A Guide to Smoking Regulations for Restaurant Owners

3 Mins read


There are few businesses that are more difficult and stressful than the restaurant industry. Owning a restaurant often involves managing expensive equipment, working with a large staff, and catering to your customers’ needs all at the same time. It can be overwhelming for even experienced restauranteurs. Smoking is one issue that every restaurant needs to think about, specifically in the context of whether to permit it in any way and where to do so. This can be complicated by the fact that many areas have stringent rules about the presence of smoking in dining establishments. Read on for a basic guide to smoking regulations for restaurant owners.

What smoking regulations should restaurant owners be aware of?

Given that smoking is a favorite pastime for millions of people all over the world, it’s smart to think about ways you can accommodate smokers. You’re likely to increase your audience of potential customers if you offer smokers the ability to pull out some Good Stuff Tobacco and enjoy a smoke after a quality meal or some cocktails. Many tobacco enthusiasts also love to pair their favorite blend with certain foods. Though smoking used to be commonplace in restaurants, the food-service industry has moved away from this in recent years due to increased regulation.

You can also benefit from providing these designated areas for smoking since it will protect the rest of your restaurant. Having an area where employees and customers can smoke will prevent the temptation of doing so in unapproved parts of the establishment. Given that some types of restaurant equipment can be sensitive to the presence of smoke, this should be a major concern, especially for restaurants that rent equipment. Suppliers like The Restaurant Warehouse can provide new equipment for restaurants on a tight budget. You can finance everything necessary for a commercial kitchen, but it’s your responsibility to maintain it well.

If you are considering a smoking section, it’s important to do so in accordance with local laws. In many places, restaurants are unable to offer customers the ability to smoke on the premises, even outdoors. However, some states are revisiting those restrictions. In Michigan, smoking will be permitted in some outdoor areas as long as servers aren’t required to wait on people in the smoking area. These self-service smoking sections are already popular with customers. Look into the regulations in your city and see what options are available to you.

What are the other benefits of having outdoor space?

The most obvious benefit of adding outdoor seating is that it provides additional space. The more customers you’re able to serve, the more money you’ll make. It’s a good idea to consider an awning as well, which can provide protection from weather and sunlight. Outdoor seating can also appeal to people who enjoy taking their pets out to eat. Allowing pet owners to bring their furry friends will give you a whole new demographic of clientele.

You’ll also improve your restaurant’s curb appeal. A restaurant with an attractive patio full of people having a great time creates a welcoming environment and serves as an advertisement for the business. There are a variety of ways you can incorporate your logo and the colors associated with your brand into the accessories you use to decorate your outdoor seating area to help increase your visibility and catch the attention of passersby.

Restaurant owners may have their hands tied when it comes to accommodating smokers in some areas of the country due to the strict bans that remain in effect. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some places where you can get creative and design a smoking section for your restaurant. If your business is located somewhere that permits self-service smoking sections, it’s smart to consider adding one to your outdoor space. Considering how many smokers there are in the United States, you may be surprised by how much business it can generate. Just take care to protect your building and equipment if you plan to allow smoking at your restaurant.