The latest obstacle for restaurants: No available heat lamps

Shortage of portable heaters may be a problem for expanded outdoor dining

TRD New York /
Oct.October 02, 2020 02:52 PM
New York restaurateurs are having trouble finding heat lamps to make outdoor dining sustainable in colder months. (iStock)

New York restaurateurs are having trouble finding heat lamps to make outdoor dining sustainable in colder months. (iStock)

It’s been an especially challenging year for restaurateurs, and now, another obstacle is threatening their survival: heat lamps — or, more specifically, the lack of available heaters.

With outdoor dining becoming permanent and winter approaching, a rush of orders and shipping delays have driven up prices and created backlogs on heaters, according to Bloomberg.

“There’s no more left,” Jeff Katz, owner of Crown Shy in the Financial District, told Bloomberg. “Every other city has had weeks, if not months, to order heaters.”

Heat lamps are already expensive, but now restaurants report not finding them at all. If they do, owners are forced to contemplate dealing with high prices, increased shipping costs and prolonged wait times, at times spanning months. The alternative is potentially losing revenue.

“It’s extremely challenging to get a heat lamp,” Little Beet Table CEO Becky Mulligan told Bloomberg. “We don’t want to put all our eggs in the basket that we’ll have increased indoor dining.”

Restaurants have long said that in order to make up for missed rent, they need both increased indoor dining, along with outdoor dining. Indoor dining returned this week, but only at 25 percent capacity, which may not be enough to save many businesses. A report from New York state’s Comptroller found that half of the city’s bars and restaurants could close by the end of this year. [Bloomberg] — Sasha Jones


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