The great British weather does not always invite us to spend much time outside. But if you own a restaurant and you have the space, you can still make use of the area for customers who want to sit outdoors.
No matter how much space you have available, there are furniture solutions available that can help you to make the most of the area.
Here are some of the top things to consider when choosing your furniture.
Can you use the same tables and chairs that you have inside? Perhaps, but maybe not. It all depends how weather proof they are.
You will have all of the same considerations as your interior tables and chairs, including the style, appearance, comfort, height, etc. But in addition you have to think about the stability of the ground, which is unlikely to be as solid as the interior floor.
You will also have to choose between tables that you can keep outside, and those that you have to store away each night. If you choose to store them inside, do you have enough storage space? Flip-top tables are a popular choice as they make it easier to store tables if you do decide to take them in.
The styles available are more or less limitless, and it depends on the style of your restaurant as well as the surrounding area. For example, is it a small patio, or a large beer garden? This will affect your decision.
For a beer garden, it might be more suitable to simply invest in some wooden picnic benches. These are more casual, and they are easier to maintain because they are sturdy and weather resistant. If you really want to differentiate your pub/restaurant then benches with built in modern features such as USB charges and heated seats are a great way to get the crowds in.
Rain is always a problem, but with the right cover in place, your guests can still eat outside. Permanently sheltered areas may be the best option, but large and sturdy parasols can be ideal. These are easy to set up and take down, and they also provide shade on sunny days.
Patio heaters are increasingly necessary for outside areas. Smokers will appreciate having a warm area outside throughout the year, and
diners will be more comfortable on cool evenings.
Heaters are expensive,and they use a lot of power, so think carefully about whether you really need them. Perhaps you could just add a few in a small area rather than one on every table.
Some heaters are more expensive than others, but you will want to invest in quality heaters that will last longer. Take into account how much electricity they use, and also look for heaters with adjustable heat direction. They also come in a wide range of styles, so make sure they match the style of your restaurant.
As well as the above essentials, you might also want to include other items. For example, you could add a few garden benches around the sides of your beer garden. These can create a more relaxed environment, but they won't be suitable for all establishments.
Also make sure there is adequate lighting on every table, especially if you expect guests to use the outside area in the evenings. This could range from good patio lighting to individual lights on each table.
Having an outdoor eating space can bring in a whole new range of customers to your establishment and although there may be a bit of spend required to create an appealing outdoor eating space, in the long run the benefits are there.
Whichever items of outdoor furniture you end up choosing, make sure the items are all in line with your overall aesthetics. Choose every single item carefully, and be careful of seeing something you like and buying it in the moment, only to find that it doesn't really fit in with its surroundings.
Also make sure you look for quality items. High-quality furniture will last a long time, and they will have to be durable to put up with all the use they get every day.
So plan your outdoor furniture carefully, look around at lots of options, take photographs, and only buy when you know exactly what you want.