Entertain and create space with a rooftop patio
Summer is near, and you’re probably already thinking about the increase in business. Remember last summer, there were guests asking if there was an outdoor deck or patio? A place where they could enjoy a drink while waiting on their table and enjoy the summer view. It’s not too late to get some bids and ideas for a rooftop patio or deck.
Choose several contractors that specialize in how to build rooftop deck and ask for some written bids. Rooftop deck and restaurant designs are popular in big cities where there is nowhere to expand except upward. A rooftop patio can be what makes your restaurant stand out from the others in the neighborhood, so why not beat them to the punch?
You probably have a lot of questions about this venture though, which is understandable. In this piece, we will answer some common questions and provide you enough information to get your interest fired up and ready to expand your restaurant business. Onward and upward!
Can I put a deck on my flat roof?
We’d like to say, sure, no problem! However, that may not be the case for the structure your restaurant is located in or it could be in violation of city codes. Sometimes those codes can be voided by taking proper steps to have the zoning changed, but that may not happen in time for you to open that rooftop patio this summer.
So, nothing ventured, nothing gained, get busy and head to City Hall and find out what the zoning laws are and what it would take to have it changed that would allow you to have a rooftop patio and deck installed. Chances are, you’ll have submitted your plans with all the rooftop deck construction details. This will go before the City Council who will do their due diligence and then vote and give you their decision.
With a flat rooftop patio and deck, there are important factors that you need to take into consideration as you present your plans and submit a request to the City Council and your budget.
- The rooftop patio and deck need to be attractive and inviting for your customers.
- You want to rooftop patio and deck that is low maintenance and weather resistant.
- The rooftop patio and deck must be waterproof so you don’t have costly repairs to the building below from rooftop deck leaking.
Can my roof support a deck?
This is definitely the first question to ask and to get a clear answer because you don’t want to go to the expense and time of having a rooftop patio and deck built, only to have it “break” the building and cause thousands of dollars damage.
The contractor you hire to do the job should take your plans that the City Council approved and have an engineer look them over. This will include an engineering inspection where the estimated weight of the plans will be compared to the age and stability of the structure as it is now.
Sometimes, the answer is no, you cannot safely install a rooftop patio on this structure, so be prepared for that, and ask for an explanation. Then sometimes the engineer will come back with a “yes, but…. “, and that but is that there are some steps to be taken to secure the building for holding that extra weight.
For a rooftop patio to be installed safely, the average roof can support up to fifty-five pounds per square foot. This calculation may vary based on what your plans are for this rooftop patio. For example, will you have a baby grand piano out here or a band? Will there be dancing? The fire department will issue an occupancy limit, and you must adhere to this at all times or risk getting fined, even shut down.
What size deck can I build without a permit?
You can, but the risks you’ll take with fines and penalties may not be worthwhile to build that rooftop patio or deck without a permit. You may be required to remove it too – all that expense, planning, and trouble will be gone.
The best business move you can make is to contact the city planning and zoning and inquire about your desire and ideas for rooftop patio. Once they give you the nod to present your plans and designs to the City Council, follow the process all the way through.
What if the P&Z doesn’t give you the nod? Most cities have an appeal process where you or your attorney can go before the City Council and present your side with more details. This doesn’t always guarantee you’ll be approved, but there is a protocol, no matter the size of the city.
Up on The Rooftop Deck
With spring and summer around the corner, rooftop patio and deck season will be here in full bloom for city restaurants. If you’re considering adding one to your restaurant, we present the following rooftop deck pros and cons to consider.
The Pros of a Rooftop Patio
- Trendy: This is what the Italians call Al Fresco, and while it isn’t anything special in Italy, it is in America and diners love this experience.
- Increased Revenue: A rooftop patio will attract more diners, which will increase your business and bottom dollar.
- Extra Seating: A rooftop patio and deck will add seating to your restaurant for those additional diners.
- Atmosphere: Let Mother Nature provide the views and create the ambiance.
The Cons of a Rooftop Patio
- Weather: Again, Mother Nature will create the views and she’ll also create the weather that could drive your patrons back inside. This could get your waiting list for tables back up, anger some customers, and lose some business.
- Restrooms: If possible, have restrooms added to the rooftop patio, or expand the ones inside. Your patrons do not want to stand in line like they would at a concert.
- Staff Needs: Staffing for the rooftop patio business can be tricky, but it is tricky staffing your restaurant anyway. The weather will determine how busy the patio will be, but if there are other activities going on in the neighborhood, your normal patrons may be elsewhere, thus less help is needed.
What are your ideas for seating and tables – going bistro style with high stools or chairs? What are your rooftop deck flooring ideas? Consider these:
- Sand Terrace: Indoor and outdoor dining and entertaining atmosphere with sand for flooring.
- Private Escape: Create a place for your patrons to get away and relax with faux wood floors and matching walls.
- Maximum Coverage: A contemporary tuck away with maximum views with light-colored wood decking.
- Enhanced View: A spectacular view of the city below and Mother Nature around with sustainable wood decking to blend in naturally.
Looking for help in getting a rooftop patio in St Paul, MN? Reach out to Quality Exteriors, Inc. at (651) 796-2341 today!