As the darker nights draw in, hospitality and event venues will be looking at strategies to keep warm, cosy environments for customers and patrons to use. As well keeping social distancing strategies in place and mitigating against any rise in COVID cases, giving some thought to your outdoor winter dining environment during the colder seasons can create atmosphere and extra seating space to increase business revenue. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at some techniques, products and strategies you can use to keep your outdoor environments in a habitable state through the winter period.
A key issue, and probably one of the first things you’ll think about, is how to keep customers protected from the inevitable worsening of the winter weather during the colder months. A product like a pre-designed canopy can add shelter from wind and rain, and you may want to twin these with blankets, patio heaters and extra heat sources to provide additional comfort. Through the pandemic, we’ve also seen people use glasshouses, igloos, tipis and other bespoke and custom products for that extra wow factor.
If you’re settling customers outside in the poor weather and keeping them sheltered and warm, it’s worth thinking then about how best to minimise the amount of movement they’ll have to make – you want to make the guest experience as seamless and attractive as possible. Luckily, there are now hundreds of contactless and seamless booking, ordering and payment systems on the market to enable customers to stay under shelter and not have to wander backwards and forward past potentially uncovered or poorly sheltered areas.
If you’re expanding your operation to include more outdoor areas and seating – it’s worth then thinking about what benefits there are to sitting outside. Perhaps you could think about extending WiFi range, screens, adding additional bathroom spaces or bespoke architectural fabric or event canopies to create intrigue, flexibility and the possibility of multi-use operation once the weather warms up again.
No matter the weather, this will make a huge difference to how customers perceive your outdoor space, so take the decorative element of your new outdoor area seriously. Good, atmospheric and warm outdoor lighting is a must, but other elements such as fabric dressing, artwork, natural decorations, installations and good outdoor planting will significantly improve your customer’s experience. It’s also worth thinking about the use of fire pits and safe alternatives to create a cosy setting.
Using local produce and suppliers to create a thoughtful, tailored approach to your menus during the winter period can definitely add to the appeal of sitting outside. Perhaps you could serve warm mulled drinks, or offer an outdoor winter BBQ element akin to the bonfire nights we all remember as a child. This is all part of creating atmosphere and appeal – outdoor winter ale and cider tasting akin to Germany’s successful Oktoberfest is increasingly becoming popular in the UK.
If you’ve got any more questions about the services Base Structures provide, and how we might be able to help you along the route of opening up your outdoor space to more customers, contact us today. Our specialist knowledge in pre-designed and bespoke canopies, as well as decorative and architectural fabrics, means we’re well-placed to advise on what’s possibly creatively in your immediate environment.