Using your outdoor space: creating your own event

Although indoor trading is back, improved weather will naturally lift the desire for al-fresco eating and drinking in the weeks ahead, even once restrictions are fully lifted come late-July, so capitalise on this and the demand for better experiences by revamping your outside offering.

Think about what simple things you can do to improve the space and what events you can hold in your venue this summer. Even if it’s as simple as hiring a professional barbecue and delivering delicious and easy to prepare food. One top tip is to try and coincide such events or mini-festivals with paydays to really drive additional spending.

“The best advice I can give people is to embrace the outdoors,” said Stuart. “Post-covid restrictions if you have any outside space your business can make more permanent and Instagrammable will mean you are on to a winner. Floral installations or just jazzing it up on a budget with a few choice hanging baskets or potted plants will help improve its appeal. To stand out from the competition you have to use everything in your arsenal, drinks, food, staff, setting, events and even challenges to set yourself apart from the crowd.

“An example I’ve followed is a pub, close to me, where the location is an integral part of a cycle challenge so, on the day, it traditionally runs a barbecue event to boost revenue. And I think now, there’s an extra hunger from people to no longer miss out on those big pub occasions that they have missed over the last 16 months.”

That view was echoed by Eric, who said operators need to “create a fun and welcoming atmosphere in their outdoor areas”.

“Whether its live music or just a beautiful space filled with ambient lighting, know the atmosphere you’d like to offer, and think about what you’d like to experience if you were going out for an evening drink,” he said. “Reassess as you need, if you have set up a garden and think something isn’t working for your venue, switch it up straight away and reconsolidate, making sure you update everyone in your team.

“People aren’t looking for the same old same old these days, you need to be offering new and exciting events which will set you apart from your competitors. This could be themed days, live music, small productions or even cinema screenings. These kinds of events can be easily adjusted to ensure covid legislation and regulations are met, creating a fun and safe environment for your customers.

“Creating new offerings and package deals for events like these will maximise spend on these days, but your biggest tool again is having attentive staff, who know a table and do regular check backs to ensure that customers spend more while having a great time.”