Recent snowstorms not withstanding, summer is, believe it or not, only a few weeks away.
Those operators with outdoor areas will be hoping to put them to good use in the coming months. But there’s more to making an outside area appealing than just dusting off the picnic tables.
Gary Corney, operations and sales director for Scotland at Star Pubs & Bars, said the first stage of summer preparation should always be a thorough cleaning of the beer garden.
“The outside of a pub should be tidy, clean and fit for purpose,” said Corney.
“Spring clean the outside to include jet washing patio areas, and putting planters and hanging baskets in place.
“External furniture should be restained, revarnished or repainted to keep it fresh and prolong its life.
“Exterior lighting should be tested to check it is in working order and ashtrays and condiment holders counted and assessed for damage.
“The weather in Scotland is unpredictable so to get maximum use of your outdoor area, parasols and umbrellas should be given the once over to ensure they’re up to the job and if not, replaced.”
According to Jan Dammis of furniture supplier Go In, first impressions count when it comes to outdoor areas.
Dammis said an external area should be a “good or even better representation of your style indoors”, and advised operators looking to spruce up their outdoor furniture to “have the courage to go for diversity, with a mix of styles, colours and the ‘retro’ theme which is still bang up-to-date”.
In addition to looking the part, any new furniture will have to be durable. As recent weeks have reinforced, Scotland’s climate is famously unpredictable and outdoor furniture has to be able to stand up to all kinds of weather.
David Dean, sales and marketing manager at NBB, said furniture should be “hardwearing and sturdy” as well as “inviting to use”.
“For the benefit of both the pub management and the customer, the furniture needs to be easy to clean and virtually maintenance free, meaning it will always be available for use and so adding value to the outdoor space of the pub and wider business,” said Dean.