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Winter has traditionally been a slow season for those in the restaurant business. Many establishments keep their doors open through winter just to keep the lights on. But with the global pandemic impacting the hospitality sector across the globe, restaurateurs have been forced to re-think the winter dining experience.

From transparent bubble tents to private glass chalets complete with personal heater and sheepskin rugs. Restaurants have been using creative ideas to encourage punters to brave winter weather and enjoy a safe, outdoor dining experience.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the global hospitality sector”, says Clive Menkin, director of NZ outdoor heater manufacturer Kelray Heating.

Menkin praises the resilience of hospitality business owners and believes that their efforts weathering the storm will pay off in future winters.

“Bars and restaurants the world over have worked hard to transform their outdoor spaces in creative ways which not only attract customers but keep them safe”.

Menkin believes that the embracing of winter dining experiences could change how both punters and publicans view the winter season.

“The perception of winter dining is changing. Before the pandemic, many establishments were not particularly well equipped for outdoor dining. But now, bars and restaurants are creating novel, comfortable winter dining experiences and getting their venues known for these”.

Menkin projects that these businesses who have invested in their outdoor spaces and winter dining experiences will thrive in the post-pandemic world.

“The hospitality sector may not be as seasonal as once thought!”

Kelray Heating have been busy keeping up with the local and global demand for their outdoor heaters. As New Zealand’s sole infrared outdoor heater manufacturer, Kelray Heaters are a common fixture of bars and restaurants up and down the country. Known for their 100% marine grade 316 stainless steel construction, Kelray’s heaters are recognised for their longevity and durability, particularly in coastal environments.

“While it could have been under more pleasant circumstances, we are happy to be introducing our product to the global market”, says Menkin. “We get a lot of great feedback from local businesses and we are confident our products will be equally regarded overseas”.