55% of all UK drinkers say a pub beer garden is their favourite place to drink beer throughout the summer months. With summer well under way, we’ve put together a few ways you could make your pub garden even better than it already is.
It’s not just indoors that decor is important. Plants and lighting can add as much character to your outdoor space as they can to your indoor space – if not more!
With the increased energy costs we’re all facing, more lighting might ring alarm bells . But the beauty of outdoor lighting is that you can make the most of solar power. So your only cost is the lights themselves. LED bulbs are also incredibly energy efficient, not to mention cheap to buy, so now’s a good time to replace any of your traditional filament or halogen bulbs.
And as for the plants – don’t worry, you don’t need to be green-fingered to achieve a beautiful beer garden – there are plenty of hardy plants out there… to name a few.
Another thing you might want to carefully consider when it comes to decor is…
Yes, you need to get the look and feel right when choosing the furniture for your beer garden, but be wary of ‘style over substance’. We all know the comfort levels of outdoor furniture can be questionable, and whilst a comfortable seat might not be top of a customers list of priorities when choosing a place to drink; it can have a significant impact on their dwell time with you.
Of course your chosen furniture will need to tick other boxes – sturdy, yet lightweight, easy to clean and store…the list goes on. Just make sure comfort is also part of your checklist.
Balancing sun and shade
Many of us associate beer gardens with having a pint or two whilst ‘soaking up the sun’. But we’re also partial to a bit of shade. Plus the fact the British weather certainly isn’t something we can rely on. In fact, as I write this, I’m looking out onto a torrential downpour on a day forecast to be 18 degrees and sunny.
Whether you opt for umbrellas, a canopy, or retractable roof, make sure you have a mix of shaded and non-shaded areas. That way you can appeal to both the sun worshipers and the shade bathers. And by investing in shade cover that you can retract or expand, you’ll be giving your customers the freedom to use your beer garden whatever the weather – with little risk of being caught out by an unexpected downpour.
A beer garden doesn’t have to just be a big open space. With the right layout you can still replicate the intimacy you have inside your pub. Consider partitioning your beer garden into a few different areas, to create a little more privacy and appeal to different groups of people. For example, you might want an area that’s tailored to families – offering space for children to play. Or somewhere tailored to sports lovers – equipped with tv screens and table football. Or perhaps an area for couples – offering a chilled out vibe with some ambient music and more private tables for two.
Accessibility to drinks
If you have a big outdoor space you’ll have to cater for the extra capacity; to ensure your customers are still getting the same level of service they would if they were sitting indoors. One way of making this happen is by installing an outdoor bar. Whilst it’s unlikely to be stocked with the same extensive selection of drinks as your indoor bar, it’ll give your guests the option to grab a quick pint or glass of wine.
And of course having more staff on shift when your beer garden is busy, will help you ensure your outdoor guests are getting the same service as those indoors.
Here’s how Rotaready’s demand forecasting feature can help you ensure you always have the right number of staff on hand to meet demand
And don’t forget…
Beer gardens are for winter too
Something we took from the pandemic is that beer gardens aren’t just for the summer months. With the right set up you can make use of your beer garden in the winter; increasing the capacity of your pub throughout the year. A way to attract customers all year round is to tweak the decor based on the time of year. At the moment your focus will be on seasonal blooms and perfecting that balance between sun and shade. But in a few months you may want to transform your outdoor space into a ‘winter lodge’ and switch your flowers and umbrellas for blankets, outdoor heaters and full cover.