Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Outdoor Patio Heaters: A Great Commercial Asset

British pubs and restaurants are about to be faced with a dilemma. In Scotland by 2006, and in England by 2008, smoking inside businesses that serve food will be outlawed. During the summer smokers can sit outside on patios, decks, or in gardens. But when the weather turns cold, many smokers will likely stay home rather than eat-out, seriously damaging the restaurant business.

In response to this problem, many in the British food industry are investing in outdoor patio heaters. A recent poll conducted by Calor shows why: 76 percent of customers are more likely to go to a pub that has patio heaters in the beer garden than one that does not. Thus, by using patio heaters, restaurants and pubs can provide for their smoking customers and prevent drops in their revenues during the colder seasons.

Local laws on smoking vary in the United States, but in many places, patio heaters could be used in a similar way. Aside from helping smokers, heaters can also keep outside tables useful during the holiday season rush. In fact, outdoor patio heaters can be a great asset to any restaurant or pub with outdoor rooms, for many different reasons.

Patio Heater Fuel Types

There are three fuel types used to power patio heaters: natural gas, propane, and electricity. For restaurants, natural gas could be the best choice because the heater hooks up to the gas lines and never needs refueling. Natural gas heaters cannot be moved, however. If you plan to move the heater, for catering or other purposes, propane heaters may be the best choice. They run on tanks and can be set up in about 10 minutes.

Patio Heater Safety Features

Of course, safety is always a major concern for businesses. Many patio heaters are built with this concern in mind, and so come with excellent safety features. One important feature is an automatic emergency shut off. If the heater is turned over, or even hit too hard, it automatically turns off. Another common feature is a piezo electric starter, which does not require a pilot light.

Choosing Between Various Patio Heater Options

When looking through the various commercial grade heaters, one of the most important considerations is the heater's power, which is rated in BTU's. The average heater rates at about 45,000 BTU's, enough to make a 20 foot heat circle. Another factor is style. The heater should fit comfortably with the decor of your establishment, whether traditional or modern. The Arctic Sun Original, for example, has a traditional elegance, reminiscent of a classic iron lamp post. The Dayva Premier, on the other hand, has a very modern, possibly even futuristic, look.

A Couple of Tips

If you plan on moving the heater, be sure to get a model with wheels. The wheels are often hidden, and so do not affect appearance.

Having too much wind where you put the heater can adversely affect its performance. This problem can be solved rather easily, though, by using screens, shades, or other wind breakers.

An Asset to Restaurants

Patio heaters have undoubtedly proved their usefulness to restaurants and pubs. Fortunately, as their popularity has increased in recent years they have become much more affordable. So it is now easier than ever to use patio heaters to help your business maintain old patrons and gain new ones.