Saturday, May 16, 2020

Roof-top restaurant space, the saga continues

The plot thickens.

My friend called me this morning.

The columns that would support the ends of the I-beam ran into some complications.

My friend offered a middle ground.

The restauranteur is loath to give up seating in the corner because the most aesthetically pleasing view is to the north...hence the clear guard rails.

My friend suggested NOT seating guests in the corner but instead, having the decking on the longer, less desirable leg at increasing heights as one moved south. That way, every deck would have the potential for an unobstructed least when the umbrellas were folded.

The corner could still be used for a fresh herb garden (on straw bales) or a shallow koi pond or some other interest feature.

Unlevel demand
One feature that makes the restaurant business tough is that the customer traffic is VERY uneven.

You might think that a restaurant that is packed every time you visit is making money hand-over-fist, but if you only go out to eat on Friday or Saturday night you might be very wrong.

The rush on Friday and Saturday night might account for 6-out-of-168 hours a week.

The manager must provide a certain, minimum amount of manning if it is open, even if there is not a customer in the joint.

Debt payments and taxes continue to bleed money regardless of the number of customers coming through the door.

It is a temptation to maximize peak capacity when ironically the survival of the business is more dependent on attracting customers in the off-peak hours.

Adding seating for an additional 200 customers at any cost is a recipe for disaster. Offering an attraction that fills three tables through the off-peak hours, if done economically, pays the bills.

Incidentally, the restaurant owner rejected the repurposing of the corner out-of-hand.


  1. Right. And with the solar minimum deepening the summer days will be cooler, cloudier and windyer reducing the time people will want to be out there. And I would suggest that he might want to take a lawn chair and a beer and go up there in the evening and sit for awhile and see how the bugs are. It might not be nice at all.---ken

  2. Sigh... Sounds like that restaurant WILL be out of business in a year or so.

    1. One of the enduring paradoxes is that as employees climb the corporate ladder they find their actions more and more constrained.

      If you own a small business, your actions are more constrained than even a high-level executive in a corporation. You don't have armies of lawyers buffering you from regulators. You don't have a human resources department or a revolving credit line with a big balance.

      You are walking a tight-rope.

      If you haven't given it any thought, you might think "I have plenty of money" and "People will stand in line to eat here because I am so cool".

  3. I think a partial solution is to have the glass side not meet the floor; that way draining will be assured.
    Despite what they want, glass railings with nothing else won't work for an area that large - there will have to be metal supports at some point, so those can be used to provide a toe gap to reduce the required load.
    Or, they could use tensioned cables instead since they are minimally in sight and don't provide the wind block that glass would.

    1. The client's wife wants a 1/4" gap. The builder wants a 1.5" gap (ie, set gap using 2-by-4 as a shim). Code has a maximum gap to prevent infants from getting their heads stuck beneath it...I believe that maximum gap is 4" but don't quote me.

      The edges of the glass must be cased in extruded, aluminum frame.

      I cannot speak to cables or "bicycle spokes".

  4. THe peak usage numbers is what constrains a lot of businesses.

    When I owned the motel, I heard the same thing..."you should add on, you are always full...."

    Yeah, on Friday and Saturday nights, when everyone else was there too. Not so much on MOnday evening.

    Gotta pay for, heat, and cool those rooms all those other days too. plus insurance, etc...


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