“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.

For chefs, waiters, waitresses and cooks working in restaurant kitchens throughout the summer months, truer words have never been spoken. But what about customers sitting on the other side of the double doors?

From June to August, as temperatures soar upwards of 30 degrees Celsius, things can get pretty hot, especially in restaurants, where rising temperatures outside combine with heat given off by appliances inside, to turn even the coolest of venues into one big uncomfortable oven. As a restaurant owner, it’s up to you to help your customers finds creative ways to beat the heat. While your first instinct may be to crank up the AC, the long-term costs of relying on air conditioning should have you exploring energy efficient ways to keep your customers cool.

Here are some great ways to keep your restaurant cool this summer without setting your air-con to on:

Serve both hot and cold

If you want to give your customers a jolt of cold to lower their internal thermostat, there are a few  delicious ways to go about it.

Try introducing a sweet or savoury popsicle into your summer menu; serving up something cold is a great way to help your customers beat the heat! Offering customers treats like this avocado popsicle as an appetizer, or these carrot cake and almond butter popsicles as a tantalizing end to the meal, will help satisfy their internal thermostat and their taste buds, all at once. Also, when planning your menu for the week, keep in mind that foods with a higher water content like cucumbers or watermelon will help diners feel cooler, faster. Think Gazpacho, tzatziki, or anything with mint; introducing recipes into your menu that contain these foods is a great way to keep things cool.

On the other hand, if you don’t think that water-filled or frozen goods are the way to go, try serving up something hot. Restaurants in warmer climates like Morocco, Indonesia and India rely on serving hot beverages to customers in order to cool down the body. Serve your guests a hot cup of fragrant tea as you welcome them to their table and start their dining experience off on the right foot.

Create your own artistic blinds

While you may want to leave some windows open for a bit of air flow, chances are good you’ll want to block out the sun in an effort to cool things down. Forget investing in traditional blinds! Why not come up with a creative and novel way to welcome the shade? Find local artists, or companies Vertibelle Creations Inc who design blind covers that complement the theme of your restaurant. Create a gallery that not only shows off elements of your menu but adds to the atmosphere and supports local business.

Plant trees and grow vines

Trees planted around your restaurant in an effort to create more shade can definitely help keep temperatures low. Not only do they provide sought after relief during the summer, but they transform into great insulators come the winter months, making them more than worth the investment.

Growing your way to cooler climates doesn’t stop at trees; vines, or crawlers, the most common of which are Ivy, Russian vine or Virginia-Creeper, can reduce temperature fluctuation by as much as 50% by shading walls from the sun. Find out how to  make the most of your trees and use smart landscaping to create a cooler atmosphere for customers.

Invest in a high-tech fan

Airflow is key to keeping things cool and if your restaurant doesn’t have a patio or windows to provide some much needed relief, buying a few fans to keep the air circulating is a guaranteed way to keep things liveable. While purchasing a fan may seem like an old idea, these fans know what it means to be cool. Aesthetically pleasing fans like this blade-less fan produced by Dyson is a great way to combine proven technology with stunning, and modern, decor. For an even more energy efficient option, why not revert to a new model of an old favourite? This classic ceiling fan will blend into any design and is guaranteed to consume less energy while providing superior performance and longevity.

Invest in a Nest

If your establishment simply can’t survive without air conditioning, you may want to think about investing in a thermostat that works with you to build the most energy efficient climate possible. The Nest, a sleek looking thermostat designed for use in the home can also be used by restaurants looking to save money and control energy use. With applications like auto-schedule, auto-away, and energy history (among others), the Nest is a great way to save big bucks and a whole lot of energy while cooling the home, or your restaurant.

Read more about how to run your commercial air conditioner efficiently and explore rebates available for energy efficient ventilation equipment.

Do you work at a restaurant that doesn’t use air conditioning? What do you do to keep cool? Leave your comments below!

image credit: expect_delays