Vancouver Brewery Patios Boost Revenue and Sociability

From Happy City


Vancouver breweries turned parking spots into patios to save their businesses. A new study finds those patios also made customers friendlier.

Vancouver, BC – The City of Vancouver has permitted many businesses to transform parking spaces into temporary patios, to offset reduced indoor seating during the pandemic. Several breweries adopted the measure. However, the City implemented the patio program as a temporary policy, making its future uncertain.

Five local Vancouver breweries worked with Happy City to evaluate the benefits of this program. Our Happier Outside: Brewery Patio Wellbeing Study found that the patios not only helped the breweries protect their revenues, but also boosted happiness and friendliness among patrons.

The study sought to evaluate how patrons behaved and socialized in the patio spaces. A key observation was that patrons seated on the new patios demonstrated happier behaviour than those seated indoors. For instance, 48% of people on patios were observed laughing, compared with only 32% inside. A higher share of people were also seen speaking to each other outside than indoors (68% to 53%).

“We expected the patios to be popular with patrons, but were surprised at how important they were for supporting social connection,” Mitchell Reardon, Senior Planner at Happy City.

Brewery patios can help reduce social isolation

The pandemic has deepened social isolation. This study suggests that outdoor patios can reduce loneliness by providing space for social interactions. “At a time when loneliness and isolation are major public health issues, the study suggests that brewery patios not only support local business, but the wellbeing of patrons, too,” said Reardon.

Survey responses also suggest that the patios’ were popular spaces to socialize with others in a pandemic context. Nearly all patrons (99%) said that the patio was a place they’d like to meet friends. Remarkably, 82% of patrons said that they’d like to meet new people on the patio, compared to just 57% of those seated indoors, if COVID-19 wasn’t a concern.

“Our patios really kept us going during COVID, allowing us to serve enough customers to stay viable. But this study shows that patios also contribute to happier and healthier communities,” said Mauricio Lozano, co-owner of Faculty Brewing. “Wouldn’t it be great if the City allowed us to keep these patios open in the post-pandemic world?”

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