Ideas for Extending Outdoor Seating and Branding: Getting Creative with Custom Marquees

 In News

Restaurants across Australia are embracing the ‘new normal’ with outdoor seating. To encourage social distancing, restaurateurs are getting creative with custom marquees to extend seating outdoors.

Yurts, ice huts, and pop-up gazebos have already grown in popularity over the last decade as restaurants and cafés searched for innovative ways to extend their seating spaces. This year, the popularity of these structures has sky-rocketed as has the out-of-box thinking of restaurant owners, no thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Armstrong Street restaurants Pancho and Meigas are not just setting their chairs and tables outdoors, but are transforming their entire restaurant experience to outdoor dining. Jose Fernandez and Simone Baur-Schmid, restaurants’ owners feel that more people, activity, and movement in Ballarat’s streets will shift the focus of people from pandemic restrictions to an engaged outdoor dining experience.

Pancho owners Jose Fernandez and Simone Baur-Schmid, Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton and state MPs Michaela Settle and Juliana Addison.

Picture: Lachlan Bence

In fact, a lot of restaurateurs who cannot afford new furniture, are coming up with ingenious ideas to make customers feel safe on their premises.

Like ‘bumper tables’ at the Fish Tales Bar & Grill in Maryland.

bumper tables


Or the Café Rothe in Germany that celebrated its grand opening by ensuring social distancing through pool noodles.

pool noodles


The Pandemic Era – What Is The New Normal?

As the world slowly stumbles out of lockdown, governments across the globe are providing directives for those venturing outdoors. This is in a bid to slow down the spread of COVID-19. While there’s still a lot that we don’t know about the infection, one thing is for sure. Tt rapidly spreads from person to person – an obvious threat to how restaurants operate.

Going forward, therefore, the new normal would be contactless menus, tables set six feet apart, barriers, masked waiters, and even stuffed animals occupying seats to ensure social distancing.

stuffed animals occupying seats

Courtesy: twitter

But Why Are People Heading Over To Their Favourite Diners And Eateries Again?

In case the answer is not apparent – to feel human again.

After spending nearly half the year cooped up inside their houses, everybody everywhere is anxious to reconnect with others. Laugh, talk, share isolation stories with each other, and grab a bite to eat. Matter of fact,

…going out is not as risky as you think.

Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine & Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University says, “Eating outside is less risky than eating inside, if everybody is six feet apart and the wait staff are all wearing masks. That keeps the risk as low as it can be.” 

Most doctors and epidemiologists agree that outdoor seating created under custom marquees is better than enclosed spaces. Dr. Joe Gastaldo, an infectious disease specialist at OhioHealth, remarks, “Big, wide open spaces are better than anything that’s enclosed.”

Linsey Marr, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech agrees, “Studies have shown that when you’re just talking, the larger [respiratory] droplets don’t really travel farther than three to six feet.”

Outdoor seating was first allowed in a few countries in June. It was then that many eateries, cafés, and restaurants turned to custom marquees, dome gazebo tents, and inflatable tents.

The Vespa Italian Chop House on Fort Salonga Road in Northport is operating out of large printed gazebo tents erected to seat about 110 patrons in its expansive parking lot. The restaurant has an indoor capacity of 200 but since it can only use half of them – the outdoor arrangement is a godsent during these tough times.

pinnacle tents

Courtesy: Facebook handle of Vespa Italian Chop House

So, how can businesses make use of these opportunities to ensure safe outdoor dining experiences for patrons while complying with social distancing guidelines?

For Starters, Outdoor Seating Can Be Expanded With Custom Marquees

In Victoria, Daniel Andrews has already announced $190mn to transform the city and suburban streets with pop-up cafes and restaurants. The assistance aims to bring the hospitality industry back on its feet – the changes allowing venues to seat more patrons while adhering to COVID-safe restrictions.

