In rd+d’s December survey, readers revealed that outdoor dining dominated operator investments in 2020. In rd+d’s February survey, we followed up on that idea, asking what specifically the popularity of outdoor dining will mean for projects going forward.

For 24.47% of respondents, the popularity of outdoor dining means investing in upgrading outdoor fixtures and furnishings. For 19.15% of respondents, it impacts site selection as they look for opportunities to offer larger/better outdoor dining areas. For 16.49% of respondents, it means investments in structures that let diners enjoy outdoor dining in inclement weather. 34.57% noted it meant all of the above.

Survey respondents could pick multiple answers and also offer commentary. Some bucked convention and said they don’t believe outdoor dining is here to stay because “climate is too powerful” and “successful all-year dining depends on location.”

rd+d launched a yearlong research project in December 2020 that will periodically survey qualified subscribers on the state of restaurant development and design. Each issue in 2021 will feature new data collected from very recent reader surveys.