Summer may finally have arrived! That said, the slow start has emphasised the importance of being able to use your outside spaces all year round. If you’re looking at refurbishing your pub, don’t forget the gardens and outdoor areas. These are just as important as the interior spaces.
Is retail taking the lead?
Over recent years exterior areas of all commercial properties have become more critical. Even Waitrose has recently started placing outside seating in their car parks and external areas of their supermarkets!
John Lewis in Oxford Street is another example of a retail outlet that has been very enterprising in expanding food and drink trading areas. Their seventh-floor roof terrace is now a riot of colour with fake grass, restaurants, pop-up bars, and casual seating. In great weather, people are queueing to get up there. They have also added an outside seating area to their Place to Eat restaurant on the fifth floor. This well-sheltered area has magnificent views along Oxford Street.
Refurbishing your pub’s outside spaces – Don’t get left behind:
In the pub world outside spaces have become a vital extra trading area. Later summers, and warmer weather into October and November have been a driving factor. Add to this the smoking ban and the fact that operators are keen to utilise as much of their space as possible, and you can see why outside areas have seen investment in recent years.
When the smoking ban came in during 2007, there was a considerable rush to provide external areas for smokers, and this wasn’t always very successful. We saw some ugly structures erected which were an eyesore on the garden areas but provided shelter. Over the years, a completely different way of thinking about outside spaces has materialised. Hospitality business owners are keen to encourage smokers and non-smokers outside. Thankfully, the original shelters have either been replaced or enhanced.
Now, external areas often include added features. Warm and cosy seating throws for colder weather, outside seating booths, phone charging areas, outside TVs, better night lighting, to name a few.
Refurbishing pub gardens so they work for everyone:
Sympathetic planting, living walls and enhanced foliage is very prevalent at the moment, and the garden is definitely having a renaissance. As a nation, we are now very aware of the natural environment and are leading a healthy and more organic lifestyle. Pubs have often moved away from the traditional beer drinking environment and become more of a casual meeting place. We’re not exactly saying they are always healthy places, but there is a movement towards giving people more choice. Non-alcoholic drinking has become a thing. We have even come across a completely alcohol-free bar in London!
Sunday lunch and families:
As a nation, we love eating out. Sunday lunch in a pub is always a popular option, and as a pub owner, it’s essential that you entice families in by providing decent garden areas. Ideally, there will be attractive areas with outside fireplaces or fire pits and comfortable seating for adults along with a good selection of well maintained and safe play areas for children. If you’re planning on refurbishing your pub’s outside spaces, give some thought to zoning. With careful planning, you can keep all your customers happy.
Cityscapes and outside spaces:
Sometimes it can be challenging to find a little outdoor space in city areas. But in good weather, everyone wants to be outside. Space-saving furniture can sometimes be clustered on the pavement close to the front door of a pub complete with wall heaters, or an area of the carpark can be revitalised. A living wall takes up very little space but can provide a vast depth of foliage and colour to otherwise drab areas. Faux grass options are also available, and a garden oasis could be provided for a few hundred pounds.
One of the nicest external seating areas we have seen recently was the simple adoption of abundant planters at an establishment in the heart of the city of London.
Investing in your outside spaces:
While a full garden investment can be pricey, it can pay huge dividends. An average spend could be around £10k – £30k for new paving, fencing, landscaping and garden furniture. But if you can use these spaces all year, it’s possible to recoup your investment.
Large Jumbrellas are an excellent investment as they provide shelter from the sun and can be fitted with lights and heaters to be used in the evenings and during the colder weather. Additionally, electrically retractable awnings are fantastic at providing shelter at the touch of a button.
Another investment option could be a temporary marquee. These can be assembled just for the unpredictable summer months. Finally, we are also seeing more and more permanent wooden gazebos and sail styled awnings, which can provide cost-effective shelter. The gazebos are often fitted with roofs, lighting and fixed seating to provide additional low-cost trading areas.
Talk to us about refurbishing your pub’s outside spaces, we can help you keep your customers happy. Contact us HERE.