Stepping outside this summer: the future of outdoor dining

Summer has arrived in the UK and with the hot weather potentially set to stay consumers are increasingly seeking the luxury of outdoor dining, which is why Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company, is encouraging operators to take note of trends in this area. Furthermore, Beacon supplier, Woodberry of Leamington Spa found that nearly 70% of Brits love being outside, and that the quality furniture offered by establishments shows the operators care about them. With this said, Beacon advises operators on how to get the most of an al fresco experience.

Chris Johnson, Design Services Manager at Beacon, commented: “Dining outdoors is always extremely popular, but it is becoming difficult for operators to compete in a climate where consumers are opting for their own gardens to save money. With the glorious weather we’ve been having, and the potential for more to come over the summer, it is vital that pubs, bars and restaurants have an outdoor dining area that is not only reflective of their style, but also offers comfort and accessibility for all types of customers; tempting them into the beer gardens and away from their own.”

Making it match

In order for an establishment to have a successful outdoor area, it is essential for operators to ensure that the area fits with the style and tone of the overall surroundings. Careful consideration when planning an outdoor space should not be overlooked. For example, a sofa in the middle of a busy food-led garden would not only make customers feel uncomfortable, but it will hinder the team who are serving food, damaging the whole experience and creating an undesirable atmosphere.

In addition to furniture placement and selection, it is also important to carefully consider colour palettes. One of our leading suppliers, Crown Paints with leading exterior brands including Sandtex Trade for Masonry projects and Sadolin for woodcare projects, highlights that when it comes to choosing colour for exteriors, it is important to consider factors other than simply personal preference, as this will form part of the landscape and surrounding environment. Regions, cities, towns, villages and even streets can have their own individual colour identity, and we will still see this today in places such as Tobermory and Norwich using vibrant colour pallets to create a wow factor.

Meet your audience’s needs

As well as the overall style of the establishment, Woodberry’s years of experience understand that it is crucial for operators to consider the needs of their demographic. For example, high poseur tables are the best for drinkers and smokers, whilst sit-down tables and chairs that are set up with cutlery and menus will attract diners. Understand what your demographic desires from your establishment, alongside what you want to offer, to ensure your dining furniture meets this.

Our suppliers, such as Woodberry of Leamington Spa, offer options that cater for these different needs. They act not only as a supplier but a team, working alongside the customer. For example, if your customer base is families, you want to ensure you have adaptable space for large parties, which led Woodberry of Leamington Spa to create their The Family Hex furniture piece. The hexagonal table has tough waterproof cushions, suitable for high chairs, and is easily adaptable to place together to create more space for larger groups.

Tableware to stand the test of time

Creating and enhancing an outdoor area is certainly an investment for operators. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the tableware chosen will stand the test of time, including weather, and wear and tear. Insight from our supplier Lockhart states that the outdoor dining trend has led to development of a unique range of tableware that is extremely durable, easy to maintain and completely shatterproof.

 The future of outdoor furniture

Just like interior design, outside décor also encompasses many trends that establishments would do well to take into consideration. Woodberry of Leamington Spa indicates that current trends are moving away from industrial looks, and are turning to warmer colours in order to make consumers feel welcome, as well as personal touches of colour. Cushions are another item more commonly appearing, as the appetite for comfort and functionality grows.

Chris concludes: “Outdoor dining is as popular as ever, a bit of sunshine and Brits are out! What is difficult is enticing them to use beer gardens over their own gardens. By taking on board simple tips; from furniture placement and selection, to colour trends, operators can capitalise on the sunshine. This will also build an outlet’s reputation for desirable outdoor dining facilities, which will help them during this and future summers.”

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