How to enhance your Al Fresco dining experience

As the nights begin to draw out and the days begin to lengthen, spring and summer is a thought on everyone’s mind. Our minds turn to long, warm summer nights spent with friends and family, making the most of the fantastic company combined with the open air. As a venue, you will also be thinking about how you can make the most out of your outdoor space as the weather improves and so this article aims to cover how to optimise your Al Fresco dining experience, including your exterior design, contract furniture and how to enhance the overall dining experience.

Remember, first impressions count

More often than not, the outdoor space of a café or bar is actually at the front of the building and so first impressions really do count. Your entire premises are a representation of your brand and so ensure you don’t forget the importance of your outdoor area. If your outdoor area is at the front of your venue, we now offer barriers which can ensure your seating is cordoned off to any adjacent pavement or thoroughfare.

Consider your audience

Your audience will totally depend on the type of establishment. If you’re a bar, you’re more than likely to attract couples and young professionals throughout both the day and the night. Cafes and pubs are more likely to attract families and children. In fact, an outdoor space can be particularly attractive to families who may feel that noise is more acceptable outdoors, because, let’s face it, children can be extremely noisy! If children and families are high on your agenda, you may want to think about outdoor children’s seating as well as games and suchlike to keep children entertained whilst adults ‘attempt’ to relax.

Look and feel

Use of plants

Many restaurants, bars, pubs, bistros and cafes are bringing the outdoors in with the clever use of foliage, plants and flowers. One of the biggest crazes in hospitality interior styling is the creation of a nature inspired, organic setting, whereby diners are made to feel they are experiencing an outdoor setting whilst sitting in the warmth of an indoor space.

With this in mind, it’s important to emulate this in your outdoor space. Make sure this space gives maximum impact with the clever use of plants and foliage. There’s something extremely calming and relaxing in this kind of atmosphere and it’s wise to invest in items which require little care or attention so you can concentrate on your customer service!

Contract Furniture

Going back to our initial point: ‘first impressions count’, ensure your contract furniture is clean and well-maintained. Your customers will expect a certain level of furniture in your outside area, not just indoors. If we take you back to our last blog which featured some of our hottest products for 2020, you will remember our FLAT table bases – These are perfect for uneven flooring which is especially common outdoors – Nobody likes a wobbly table – In fact, there’s nothing more frustrating and so make sure you bear this in mind.

You don’t want to spend your time maintaining your outdoor furniture – Staining and protecting tables, scrubbing mouldy residue or covering each item as the night draws to an end. Instead you want to make use of materials such as Aluminium, synthetic rattan and plastic all of which require very little care and attention. This doesn’t mean style will suffer, we have dozens of fantastic, contemporary pieces, whatever your style.

Contract furniture layout

Whether you’re dining indoors or outdoors, there’s nothing worse than feeling cramped. So, make sure your tables and seating are arranged in such a way to make the most out of your space. Consider using smaller dining tables, combined with larger dining tables and benches. Pair these with poseur tables and barstools because different heights will give a sense of space and variety.

Warmth and protection

As we all know, the Great British Summer isn’t always hot and dry. In fact, it can be downright miserable – Our thoughts of balmy summers evenings can actually be peppered with rain and chilly temperatures. So, it’s wise to think about how you can still make the most of your outdoors area if the summer months don’t deliver summer conditions. Think patio heaters and baskets filled with toasty, soft blankets. It’s also important to think about protection when the weather is scorching and so why not take a look at our range of parasols, all of which are UV and water resistant.

Acoustics and lighting

Venues often think about the ambiance and acoustics of the inside of their setting, but forget about the outside. Of course, you may have adjoining properties or venues to take into consideration, but soft music can be a great addition to your garden area.

Also think about lighting in your outdoor areas – Warm side lights to create a certain ambiance, combined with overhead festoon and fairy lights for the full effect.

Customer service levels

Your outdoor area is simply an extension of your indoor area and so make sure your waiting team tend to this area with due care and attention. If your outdoor space is sizeable, it may be that you need to recruit additional staff in the summer months to ensure each and every customer is looked after. Your outdoor area should not be an afterthought, but a key extension of your brand.

Offer something different

If space allows, why not attempt to stand out from your competition by holding a unique dining experience outside. Perhaps a BBQ, beer or cider festival or even an open-mic session. These types of events really shine in the summer months and can ensure the drinks flow as does the revenue.

Should you need any outdoor contract furniture items for your outdoor area, or help and advice on making the most of your space, why not contact us now on o1452 336520 or email sales@eclipsefurniture.co.uk.

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