WHILE the busy summer season is drawing to a close, there are still plenty of potentially lucrative days and nights remaining on this year’s calendar.
And before the hectic festive season, the on-trade is braced for a raft of events that are sure to pull in punters – from freshers’ week to Halloween.
With busy periods ahead, it can be a good idea to give venues a refresh to make sure they are looking their best, say design firms.
Norman Laidlaw, managing director of interior design and shopfitting firm, Laidlaw Contracts, said it is “worthwhile for licensees to consider refreshing their premises ahead of the autumn and winter months”.
Suzy Kingswood, director of interior design firm 3 Design Scotland, agreed, stating that while many clients initially wish to hold off until January to refurbish their premises, “very often they look at turnover and find they do have a period from October to November to do work – that in some cases means they are ready to open for a busy December with a new freshly refurbished interior”.
Laidlaw reckons the benefits of a refit should not be underestimated.
“Refreshing and redesigning your venue can spruce up its image and attract more clients, benefiting both the owner and the customers,” he explained, adding that a refit “is an unmissable opportunity to create a ‘unique selling point’”.
Fiona Kennedy of kitchen and bathroom specialist Rearo Laminates, stressed the importance of leaving customers with the best impression of your venue.
“The image of your premises as well as product can impact drastically on a customer’s opinion of your brand,” she said, adding that bathrooms “are often the neglected area within licensed premises”.
“Therefore, it is vital that maintenance is carried out prior to any busy times,” said Kennedy.
Echoing this view, Ronnie Burns of Burn’s Interior Design said with so much competition for customers these days, if a venue is run down and showing signs of wear and tear, customers “will vote with their feet – especially if toilets are in poor condition”.
A shabby interior can be a particular setback in the time of social media, said Laidlaw of Laidlaw Contracts.
“Nowadays people can always take pictures and upload it on social media, which will allow thousands of people to look at it,” he said.
As well as avoiding bad publicity on social media, Jeff Taylor of Select Contract Furniture also pointed out that he is “yet to hear a client complain that a refurb has had a detrimental effect on profit”.
And a clever refresh needn’t break the bank, according to Taylor, who reckons small changes can make a big difference to the look and feel of a venue.
“Affordable aesthetic tweaks such as re-upholstery, some new chairs to complement the old plus ambient lighting can all combine to dramatically change the overall look without costing the earth,” he said.
When it comes to costing, sticking to a budget is key, according to Kennedy of Rearo Laminates.
“It is vital that before any project [starts], you know your maximum spend and then from this you can select products in your price range,” she said.
“It is often too easy to go off on a tangent and select luxury items when there are more cost effective options available with the same look.”
As well as cost, it also makes sense to stay abreast of the latest trends, reckons Scott McIntyre of Nicoll Russell Studios.
He said that pink, green and dark blue are the ‘in’ colours at the moment, with design references to nature and botanicals proving popular.
He added that while the industrial look “is still doing the rounds”, there is growing demand for designs that are “traditional with a modern twist”.
When it comes to planning and carrying out a renovation, Taylor of Select Contract Furniture reckons operators should ensure they work with specialists.
“It is well worth enlisting the help of experts in whatever field is appropriate, such as a designer, project manager and interior fit-out specialist, to consider elements such as layout, relevant design, product suitability and compliance to ensure the investment is money well spent,” he said.
Kingswood of 3 Design agreed.
She said that when it comes to undertaking a commercial renovation project, “the knowledge and expertise they (professionals) bring is priceless when a project is on site”.
– Rearo Laminates