MAXIMISE YOUR OUTDOOR DINING SPACE THIS AUTUMN How canopies can help you meet the growing appetite for al fresco dining – all year round

With the popularity of outdoor dining on the rise, creating an al fresco experience is fast becoming a priority within the hospitality industry.

Jason Eastwood, Managing Director of Canopies UK, the country’s leading designer, manufacturer and installer of high quality canopies, discusses how canopies can instantly create attractive al fresco hot spots, plus some of the key factors to consider when investing in a canopy system.

How many times have your customers wanted to eat outside, but couldn’t because of the weather? And how many times have you wished you could use your outdoor space more than just a couple of months in the year?

Canopies are an extremely effective solution to overcoming these challenges

They enable you to create additional outdoor space, maximise existing views and covers and meet the growing demand for café culture, all year round days of the year.

Not only are they available in fully retractable models that make it possible for pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels to make the most of the finer weather, they can also feature roof and wall screens that work independently of each other. This feature is particularly beneficial for establishments looking to create the right type of ambience and privacy for their customers, whatever the circumstances or what the great British weather brings, particularly as the nights are starting to draw in now.

Take our Cantabria canopy system, for instance, controlled by a single handheld remote or smart device, the roof retracts at the touch of a button, while the glass screens enable you to transform an open space into an incredibly stylish, fully enclosed unit quickly and easily, which is essential for when you’re at your busiest.

As tempting as it might be to select a canopy purely based on the aesthetics, taking the time to consider the whole package will help guarantee the best possible results.

For example, will the canopy provide adequate weatherproof protection? As obvious as it sounds, you want to ensure your system shelters your customers in all seasons and all types of weather, not just certain months of the year.

The Cantabria provides protection from the elements come wind, rain or shine. The durable aluminium frame, integrated guttering, waterproof roof and glass screens combine to make a UV protected environment. A closed unit provides 100 per cent protection in wind speeds of up to 60km/h. And during the warmer months, the glass sides can be retracted, while in wetter and more changeable weather they can be partially or fully closed.

While you’re thinking about the design, it’s also incredibly important to focus on the finer details. Are there different window and door options to choose from? Can you select the colour of the roof and frame? Is electric heating and LED lighting available, as standard? Factors like these will ensure your canopy enhances your existing decor and design, boosting its overall appeal to your guests in the process.

However, while your new canopy system might look incredibly attractive, it’s an investment, and one that you want to see the benefits of sooner, rather than later.

With the Cantabria, you can see a significant return on your investment in just a matter of weeks – it can create up to 184 additional weekly covers* and an additional weekly revenue of more than £7,000.**

Last but not least, there are the practicalities to consider. How will the canopy sit within the existing building? How will it impact the wider outdoor space? Will it still be possible to provide disabled access? Working with a canopy specialist who carries out a full site audit will give you peace of mind that you aren’t just purchasing a canopy that looks the part, but is suitable for your establishment.

With the right research and approach, canopies can start adding value from the moment they’re installed, transform the smallest spaces into trendy al fresco dining destinations and deliver a clear and efficient return on your investment.

For more information visit www.canopiesuk.co.uk/hospitality or call 01254 777 002.

* Based on Friday and Saturday, 2 sittings per day.

**Based on £40 per cover = £7,360.

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