As outdoor dining continues to grow as an appealing option for customers, patio space is an asset like never before. Guests love indulging in your crisp salads and colorful entrees as they take in the fresh air and atmosphere of your outdoor space. Your patio needs to be comfortable and protected from weather and the elements, which is why patio umbrellas are an absolute must during the summer season. In order to make your patio space as profitable as possible, even in hot weather, use outdoor umbrellas to curate a cool, relaxing, and shady spot for your customers.
When you're in the market for an outdoor patio umbrella, it's important to identify the parts of the umbrella that distinguish it from a hand-held umbrella. The right patio umbrella will become your new favorite piece of outdoor furniture.
Heavy-duty fabric is the preferred material for the canopy of commercial patio umbrellas. Fabrics give slightly so as not to tear and break under the elements, come in a variety of colors and patterns, and serve as a protective barrier between the intense sun and your guests. Consider that thicker fabrics will offer more protection but will cause the ribs and stretchers to work harder to support the weight.
Some umbrellas are sold with their base already included as a kit, but many are not. The base is a vital part of the umbrella, as it stabilizes the pole and secures it in place under windy and inclement conditions. There are a variety of shapes and designs to choose from, but your biggest considerations should be the weight and material of your umbrella base.
The weight needed to secure your umbrella safely in place will depend upon the size of your umbrella canopy. You may choose a heavier base if you’re operating in a location known for high winds and violent weather.
The base of your umbrella is going to face quite a bit of wear and tear, from puddles, to UV rays, to everyday grime.
Umbrella pole material can be an overlooked facet of the umbrella. Still, the pole will take quite a beating after months and years of raising and lowering the umbrella canopy. It's important to find a pole that can handle the pressures of the elements and long-term use.
Can handle hazardous weather without buckling or breaking.
Increased flexibility and durability. Great for very windy environments.
A cost-effective option.
Great for upscale settings such as hotels or resorts.
Freestanding patio umbrellas are the perfect choice for restaurants and cafes that need versatility and mobility. They come in a variety of lift types to match your needs.
Ideal for large and heavy umbrellas, crank lift umbrellas open and close by rotating a crank handle.
Also requiring minimal physical effort, pulley lift umbrellas open easily using a rope and wheel system.
You need to consider how much shade you’d really like for your patio, and how the sun will change direction and intensity through the day.
Perhaps you want to have one umbrella for each table on your patio. You should be asking, "what size table can my umbrella accommodate? How much shade will my umbrella make? Will it cover this table and all of the chairs around it?" Use the comprehensive chart below to determine what size umbrella you need to cover the desired size of tables and chairs on your patio. Or, you can choose to shade a large area rather than separate tables. In that case, you should be asking "how many umbrellas do I need to shade my patio space?" With the information in the table and a little simple math, you can choose the correct number of umbrellas for your square footage.
Example Situation: "I want to buy 6 1/2 ft. umbrellas to shade as much of my 500 sq. ft. patio as possible. How many umbrellas should I buy?" 500 sq. ft / 40 sq. ft. = about 12 umbrellas for full shade
Table and Chairs Shaded
Approximate Area of Shade Produced
6 ft. - 6 1/2 ft.
30" table or smaller
2 - 4 chairs
Up to 40 sq. ft.
7 1/2 ft. - 8 ft.
36" - 40" table
4 - 6 chairs
Up to 50 sq. ft.
9 ft. - 10 ft.
40" - 48" table
6 - 8 chairs
Up to 75 sq. ft.
48" table and larger
10 - 12 chairs
Up to 95 sq. ft.
Patio umbrellas serve both as a functional shade producer and a decorative accent! Given the variety of commercial umbrellas on the market, there's no need to choose an umbrella that doesn't contribute to the personality of your space.
The colors, shapes, and styles of your patio umbrellas will contribute to the look of your outdoor space.
Consistent Styles and Colors
Curate a "Vibe"
Pair your umbrellas with a few additional cool tools in your outdoor space to keep the heat at bay!
Fans and Misters
Tall Shade Plants
Treat your umbrella as a decorative furniture piece that can be spiced up to match your own unique ambiance. For your consideration:
Keeping your umbrella clean and cared for is the most important step to ensuring longevity. Follow these comprehensive steps at least once a week, if possible, to protect your investment.
Winter Outdoor Dining Ideas for Restaurants
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Different Types of Patio Heaters
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