I currently have an outdoor dining setup. When will I need to change my setup?
- Restaurants actively participating in the temporary Open Restaurants program will be allowed to continue operating while waiting for approval in the Dining Out NYC program if they submit their application for the new program by August 3, 2024. NYC DOT will start accepting applications via the application portal in March 2024.
- Restaurants participating in the temporary program that do not apply within this time period will need to remove their current outdoor dining setups when this timeframe has expired.
- Outdoor dining setups will need to comply with the Dining Out NYC design requirements within 30 days of the approval of your application.
Setup Design Requirements
What will the new setups need to look like?
- To help food establishments understand the requirements for outdoor dining, the City has created an interactive guide: visit the Setup Guide.
How do I apply for the permanent program?
- NYC DOT will start accepting applications in March 2024. Find out more information our How to Apply page.
- You will need to apply for a license and a revocable consent, for both sidewalk and roadway cafes.
- Restaurants may apply for both a license and revocable consent at the same time through the application portal.
- If you would like to have both sidewalk and roadway cafes, you must apply for a separate revocable consent and license for each.
- The terms of the revocable consent and license are four years.
What is a Revocable Consent and why is it a required part of the application process?
- A revocable consent is the mechanism through which the City grants a right to an individual or organization to construct and maintain certain structures on, over, or under the streets and sidewalks of the City, including sidewalk and roadway cafes.
- As the name implies, the City retains the right to revoke the consent at any time.
What will I need to submit as part of my application? Will I need to hire a professional (architect, engineer, etc.) to apply to the new program?
How long will it take for my application to be approved and will there be a way to check the status of my pending application?
- NYC DOT anticipates it will take up to six months for sidewalk cafes and up to five months for roadway cafes once NYC DOT receives a complete and accurate application.
- Applicants will be able to track the status of their application on the application portal.
Will the new permanent program allow for year-round or limited seasonal outdoor dining?
- Sidewalk cafes will be permitted to operate year-round.
- Roadway cafes will be permitted to operate from April 1 to November 29.
Will there be special circumstances where a business will be allowed to operate year-round in the roadway?
- Roadway cafes may only operate between April 1 and November 29 each year.
- NYC DOT may allow restaurants additional time each year to setup and disband their roadway cafe. NYC DOT will provide more information on its website prior to the outdoor dining season.
Where am I supposed to store roadway setup materials in the winter?
- Businesses will need to identify storage space to ensure that materials can be removed during the non-roadway season.
- NYC DOT will be working with the private sector to support emerging and existing rental businesses to supply restaurants with rentable outdoor dining setups, and the setup and breakdown services associated with them.
- NYC DOT, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and the Public Design Commission are also working to design and develop a modular outdoor dining setup which will adhere to the new rules and regulations for roadway dining. This project, the Setup Menu, will result in final designs that will be made available to the public for use in their restaurants after the rules are finalized.
How much will it cost me to participate in the new program?
- The cost to participate will vary based on the location of your restaurant and the size of your outdoor dining cafe.
- Restaurants will need to pay two separate fees:
- License Fee
- A $1,050 license fee, covering the four-year license term, for roadway or sidewalk cafes, or $2,100 for both roadway and sidewalk cafes.
- Revocable Consent Fee
- An annual revocable consent fee paid each year in the four-year term that will be determined based on the location of your restaurant and the size of your outdoor dining cafe.
- License Fee
Annual Revocable Consent Fee Rates:
|Sidewalk Fee Rate
(per square foot)
|Roadway Fee Rate
(per square foot)
Map of the Fee Zones:
Examples of Revocable Consent Fee Scheduled Applied:
Revocable Consent Fee Formula:
- Square footage (size) of outdoor dining cafe x sector fee rate
- PSF: per square foot
- SF: Square foot
|Sidewalk Fee Rate PSF
|Sidewalk Cafe SF
|Sidewalk Fee Formula (SF x PSF)
|Roadway Fee Rate PSF
|Roadway Cafe SF
|Roadway Fee Formula (SF x PSF)
|Total Annual Fee (Roadway Plus Sidewalk)
|120 x $6
|160 x $5
|120 x $10
|160 x $8
|120 x $18
|160 x $14
|120 x $31
|160 x $25
Why are roadway cafe fee rates lower?
- The roadway dining fee rates are further discounted to account for the shorter season and wider barriers required for roadway cafes.
What food establishments are eligible?
In order to be eligible for the program, a food establishment must be:
- A ground floor food establishment that is visible from the street and directly accessible to the public from the street; and
- Operated pursuant to a food service establishment permit issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
- In a permitted location pursuant to the Dining Out NYC rules.
I am not currently participating in the Open Restaurants program. Can I still participate in the new program?
- Yes. You do not need to be participating in the temporary program to apply for the Dining Out NYC program.
- However, restaurants actively participating in the temporary Open Restaurants program will be allowed to continue operating while waiting for approval in the new program if they submit their application for the Dining Out NYC program by August 3, 2024.
I have a previously NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)-approved enclosed sidewalk café. Will I still be able to operate this under the new program?
- Yes, an enclosed sidewalk cafe that was lawfully operated on March 16, 2020, or at any time within the four years prior, can still operate under the new program.
- The annual fee for a revocable consent for enclosed sidewalk cafes will be the rate required to be paid for the cafe as of March 16, 2020, pursuant to the rules of DCWP.
City Resources and Support
Which City agency will be responsible for program administration?
- NYC DOT will be responsible for program administration.
Which agencies will lead enforcement of the new program?
- NYC DOT will lead interagency coordination on enforcement with the Department of Sanitation, the Police Department, DOHMH, and the Department of Homeless Services.
What support will the City provide to help me through this process?
- Visit our Restaurant Resources page for a list of resources from City agencies.
- The City will provide additional information about support once the application portal opens.
Will the City make low-cost design components available to businesses lacking financial resources?
- The City is developing a Setup Menu, a modular outdoor dining setup which will adhere to the finalized rules and regulations for roadway cafes.
How will the City ensure that restaurant owners who do not speak English as their primary language have information about the program and are able to apply and comply with requirements?
- NYC DOT will have dedicated, multilingual staff working with restaurants on the application process as well as multilingual inspectors in the field.
- In addition, the online application will be translated into other languages, and NYC DOT will do targeted outreach to ensure all communities have the information they need to participate in the permanent program.
Will alcohol service and sales continue to be allowed in sidewalk and roadway cafes?
- If your establishment serves alcohol, you may apply to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to incorporate your sidewalk or roadway cafe into the premises covered by your liquor license.
- Please visit SLA’s website for more information on how to apply.