Get ready in the garden

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Make the most of your pub front with hanging baskets.As all estate agents know, kerbside appeal is the single biggest factor that will induce a...

Make the most of your pub front with hanging baskets.

As all estate agents know, kerbside appeal is the single biggest factor that will induce a potential purchaser to go into a premises to view it - and it's the same with your pub. What it looks like from the street is key to whether you can attract new customers through the door.

To assess your pub for kerbside appeal, approach the building from different directions and think about how attractive it is to passers-by. Could you take a little more care on how the pub looks from the road?

It's not just about general maintenance and upkeep of the building, it's about dressing your pub so it turns heads, and pulls people in.

One good way of doing that, especially in the spring and summer when people could well be cruising around looking for a nice place to stop for refreshment, is with floral displays.

Chelsea Direct, which supplies hanging baskets and troughs to the pub trade, has carried out a survey among its licensee customers which showed that a good display can increase traffic into a pub by 20 per cent or more.

New customers to the pubs were asked what had attracted them and most of the women and couples said it was the flower baskets, well-maintained gardens and the general look from the outside.

One pub that has seen the benefits of a kerbside appeal is the Fox & Hounds in Theale, Berkshire. When tenants Sheila and Terry Jarvis took over four years ago there were only a couple of tired hanging baskets outside the pub - "now we're up to 32," says Terry proudly.

"As soon as the summer flowers go up in the baskets, trade picks up. People come and sit in the garden just to look at the flowers. I've been trying to persuade the brewery, Wadworth, to move hanging baskets from our gardening budget to our advertising budget because it makes such a difference to our trade."

He estimates that a good summer display increases traffic into the pub by well over 20 per cent. "When people see a ball of colour outside they know it's going to be just as good on the inside," he says.

There have been other rewards as well. Sheila and Terry's displays have won the Wadworth Best Pub Front.

Chelsea Direct's John Holden has noticed a three-fold increase in his business this year as landlords cotton on to "flower power". "It's not just about the quality of the hanging baskets and troughs, it's about the overall quality and length of the floral display," he says. "In the South of England plants have to be blooming from May through to the first frosts. As a consequence, we are being asked to maintain displays all year round and provide watering systems and garden maintenance contracts."

Pictured: The Portsmouth Hoy in Portsmouth pulls in the customers with its hanging baskets.

What's cooking?

Barbecues are not just another way of cooking food. When you stoke up the fires on a balmy evening you are also indulging in a piece of theatre.

That's been recognised in the new summer collection of equipment from Cinders Barbecues, which has extended its professional range beyond the traditional barbecues into theatre-style gear such as spit roasters, rotisseries and box grills.

The new spit roasters will take a whole lamb, a suckling pig, a huge rib of beef or a rack of chickens. As well as the succulence of spit-roasted meat, they make for "tremendous cooking theatre", says Cinders, "creating impulse sales for a menu item that carries a high profit mark-up".

As the spit-roaster is enclosed, you can take it inside and use it in the winter too.

Box grills have interchangeable cooking plates which allow you to cook on two different surfaces at the same time - a solid heavy griddle plate and a stainless steel grill top over lava rock.

What's new for the garden?

  • Indigo Shading Solutions has launched a new range of parasols. They are fitted with an unbreakable hub and sliding blocks and come with a zipped storage bag. Canopies are available in natural, green terracotta and navy and are stain and rain repellent.
  • Purpose-built for pub gardens, R&K's new picnic tables include four, six and eight seaters and are available in a sage green or barleywood blue finish as well as the standard red cedar.
  • Timberline's Dreamlander (pictured)​ is a multi-adaptable, aesthetically pleasant play tower system with a unique three-sided balcony from which children can keep an eye on their parents. Under the tower, there is space for a table and a rotating tyre swing. The Dreamlander system costs £3,280 plus VAT including delivery and installation but not safety surfacing.

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£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

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