The festive season can be one of the most lucrative times of year for the on-trade – but it’s followed by some of the leanest months on the calendar. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
With a much higher chance of welcoming new faces over the festive period than at any other time of year, design firms have told SLTN they reckon getting the timing of a revamp right could help impress over Christmas – and even keep footfall high in the leaner months of January and February.
George McCandlish, managing director of Falkirk-based Central Upholstery, said operators should ensure their venue is looking shipshape for Christmas to increase the chance of picking up repeat business from first-time guests.
“Any venue which is done up nicely and advertises a bit after a fit out will make most of its money back with the existing, new and the just nosey clients who will visit,” said McCandlish.
It may not make sense to sacrifice any trading days when footfall is at its highest, however operators who can find time somewhere before footfall and revenues start to fall off to give their venue a facelift should see the benefit on their bottom line when things would normally be quieter, according to McCandlish.
“If [a revamp] is all done before the quiet spell, with some good advertising you probably won’t have that quiet spell,” he said.
“If done right it can turn into one of the busiest times with a win-win.
“You have the venue refurbished, you don’t have a quiet period and the money you have brought in pays for the work which has been done.”
Revamping before a quiet spell can turn it into one of the busiest times of year.
Time may be marching on for those considering a refresh this winter, but that doesn’t mean operators should cut corners when it comes to planning.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh-based Laidlaw Contracts said that for operators thinking of carrying out renovations, regardless of size, the key to success is to “plan ahead and prepare”.
“Arrange expert people to come and give ideas and costing,” she said.
Operators with major work in mind may have missed the boat to have work completed in time for the festive period, but the ultimate big-job window is on the horizon, according
to the Laidlaw Contracts spokeswoman, who suggested January and October are ideal times for a full refurbishment.
Looking ahead, Laidlaw Contracts made predictions on some of the trends it thinks could be big next year.
“I think technology will play a huge part in design,” said the spokeswoman.
“3D printing is becoming readily available and it could create some cutting edge materials and textures.”
Other trends flagged by Laidlaw Contracts included text on walls, an increase in the use of stools in restaurants and bars, and an increased focus on the kitchen as a design feature.
I think technology will play a huge part; 3D printing is becoming readily available.
“These days, diners want more from fine dining,” added the spokeswoman.
“They want immersion, excitement, a dash of the theatrical.
“That’s why show kitchens have been popping up in recent years, as a way to make diners feel more involved in the food-prep process.”
McCandlish of Central Upholstery also weighed in on what, in his view, are some of the key design trends in the licensed trade.
When it comes to interior design, McCandlish said an “industrial look” with greys, metals and Edison exposed filament light bulbs have all proved popular as well as Chesterfield-style fixed seating, which he expects will go on to be one of the big trends of next year – along with fixed seating with designs sewn into the backs.