Restaurant Air Curtain - Case Study

restaurant air curtain case study

Key Facts



Renovation of O’Tooles Irish Pub was overdue. Royal Oak, MI restaurant owner, Keith Wadle, wanted his indoor patrons to enjoy the ambiance of outdoor dining. However, being 10 yards away from a busy intersection and unforgiving summers led him to consider options.

While vacationing in Florida Mr. Wadle noticed a restaurant that used air curtains to keep the grueling Florida elements out. He knew he needed air curtains to attract sidewalk customers. After deciding to renovate his restaurant, he decided to install 7 commercial air curtains over the 46 feet of retractable glass walls and overhead doors.

These air curtains would allow patrons to enjoy the ambiance of outdoor dining without the extra mosquitoes, flies, vehicle emissions 10 yards away or unpredictable weather.

The owner had a gut instinct that the sidewalk traffic would create a tipping point. Once the inside was full enough, passers-by would want to join the crowded restaurant and bar.


Being 10 yards away from an intersection was a double edged sword. On one hand the restaurant could easily be seen by pedestrians and cars passing by. The sign was clearly visible and after the renovation potential customers could easily see the nice dining area.

On the other hand, the emissions coming from passing cars, flies and inclement weather made customers think twice about the idea or not interested in talking about the restaurant, let alone come back.

There was also the issue of energy consumption. When the 46 foot retractable glass doors and the 8 foot wide overhead doors were opened, the indoor heating and air conditioning escaped.

Lastly, there was the issue of installing air curtains that the velocity of the air coming from the equipment would blow napkins, tips and bother customers if they sat at the front, under the air curtain. Therefore a custom solution was needed to be made that prevented these issues from occurring.

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During the renovation of O’Tooles Irish Pub the owner decided to install air curtains. After contacting a Berner International representative and explaining the situation, Berner made 7 custom air curtains to solve all the potential issues.

In order to create an inviting outdoor experience for patrons, while simultaneously removing the aforementioned issues, seven air curtains were installed over the 46-feet of retractable glass and overhead doors.

Energy Saved

The air curtains solved the issue of energy waste by keeping more than 75 percent of the heating and air conditioning from escaping. This helped keep the area a comfortable 74°F for staff and customers.

The air curtains separate the indoor environment from the outdoor elements of flying insects, heat, cold, and nearby street vehicle emissions when the glass walls and doors are opened. The indoor air quality improved almost immediately as well.

Custom Air Curtain

Lastly, there was the issue of the velocity of the air coming from the air curtains disturbing customers and employees. O’Toole’s most popular seating is at the front and under the air curtains.

Therefore, Berner’s engineering department customized the blower assemblies for a lower velocity, but they still provide the necessary 1,407-feet/minute at three feet above the floor (window sill level) for performance. The customization was a factory-tested balance of protecting the opening, but also preventing napkins or paper money from being blown away.

Another customizing feature was the five 72-inch-long Commercial High Performance (CHC-10) model air curtains in the bar area, which were powder coated to match the Irish green decor’s color of O’Toole’s Pub.

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At R. Williamson & Associates we are here to help you achieve success. As a official distributor of Berner Air Curtains, we will make sure you receive the best option for a customized air curtain.

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