The premier said that Melbourne’s car parks, footpaths, and public parks will be given over for creating outdoor seating provisions as part of $100mn investment in the CBD. Out of this, $30mn will be allocated for small and medium businesses to buy outdoor dining equipment – with a maximum of $5,000 per business.

Other local government areas are also being encouraged to do the same – allowing alfresco seating on suburban shopping strips. Businesses outside the CBD will receive $87.5mn outdoor dining support package, out of which $58mn will be allocated for purchasing outdoor dining equipment.

An outdoor dining tent is the most cost-effective solution. It can create additional space while offering a pleasant dining experience. Extreme Marquees’ outdoor printed gazebo range will not just increase the seating capacity of your diner or eatery but will also ensure that your guests and employees have a safe environment to dine and work in.

For uneven areas, floors can be created. Sidewalls can protect guests from heat and elements, and appropriate heating options can keep the marquees warm and toasty.

Dining Pods Are Also Unique Idea For A Safe Outdoor Eating Expierence

Custom dining pods can also be used to create safe, cosy nooks for guests to have an enjoyable dining experience. Pubbelly Sushi recently installed such pods in their Miami restaurant. These pods are made of dense polyethylene sheets with wooden borders. The pods cover booths and create isolated spaces at every table.

pod cover


Restaurants in Amsterdam and Germany are also experimenting with glass greenhouses to create separate dining spaces.

mini greenhouse tents for safety of diners

Courtesy: Mediamatic Amsterdam installed a series of mini greenhouses for safety of diners Photo: Willem Velthoven for Mediamatic Amsterdam

Plexiglassbarriers facilitate separation of interaction points.

Plexiglass or clear plastic barriers are more affordable and least labour-intensive option that restaurateurs are exploring. The Winery, in California, has positioned such dividers in between tables outdoors to minimise exposure between customers and to create as little interaction points as possible.

clear plastic barriers


Rooftop al fresco dining is a great idea for restaurants short of open, expansive grounds.

In Rome, the iconic Hassler Hotel’s Imago restaurant has relocated its indoor restaurant to the terrace of its seventh-floor suite.

Hassler’s owner and MD Roberto Wirth, feels it is the right decision, “I made this decision to guarantee more security for our guests and our staff. It’s really a great gift to my guests: a Michelin-starred dinner under the stars, with the beauty of the great Rome under your feet.”

roof top restaurant

                                                                                Courtesy: Imàgo restaurant, Laura Itzkowitz

Why Custom Marquees Are The Safest Bet Right Now?

Inflatable tents and printed marquees create individual space wherever they are set up. Extreme Marquees has designed reliable and COVID-safe all-purpose outdoor dining marquees – whether you want to create additional al fresco seating at your restaurant or want to set up a disinfecting station for sanitising incoming goods.

With An Outdoor Printed Gazebo:

  • You can ensure that all customers and wait staff are sticking to required hygiene levels.
  • Steer employee and visitor streams in the right direction, with little or no contact as possible.
  •  Safeguard your premise against potential outbreaks. Had the seating arrangement been indoors like the pre-corona times, you’d end up sanitising the entire area. This means half a day’s closure and loss of business. With custom marquees, you just need to sanitise the area inside the tent while other tables can continue business as usual.

Some Of Our Bestselling Outdoor Dining Marquees

Covered outdoor seating where you can increase your seating capacity without compromising social distancing guidelines. Set them up in the parking lot or patio area.

roadside pickup

Roadside pick-up range to provide a safe, sanitised, and infection-free zone for your customers to pick up their orders, provide shade to the staff, and keep your branding game high.


strret food shelter

Street food shelters to prevent customers and patrons from huddling together and offer them shade with our lightweight custom marquees.

food van

An outdoor dining marquee is essential to your COVID-safe plan. Extreme Marquees has been assisting businesses all over Australia with our reliable custom marquees, pop-up gazebos, and inflatable tents to stay afloat. Feel free to get in touch with our support team at 1300 850 832 to know more!

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