Outdoor dining and drinking is usually associated with summer weather, abundant sunshine, and the chance to take in the air at a favourite café or restaurant. However, there’s no rule that says alfresco spaces have to be restricted to the summer. In fact, there are lots of reasons why diners might continue to head outside anyway.
Think about smokers, for example; they appreciate the chance to stay warm and dry even while spending time outdoors. For non-smokers too, the pull of nature can be strong. If your café, bar, or restaurant is located in an area with a beautiful view, customers will want to enjoy it no matter the time of year. And, being the only establishment with a comfortable outdoor space, in the winter, will make you very popular indeed.
This guide to creating an irresistible outdoor dining space will show you how to appeal to the crowd and keep tables full this winter.
Robust Weather Protection
Rain and wind are a possibility no matter the time of year, so keep customers cosy with robust outdoor café blinds. They’re attractive, sturdy, and can essentially be used to create a fully enclosed ‘indoor’ space, outside. Plus, they’re also affordable and help business owners to lower their energy costs, by retaining heat during winter.
Shopping for Durability
If you’re planning to make your alfresco area a permanent fixture, flimsy parasols and awnings may need to be replaced with tougher outdoor blinds. You should be looking for ‘complete’ blinds; products that don’t contain any gaps in the fabric, so that you can create a semi-permanent extension. They should be easy to clean, entirely water resistant, and have a strong frame or structure that can’t be pulled around by the wind.
Consider the Best Layout
To create an outdoor space that is as practical as it is comfortable, you need to consider the most suitable layout. For one thing, you don’t want customers creating traffic jams as they move in and out of the building. You’ll need plenty of room for tables, but unless your space is out back, away from other buildings, you may have to opt for a longer, thinner extension on the sidewalk. It is best to plan out (sketch it if you need to) the precise arrangement of your alfresco space before you start building it.
Bring the Indoors Outside
The most popular outdoor dining spaces are the ones that manage to combine great views, a natural atmosphere, and the ambience of the interior building. Yes, customers want to enjoy the fresh air, but they don’t want to be randomly stuck outside on the pavement. They still want to feel like part of the café or restaurant. So, use accessories and lighting to your advantage; add attractive planters, quirky lanterns, and candles to the tables.
Treat It as an Investment
The right way to make an outdoor extension successful is to treat it with interest and passion. If you don’t put any thought into it, customers will pick up on this and they’ll find the space a turn off. If you take the time to make it appealing, however, they’ll want to spend time there. Make it an all-round attraction and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition; most businesses don’t put resources in place for year round dining.
Why Outdoor Spaces Never Go Out of Style
Alfresco dining and drinking spaces represent a guaranteed investment, if created in the right way, because they offer two main advantages. Firstly, they add what is, essentially, an extension to your business. They allow you to cater to more customers and take in more profits during peak periods. They also let customers know that you care about their needs and are willing to offer them a variety of environments, as a way to enhance their experience.