Making the most of the outdoors is top of most people’s agendas at this time of year. Whether you have a beer garden, outdoor seating area or room for a few chairs and benches, providing customers with a clean, pleasant and fun outdoor atmosphere is key this summer.
The legal side
An outside seating area is a great way to entice passing customers. However, it’s important to double check a few things before you go ahead. Before placing tables and chairs outside you must check who owns the land as this will affect the licence you need. If it’s a public highway you will need to apply for a pavement licence to use the area, and you may need to ask for planning permission to change the areas use. Check your premises licence too; if you are serving alcohol to customers outside, ensure the outside serving area is within the licensed area shown on your licence plans.
Making sure your outdoor area is pleasant will attract customers. If you have a grass lawn it should be cut neatly, your paving should be power washed and your outdoor furniture should be cleaned. Tables with parasols encourage people to sit and eat outside, and why not add deck chairs, picnic blankets and bean bags to create a holiday atmosphere? Decorating the area with bunting and fairy lights for the evening adds extra character to create a more premium pub feel. Consider adding heat lamps or a fire pit and offer blankets and throws for customers sitting out on cooler evenings.
Plan your staff rotas to make sure you have sufficient staff, or need to bring in extra on busy days such as the bank holiday and sporting events like the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon which will draw in larger crowds. Post on your social media and have signage outside your door highlighting the events you are hosting, the sports you are showing and your beer garden or outdoor seating area.
Sunny days will draw in people of all age groups so it’s important to try and have something for everyone. Outdoor play equipment or an entertainer is great for younger kids. Invite local bands to play or hold an outdoor karaoke. Not only will this draw in more families, it will drive sales too. If the kids are happy then the parents are too, which means they will stay longer.
Clean and safe
Your outdoor area is just as important as the inside of your venue when it comes to safety and hygiene. Staff should be mindful of spilled drinks and food to prevent any slipping hazards and should be on hand to take away finished plates to keep the place clean and tidy. This will encourage more people through your doors if they can see everything is clean, tidy and appealing. Plastic glasses are key to avoiding any breakages, so order plenty of pint and half sizes. Having a designated smoking area ensures smokers feel just as valued as any other customer, and keeps non smokers happy too.
- Check your licence
- Keep the area clean and attractive
- Advertise your beer garden
- Extra staff to monitor/work area