Capitalise on the great outdoors

A thought-out approach to equipment can help outdoor areas shine this summer, say firms


OPERATORS lucky enough to have a venue with a beer garden during last year’s scorching summer will know how lucrative even the smallest outdoor space can be.

And as this summer kicks off there is still time for licensees to fine tune their al fresco offers and enjoy the benefits the season can provide, firms told SLTN.

Peter Bennett, marketing manager of furniture supplier Leisure Bench, said outdoor areas could “either be dead space or profitable space” for operators.

“An outdoor seating area will attract families in the summer months, providing a facility for children and parents, while a barbecue will increase pub meal possibilities for eating outdoors,” he said.

“Ensure the area is attractive, pleasant and comfortable to sit in. Decorative planters and heaters for chillier days and evenings will help to achieve that.”

Rob Perry, sales director of Warner Contract Furniture, echoed that view, underlining the significant role that good looking beer gardens can play in licensed venues.

He said: “Operators with any size of outdoor space should relish the opportunity to attract new custom and set the best possible first impression.

“Create beautiful and comfortable spaces and you can benefit from catering overflow areas too.”

When looking at what additions can help a beer garden stand out, prudent operators should consider installing an “Instagrammable selfie wall feature”, according to Adrian Byne, marketing manager of Benholm Group.

He said: “This will not only help your venue stand out but every visitor who shares their selfie on your premises is a brand ambassador and authentic influencer, which can dramatically increase your number of new visitors.”

Additionally, ample use of plants and greenery can make all the difference to a venue’s outdoor space, said Byne.

Operators with any size of outdoor space should relish the opportunity to attract new custom.

“It is scientifically proven that as humans we have an innate attraction to nature and this fact can be leveraged to attract visitors and ensure they enjoy their visit,” he added.

To truly make the most of the better weather, an outdoor food offer can help deliver extra sales across the season.

Ray Hall, managing director of catering equipment supplier RH Hall, reckons outdoor grilling can be a route to success.

He said: “Barbecues may not previously have been seen as an essential item, but outdoor eating is a growing area of the market and operators should be taking the opportunities for extra revenue that barbecues can provide seriously.”

And to help further augment the experience of eating and drinking in beer gardens, mobile EPOS can make the process easier for customers and staff, according to Tim Chapman, sales director for technology firm Zonal.

He said: “This is where technology solutions can really play a part in making sure the customer experience isn’t hindered by being outdoors.”

Hervé Bouchard, owner of Alliance Till Systems, agreed. He said: “With handheld devices, customers no longer have to queue inside to place their order, improving the overall experience and level of service.

“Waiting staff using handheld devices have increased contact with customers, leading to a speedier service, greater opportunities for upselling and faster table turnover.”

And by using handheld EPOS devices, food and drinks orders taken by staff in outdoor spaces are sent directly to a bar or kitchen printer, meaning “there’s no risk of those additional drinks orders being forgotten by a server or items getting missed from a bill”, added Bouchard.