Outdoor Shelters: Protecting Your Business Entryway This Winter Season

Outdoor Shelters: Protecting Your Business Entryway This Winter Season

Winter months can be challenging for many businesses. As the temperature drops, seasonal changes and weather inclement can negatively affect your sales, increase your utility costs, and become a hassle when it comes to maintaining your establishment.

We usually think of installing commercial awnings when warm weather sets in, but what business owners oftentimes overlook is that outdoor shelters can also be a great option during the wintertime. From freezing rain to sleet and snow, they can be quite practical to get you through the toughest winters and protect your business - as well as your customers - from harsh weather inclement.

Among the two most popular options for winter protection are “tempo-style” shelters and 4-season awnings. While purchasing a temporary shelter may seem like an easy and more affordable option, they do have their limitations. Read on to find out which one of these two options may be best suited for your business this upcoming winter season.

Tempo shelters: Pros and cons

1- Removable structure

Adding an enclosure in your entryway is an easy way to prevent your customers from waiting outside in the cold, and protect the ones dining inside from cold drafts. Tempo shelters are a good option if you’re looking for a temporary and affordable solution to protect your entrance while keeping moisture, cold air and humidity at bay. The white protective tarp will protect and shield your entrance against UV rays, water or snow buildup. However, a tempo is not intended for year-long use; once winter is over, it can be dismantled and stored for the following year.

2- Installation and maneuver

Anchoring a tempo can be an arduous undertaking, especially if you’re installing it for the first time, or by yourself! While they help you from shoveling the snow off your entryway, they might not be the sturdiest option when it comes to resisting strong, heavy winds. The tempos’ metal frames need to be firmly secured to the ground with lots of anchors, additional metal bars and straps, as well as sand or water bags in complement to keep them sturdily anchored in place.

In addition to the metal structure, proper placement of the tarp is equally important: improper resistance can tear the tarp or cause it to droop and retain water or snow. The tarp’s tension needs to be checked and adjusted on a regular basis, and should be reinforced at points of contact with the shelter frame.

3- “One look fits all” look and design

Unlike aluminum awnings, most tempos come in a standard style and design that is not customizable in terms of fabrics, colors and shapes. The vast majority of tempos are equipped with the traditional white-colored cover and metal frame structures. This type of design may not be appealing to draw customers in, especially if you‘re looking to gain a competitive edge over other restaurant businesses.

The Benefits of 4-season awnings

1- Durable and long-lasting

If you’re looking for durability and year-round protection from outside elements, a 4-season retractable awning or stationary awning are both great options for your business. Geared towards harsh climates, the long-lasting and robust aluminum and stainless steel structures will shield your entrance or terrace from snow, sun, wind and rain. Premium quality awning fabrics made from waterproof vinyl will cover your entrance to account for rapid weather changes and will last for years with minimal maintenance. In addition, many awnings come equipped with a wind blocker and a gutter system to keep moisture out - and your entryway dry all year long. Moreover, their sturdy, slanted construction is ideal for preventing water or snow to accumulate over the rooftop.

2- Lower cooling and heating costs

According to Hydro-Quebec, entrance doorways can account to 25% of heat loss in homes and commercials properties. Whether in the summer or winter, retractable awnings can help lower your utility costs by preventing heat in the summer or cold weather in the winter from entering your facility.

3- Easy maintenance

We all know the challenges of keeping your commercial entrance inviting and secure for your guests during the wintertime. Luckily, you can easily limit cold drafts and prevent the snow from blowing into your store or restaurant thanks to a commercial awning. The slanted slope will easily allow for the snow to easily slide off. However, any snow that does build-up on the awning should be carefully removed from the outside, to ensure that your retractable awning will last for years to come. Another added benefit of 4-season awnings is that they do not require the need for seasonal storage. The retracted canvas can automatically store under a rigid aluminum cover hood.

4- Stylish and versatile

Thanks to outdoor awnings, you can embellish the look of your façade, even in winter! They can enhance the look of your business and brand image with modern, sleek and eye-catching designs. Awning fabrics come in a variety of fabrics and built-in options so you can match them with your interior decor. Lastly, having a 4-season awning can give you a competitive advantage over neighboring competitors by providing an additional dining area in fall or spring. With the use of proper outdoor heating, your guests will be able to enjoy dining in the terrace even during cooler temperatures.


Providing warmth and protection during winter is very much part of hospitality. Whether you’re looking to install it in the delivery area to receive merchandise, or at the front door to welcome your customers, you can rest assured that opting for an outdoor awning is a more viable long-term investment.

Although both options will keep weather inclement at bay, 4 season awnings will extend the lifespan of your terrace and attract more business all year long, as well as enhance the overall look of your terrace. In addition, they require limited maintenance and are more customizable than their tempo counterparts.

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