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Vancouver restaurant patios reduce loneliness, increase happiness for patrons: study

The study also found that patios helped breweries protect their revenues
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A study conducted by Happy City, an urban planning consultancy in Vancouver, found that brewery patrons were more likely to demonstrate happy behaviour when seated on a patio. Photo: Getty Images

A recent study looking into the effects of the City of Vancouver’s temporary patio program has found the outdoor dining experience benefits both the business and restaurant-goers.

Created by Happy City, an urban planning and design consultancy based in Vancouver, the study worked with five local breweries to evaluate the benefits of the program. The study found that the patios not only helped the breweries protect their revenues but also boosted happiness and friendliness among patrons.

A key observation was that patrons seated on the new patios demonstrated happier behaviour than those seated indoors. For instance, 48 per cent of people on patios were observed laughing, compared with only 32 per cent inside. A higher share of people was also seen speaking to each other outside than indoors.

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

Reducing social isolation

In light of the loneliness that has been brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the study suggests that outdoor patios can reduce bring people closer together by providing space for social interactions.

Nearly all patrons, 99 per cent of them, said the patio was a place they’d like to meet friends. Another 82 per cent said they’d like to meet new people on the patio, compared to just 57 per cent of those seated indoors, if COVID-19 wasn’t a concern.

Mauricio Lozano, co-owner of Faculty Brewing hopes that in light of the survey’s findings the City of Vancouver will keep the patio program going in a post-pandemic world.

“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,” Lozano said.