LOS ANGELES - Restaurants owners forced to reinvent their businesses outside are now trying to entice customers in the bitter cold temperatures and many are having a hard time finding outdoor heaters in stock.
The Great Greek restaurant manager Dobren Michaels went on a hunt for heaters all around town and finally found four of the last heat lamps at a Lowe’s in Long Beach.
He took two and told the restaurant manager next door on Ventura Boulevard to have the other two.
“The cold is really hurting the business because we are outside and temperatures at nighttime go very low so we had to buy extra heaters and install extra electric heaters on the top but it’s really hard, much harder than it used to be,” says Michaels. “Business is way down.”
One place that still has heaters is AAA Rents & Events in Van Nuys. They rent the heaters to restaurants and families having backyard BBQ’s with the people in their households for $105 a night. They’re having a hard time right now keeping the heaters in stock.
“As soon as they’re done we bring them back just because the demand is so high,” says AAA Rents & Events Manager Horacio Beltran.
“They get inspected and sent to a different site. Literally as soon as they come in, there are two to three clients ready to rent the heater.”
Many restaurant owners bought their heaters for a few hundred bucks if they could find them in stores but say re-filling the propane can also get costly.