With outside trading expected to be granted in the first half of April, and the British climate being predictably unpredictable, it would be prudent of operators to weatherproof their beer gardens and outdoor areas for the coming months.
There are several ways to protect customers from any unwanted weather. Think marquees and shaded pergolas. Wind can be negated with the effective use of planters and colder days tackled by invested in some portable outside heaters and blankets if you haven’t done so already. The investment will more than pay for itself and keep the space usable the whole year round.
As there’s plenty of sport to enjoy over the coming months, not least the Euros, outdoor TVs and screens can significantly increase customer dwell time and be used to advertise your food and drinks menu when there’s no sport to show.
There was some more good news for publicans looking to open for business next month as the UK Government recently confirmed that venues in England would be able to use their car parks as beer gardens. This will allow many venues to either begin trading earlier than expected or extend their outdoor space significantly.
If you plan on taking advantage of this, think about what you can do to make the space inviting. Clever use of barriers and signage will help enclose the space, while the addition of planters, parasols over tables and some artificial grass can really help generate that authentic pub garden feel to what is a makeshift space.
Bars who are currently without a pavement licence can have their applications for outdoor seating fast-tracked until the end of September for just £100. And with space at a premium for many venues it’s a step worth taking.
Operators will have to bear in mind that social distancing rules of one metre plus alongside face masks for employees will still apply, as will the necessity for table service and a maximum group size of six. This should hopefully see most venues still able to operate around 70% of capacity, according to UK Hospitality. However, these rules are scheduled to be scrapped come June 21st (at the earliest).
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