Launched in December, the initiative offers a free, fast-tracked application process for outdoor dining, with 204 City of Sydney Al Fresco Dining permits already granted across inner-Sydney.
Since getting on board in April, Sina says the seating capacity of the small Surry Hills store has doubled, along with the additional tables and parking.
“It’s been so well received, especially with the nice weather,” Sina said.
“We’ve got it full all day, we’re getting some heaters now, and people are loving it. We’ve doubled our seating—for free!”
As well as the benefits for the business, Sina has been blown away by how helpful the City of Sydney has been throughout the process.
“Council has been so amazing to work with,” she said.
“They’ve got an extra taskforce for this, and they check in with us every week. They have been so helpful and supportive.
“From the first day they literally installed it, they were done by midday and at one o’clock we had a full seating in the area for lunch.”
The City will now waive all Al Fresco Dining permit fees until June 2022, with millions of dollars more earmarked for new outdoor dining.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that to date 2690sqm has been approved under the al fresco program, including new road reallocation plus new and expanded approvals on the footpath, helping kick-start the city’s economic recovery.
“Waiving outdoor dining fees was one of the first things we did when the pandemic hit Sydney, to make it easier for restaurants, bars and cafes to operate while encouraging physical distancing,” the Lord Mayor said.
“People have really embraced it, with participating businesses telling us they’ve taken on extra staff and seen increased patronage—a crucial aid to staying afloat in these difficult times.”
Sina agrees: “It definitely has had a huge impact on business. Together with the Dine and Discover vouchers, it’s a win-win,” she said.
“People can bring their dogs now, there’s a lot more space. It’s just been fantastic for us.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about anything happening this year!”