We look at how hospitality venues can transform their outdoor spaces.

From patios to paving, there are so many ways hospitality professionals can utilise the outdoor spaces in their venues. With summer upon us and consumers wanting to balance sunshine with a great food and drink offering, the need to transform outdoor spaces for customers is greater than ever.

No matter what setting or space you have; be it a bar on the beach or a more urban space, every venue has a chance to transform their outdoor spaces to make it more attractive to customers. At On-Trade Progress, we’ve compiled different examples of how you can use those spaces and transform them for maximum footfall.

  • Rooftop bars

It used to be the case that to have a rooftop bar, you needed a stunning city view. Rooftop bars are, of course, primarily an urban fascination and for consumers, provide a refuge from the busy streets below. However, we are now inundated with rooftop bars across the capital and other major UK cities. Rightly so, these outdoor spaces used to be dead and now, due to their fashionable uptake, every applicable venue has the chance to build on this offering.

So, what makes a great rooftop bar? While views certainly help, there’s a lot to be said for creating an intimate space too. If you don’t have the views to support your rooftop bar, then put together an intimate and attractive space. For this, we recommend spotlighting and low backed chairs, anything that conveys getting away from the ‘hussle and bussle’ of the streets below.

  • Private dining areas

One of the most magical experiences about private outdoor dining areas in restaurants is that often consumers don’t know they exist until the waiting staff walks you through the venue and to your table.

You can create wonderfully intimate spaces using simple cover-ups. For example, if the space is surrounded by a high wall, or perhaps the view above isn’t so inviting, you can use a marquee style cover to hide it. Or, one Turkish restaurant in Kent used wonderful draping fabrics to create an indoor/outdoor sense that totally immersed the party in a true cultural experience.

  • Outdoor drinking spaces

If your venue isn’t big enough and you are popular, inevitably, in the summer months you will likely have customers spill over onto the streets. While this can cause some problems for people looking to walk by, you can encourage your customers to stay close to the venue by implementing a soft barrier system, having overhead sheltering in case it rains or for shade and having warming lights so when it gets cold they want to stay near.

It’s important to remember that every venue is different, and how you choose to transform your venue could be totally different from a competitor. Always think about what the customer would be happiest with though, and you can’t go wrong.