Are you making the most of your garden in winter by using any of these methods?
Covered areas, eg, canopies, pods, etc21%
Entertainment, TVs, cinema screenings, etc7%
Outdoor food/drink offer0%
Combination of any of the above28%
Winter is coming and many pubs have lost a certain amount of covers and trading space as gardens become a no-go zone.
When spring approaches, licensees would be foolish to not start cleaning their outdoor spaces and ensuring benches and play areas look in peak condition for the arrival of customers.
But the trick is to keep the exterior of your site a viable option even when temperatures dip below 10°C.
Some pubs may have canopied areas, heaters or even pods so guests can remain warm when leaving the cosy insides of the site.
The Laine Pub Company-owned Four Thieves in Battersea, south London, is an exponent of covering its outside space so well with a canopy that many customers do not realise the space is actually outdoors.
Other sites may have alternative lures such as TVs for watching sport or outdoor bars – all with specific intentions – making sure people visit the on-trade, use the available space and keeping the tills ringing.
Great British Pub Awards’ Best Pub to Watch Sport category winner the Royal Dyche has two outside bars and, being a pub used by Burnley FC football fans, these outdoor beer points take pressure off the main bar and give customers more breathing space.
Another potential tease some sites may employ is the use of food vans. What could be smarter than getting people to fill up your garden while paying out for grub with all the takings going to you?
However, if making your life easier or potentially bringing catering to more than one site, it may work out a bit better to bring in a third party to cater outdoors on your behalf.
The Three Hills in Bartlow, Cambridgeshire, has the USP of screening films outdoors during the warmer months but, with the relevant licences secured, there’s no reason why this couldn’t become an autumn or winter event at any pub.