Unlike many other aspects of a restaurant’s design, doors and windows must be carefully selected with multiple mission-critical functions in mind. First, they have to look good and contribute to the restaurant’s brand messaging and ambience from both inside and out. After all, an entry door provides guests with their first up-close visual and tactile interaction with an operation. And windows don’t just provide views to the outside; they passively and powerfully help market the experience within to passersby while enhancing the ambience for guests.
But windows and doors play several other important roles, too. Here are three factors that should be top-of-mind during every purchasing and design decision.
Ease of entry: Guests transitioning from the street to the restaurant shouldn’t have to struggle with a heavy door or work to figure out which way it opens or fight against air-intake imbalance to get the door open. They just want to get inside. Don’t make it hard for them by failing to consider the finer points of entry door selection and installation.
Guest comfort: Sure, everyone loves transparency, open environments and bringing the outdoors in as much as possible. As trendy and popular as they are, though, more and bigger windows, glass garage doors and retractable glass roofs can have a significant impact on comfort with too much heat, sunlight, noise from rain or wind, and/or cold impacting interior environments. As such, temperature and light management, air flow and acoustics are important considerations.
Energy efficiency: Carefully select window and door materials that will help, not hurt, efforts to conserve energy. Windows, in particular, can impact energy consumption for heating and cooling. Consider both U-factor, the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat flow, and solar heat gain, as coefficient measures in determining which windows will perform most efficiently in your particular climate.
And keep an eye on new technologies that promise to help improve comfort and conserve energy. One big new product trend quickly gaining steam: smart glass, which is tinted or glazed to control glares, bright light and heat transfer to ensure a more comfortable environment. And here’s what’s really cool: Smart glass is also available in Wi-Fi-connected and electronically controlled options that use sensors to determine room occupancy, weather and sunlight to fine-tune its tint — operators simply click a button to control heat and light levels automatically.
Low-Profile Air Curtain
This line of architectural low-profile air curtains give restaurateurs a less invasive option for protecting the front of the house from cold air. Order it with built-in supplemental heat to take the chill off for those waiting or seated near the door. Other features include a wireless controller, which allows users to operate it with a smartphone. Custom colors are available.
A retractable roof enclosure can turn a fair-weather-only outdoor dining patio or rooftop into a year-round space. The structures feature independently retracting roof and wall systems available in two basic styles, Peaked or Single Sloped, featuring multi-stack and single-stack opening roof sections.
Decorative Door Laminates
Set traffic doors apart with custom graphics and laminates. Eliason offers laminates that can be applied to the surface of most doors. Laminates consist of various patterns and textures such as wood grain, marble, stone and metals and can also be matched to any custom color. Logos, messages or graphics can be applied to various Eliason doors and windows in any desired shape, size or style.
Telescopic Motorized Windows
PatioGlass’s large, vertical telescopic motorized windows move effortlessly out of the way with the touch of a remote control. Fully insulated, four-season models are available, enabling operators to offer indoor-outdoor dining experiences year-round. Non-insulated models are also available, adding protection from the weather when needed for outdoor patios and rooftops. A single window can be up to 14 feet tall and 14 feet wide.
Roll-A-Cover’s customizable, retractable enclosure designs give operators the ability to utilize outdoor spaces year-round. Open the extruded aluminum and glass system either manually or via a motorized feature.
Secure, Indoor-Outdoor Transition
The Spiral VP door from Rytec creates indoor-outdoor transition areas. Its sleek, high-tech styling and quiet operation accentuate the concept of a moving facade to provide 360-degree ambience and access to patios, private meeting areas or other interior/exterior spaces. Made of durable, powder-coated aluminum components, the door is available in sizes up to 14 feet wide by 14 feet high, with either direct-drive or balanced operation.
Southern Patio Enclosures provides adaptable patio enclosures that allow operators to utilize outdoor dining areas year-round. Systems are customized to each operation’s space and design needs and are available in motorized and manual styles with integrated framing — no additional beams or columns needed. The products are flame- and fire-retardant and can be paired with heaters during winter, rolled up during summer or paired with sun shade material to protect against the sun’s glare.
Southern Patio Enclosures
Durable, Wood-Look Entry Doors
The Special-Lite SL-19 Rustic Wood Grain FRP Flush Door features fiberglass face sheet material that offers the authenticity of a rustic wood door, right down to the realistic grain detail, without rusting or rotting. All entrance systems are made to order.