StreetDeck planters to grow some colorful flowers like geraniums, marigolds and petunias. You could even try growing your own basil or mint or other herbs,” Janice suggests. “Just think how inviting your restaurant would be with such an endearing outdoor space.”

 

Al fresco dining is not just beneficial for your visitors, it’s also good for your business. Restaurant Business describes how outdoor spaces like StreetDeck parklets can foster a social atmosphere that attracts diners passing by. As we all know, a smile from a satisfied customer and a sweet aroma in the air is a recipe for a thriving business.