Outside furniture

How to attract customers to your pub garden

By Fiona McLelland

- Last updated on GMT

How to attract customers to your pub garden

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Fiona McLelland warms to the idea of enjoying a drink and a meal in a pub garden in the coming months and investigates how your pub’s outside area could do more to attract customers.

With the weather beginning to turn, it is time to spruce up your outdoor furniture — or maybe, if it has seen better days, it is time to splash out on something new.

With the right choices, your investment can increase the capacity of your business.

“An attractive outside space expands the available area for drinking and eating, and can become a profitable part of the pub,” says Pete Bennett from LeisureBench.

It can also draw in more customers for the pub as a whole, according to Robert Perry from Warner Contracts. “Your outdoor area can give passers-by a taste of what your pub offers,” he says, “creating an impression of what it’s like inside.”

Here, we look at some of the best ranges of furniture for different types of pub, and give a few tips on getting the most from your out-
side space.

Design and maintenance

We’ve may not have heard of any Met Office predictions of a ‘barbecue summer’ just yet, but the first sign of sunshine will draw people to a pub with a good outside seating area. 

Your outdoor furniture, therefore, needs to look inviting, match the style of your pub and its surroundings, and be sturdy and hard-wearing, says David Dean of NBB Recycled Furniture. He states: “It needs to stand the test of time.”

Opt for furniture made from 100% recycled plastic, is his tip. “It’s robust, durable and dense, and lasts up to five times longer than timber,” he says. “The initial financial outlay may be slightly higher but it’s far more economical in the long run. The furniture never needs treating, and hardly ever needs replacing.”

Another durable, easily maintained option is rattan, says Beverley Greaves at Smart Interiors (UK). “Rattan is a good option for all pub types,” she says. “It helps create a stylish, comfortable and inviting area, needs virtually no maintenance, and stands up to the British weather.”

Future considerations

Woodberry’s Howard Barr highlights another key consideration.

“Choose a range you can easily add to in the future,” he advises. “If there’s a readily available selection of products that complements your choice of outdoor furniture, you can save your-
self time when looking to increase your covers at a later date.”

Robert Perry also suggests opting for multiple heights, such as coffee, dining and poseur tables, with stools and chairs to match.

“It allows you to use the same range of furniture in different sections of your outdoor area, without losing continuity of style,” he says.

“Alternatively, choose furniture with a generic style, so you can mix and match if you need to expand in the future.”

Industry top tips

Robert Perry, Warner Contracts

“Think about security when buying: can the furniture be easily secured at the end of each night?”

Howard Barr, Woodberry

“Choose something substantial. You want to have peace of mind that it won’t break and create a safety hazard.”

Pete Bennett, LeisureBench

“Think about what the furniture is for: if it’s an eating area, you might want separate tables and chairs with armrests. For less formal use, our range of picnic tables and benches are ideal.”

Beverley Greaves, Smart Interiors (UK)

“Get your whole outdoor drinking and dining area prepared for summer: do any trees, shrubs or plants need pruning or removing? Do you need to add any shaded dining areas?”

David Dean, NBB Recycled Furniture

“Choose a range that’s easy to clean and virtually maintenance free: if it’s always available for use, it can continually add value to your business.”

Some of the best products

Since launching in 2015, Miller is rapidly becoming one of Warner Contracts’​ best-selling outdoor furniture ranges. Its black, powder-coated steel and chunky Robinia wood tops give it a contemporary look for a modern pub or bar. It’s also durable, and designed to stand up to all weathers. The range includes poseur and dining tables, benches and stools.

Woodberry’s Circular​ range of picnic benches is a staple for family pubs: the 12-seater creates space for larger parties; the six-seater is good for families with pushchairs. The range also includes an eight and four-seater and a four-legged Turret table. For town pubs with a small outside space, there is the Bourton two-seater — it is narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway.

LeisureBench’​s relaxed Oasis Rattan collection can be used indoors or out. As well as being virtually maintenance-free, the durable range is designed for commercial use. The design incorporates up-to-the-minute styling in this season’s shades of grey. Tolix-style chairs can also be used to add a splash of colour.

Smart Interiors (UK)​ has been expanding its rattan outdoor furniture range. The low-maintenance sets are designed for all types of venue, inside or out. Made from mould-resistant, waterproof rattan on an aluminium rust-free frame, the furniture can be left outside and simply washed down.

For hard-wearing outdoor furniture that looks new for years, NBB Recycled Furniture​ recommends 100% recycled plastic. This robust, hard-wearing material requires no treatment, and lasts up to five times longer than timber. NBB’s best-selling range of picnic tables comes in various shapes and sizes, including standard, round and octagonal varieties.

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