Suppliers have told SLTN that, even with no guarantee of warmer weather, a well designed and furnished outdoor area can be an attractive draw for consumers.
Martyn Nichols, sales manager of furniture supplier Woodberry of Leamington Spa, said maximising trade in an outdoor area takes more than just hoping for sunshine.
“Don’t forget that a pleasant outdoor area is not just about sunny weather; it is about looks,” he said.
“A run-down outdoor area can give a poor impression; conversely a put-together, smart exterior can convey a very good welcoming message to customers.”
The right furniture can go a long way to ensuring that an outdoor area is attractive in all weather.
Nichols said recycled plastic is becoming a popular choice with publicans looking for furniture that can stand up to the elements.
“As well as being virtually maintenance-free and coming in a choice of colours it is never going to rot or rust and whilst made of 100% recycled plastic, is recyclable itself if needed,” he added.
Durability is an important consideration for operators when it comes to outdoor furniture, particularly in a tough economic climate.
A spokesperson for Smart Interiors UK said that its Rattan range of furniture is constructed from aluminium and PVC in order to provide “strength and durability to suit the busiest of venues”.
And Andrew Wigglesworth of furniture and canopy supplier The S Zone said there has been an increase in demand for equipment that is usable regardless of the weather.
“More so than ever, water tight retractable solutions are now available that can withstand these more challenging weather conditions, allowing operators to have an available outside area that customers will still feel comfortable using even in harsh conditions,” he said.
Careful planning is key to making the best use of any outdoor area, according to Vaughann Turnbull, national sales manager of furniture supplier GO IN (UK). He said a well planned outside area should be able to function in different weather conditions.
“The balance between sun, shade and shelter is particularly important in the temperate climate of the UK,” said Turnbull.
“A light, sunny, airy space on one day can seem too hot during sunny periods or wet and windy at other times.”
And furniture is not the only aspect of the area that should receive attention.
Operators should consider the design of the entire space, including flooring, heating and lighting, according to Turnbull.
Image – Demand is rising for well-designed outdoor furniture which is durable and weather-resistant.