Outdoor dining cafés are becoming more and more popular as the trend of eating at aesthetically pleasing places has grown. According to the National Restaurant Association (2021), more than half of both fine dining (62%) and casual dining (56%) operators have jumped into the fresh air solution/trend while more than four in 10 full-service operators taking advantages of city program that allow expansion out onto sidewalks and streets.
There are many ways to expand your current indoor dining/seating area outdoors, such as setting up a sidewalk area, having a patio or operating the rooftop.
What benefits can the outdoor cafes bring? And where should you start from? Let find out with us in the guidance below.
1. Why outdoor seating is a trend for commercial food service.
Appealing for families: Families prefer outdoor dining and drinking areas because they provide safe space for children to play while they can keep an eye on them. Sometimes they find it frustrating with limited play areas for kids in indoor café.
Better experience: Nowadays, customers not only look for a good meal. They want a dining experience. Therefore, alfresco dining will always be a popular appeal. Nothing can beat a good vibe with nature and fresh drink – quality time for families and friends!
Increased revenue: Outdoor areas in restaurants, bars and cafes attract more customers because they prefer to sit in the open air, enjoy the drink and chill. The aesthetics of an outdoor area attract customers without advertisement. So, a well presented, heated, light and decorated outdoor areas is bound to succeed if operated efficiently.
2. A guide to choose accessories for your outdoor dining area
Before you start, keep it in mind there key factors:
- What are you trying to protect against?
- What size are you wanting to cover?
- Is the area next to an existing building or stand alone?
So if we take the first point, we can protect against sun shine alone with pretty much all the products we offer but some will be overkill if it is simply to provide sun shade and nothing else.
We have a massive range of commercial umbrellas, some with very high wind ratings so even if the wind picks up suddenly there is no issue.
The umbrellas can be centre pole supported, cantilever side arm supported or even wall supported with clever knuckle jointed arms so the umbrella can move along with the moving sun.
Suitable for: outdoor cafe, pub, small coffee shop
We offer retractable awnings for sun protection and some of these can be up to 14m wide in one system. The awnings can be wall mounted or self supporting on a goal post framework and with an awning fitted to either side cover a massive area either adjacent or away for the buildings..
Certain awnings and the way they are pitched can offer every good protection against rain as well as sunshine and in reality the biggest enemy of any product like an awning is the wind but they generally can be stable up to wind speeds where quite frankly you wouldn’t be sitting outside anyway.
Because a self supporting awning will only have a maximum projection of 4m you can cover large areas but are restricted in the projection and of course just like an umbrella you have no wind protection or angled rainfall.
Suitable for: massive outdoor spaces, restaurant
The retractable fabric canopy on an aluminium framework was introduced to the UK around 10 years ago and gave a great solution for commercial premises because the wind rating was higher than a normal awning and the system had a more stable fabric cover to take rainfall. The projection could also be far greater, and these days is up to around 6m on a standard system and 7m on an enhanced system.
The retractable fabric roof is opened and closed by an electric motor drive and the fabric is guided by channels either side of the cover, there are no arms like a self supporting awning. The fabric cover is tighter and the rainwater is directed to the front. These systems can have lighting and heating built in for more use during the cooler months.
Suitable for: rooftop café, garden coffee
Retractable Textile Roof
Similar principle to the pergola canopy but more robust with a cross beam at the front with a rainwater guttering built in and drainage through the supporting front posts. This system is strong enough to take additional products on the sides and front to create and enclosed outdoor room.
The fabric roof can also be a triple layered fabric and strengthened further by aluminium struts across the width.
Variations are also now possible with a flat fabric roof and structure which is either wall mounted or self supporting. These systems can also be joined together to cover large areas and again can incorporate lighting and heating. With the sides infilled with sliding glass doors or vertical electric blinds you can start to properly control the weather whichever side it prevails.
Suitable for: rooftop café, rooftop restaurant
Louvered Bioclimatic Roof
A buzz trendy product for a couple of years now but if offered for commercial applications you need to be sure it is totally fit for purpose as so many lower priced manual and quite honestly, just pretend systems have emerged on the UK market, look pretty and offer sun shade for sure. If you have a tilting and aluminium bladed roof system, people will expect it to be like a ceiling when closed as well as totally waterproof and for this you need real confidence..
Integrated lights and heating make for a better experience and again, infilling the sides with fixed or movable products make for an outdoor room. Find out more details here.
Done properly a great solution, but done on a budget a potential disaster.
Suitable for: luxury bar, fancy restaurant
We also offer a vast range of Fixed Glass or Polycarbonate Roof, Glassroom if our customers request. We can cover an outdoor area up to almost any size by combining products together but you do need the aesthetics to work and compliment your existing building. A properly designed and built outdoor covered area needs to be something which attracts new and existing customers, whatever your business might be. Offering an outdoor, healthy, comfortable and unique space for studying, meeting, drinking, eating, playing or whatever it is can only be a good thing and a trend continuing throughout the UK. Contact us to discuss with experts and get a free quote for your business today!