The Great Beer Garden Make Over!

beer garden, run a pub
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Fri, 23/06/2017 - 10:00

During the last few months our licensees have been out in their pub gardens getting them in shape for the summer trade.

While lots of pubs have a traditional beer garden with seating, a play area and covered areas for smokers, many licensees are reinventing the pub garden by really giving it the wow factor! We’re seeing a trend towards outdoor bars so that customers don’t need to go inside to get served; food service and menus designed to cater for customers using the garden with many pubs adding an outside kitchen; and innovative seating areas and design features, such as shelters, that offer a unique customer experience - not just protection from the sun or rain.

During the warmer months many customers are on the look out for the ultimate beer garden. Some customers will even change their alliance to another pub if it offers them a more attractive ‘al fresco’ experience! Families, that might not visit a pub in the winter months, are out and about looking for pubs that provide enough outdoor space for children, good food, and a comfortable place to sit. And many people are after an ‘Instagram-worthy’ pub garden experience. From the summer food and drinks offering, to the garden design, lighting and ambience - is your beer garden worth sharing on social media?!

There’s still time to get your pub garden in shape and give customers a great reason to visit your pub this summer. Here are our top tips for preparing your pub garden for the season ahead:

7 Tips For Giving Your Beer Garden A Make Over

1. Tidy Up and Spruce Up

Whatever your plans for your pub garden this summer, everyone needs to get the basics right. That means clearing dead leaves and rubbish, weeding flowerbeds and planters, cutting grass, pruning shrubs, jet washing patio areas and decking, and repairing or replacing any outdoor fixtures and fittings. Give any painted surfaces a lick of new paint too, giving them a quick face lift.

2. Update Outdoor Furniture

As well as checking the general state of repair of your tables, chairs, benches and another seating, updating your outdoor furniture is a relatively easy way of transforming your pub garden. If you don’t want to change the layout and hard landscaping, new furniture instantly looks fresh and modern.

3. Planters And Hanging Baskets

Another quick fix is to introduce some large planters and hanging baskets, planted up with flowering plants or foliage. You’ll need to make sure regular watering is on the rota of jobs to ensure they look great throughout the season.

4. Plan Your Food Service For The Garden

The additional trading space of a beer garden is great for increasing the number of covers you do during the summer, but you do need to ensure food service works effectively. If there isn’t easy access from the kitchen to the garden it can be difficult to manage. Many pubs are adding an outside kitchen and bar to cater for their customers, or designing a beer garden menu of quick, easy meals ideal for serving outside.

5. Coping With The British Weather

While we all hope for warm, sunny weather we also have to have a contingency plan. Adding some covered, even heated, areas will weather proof your pub garden. We love these huts at The Rose & Crown, Egham and The Black Boy, Shinfield.

6. Looking After Younger Customers

For many customers the warmer weather is an opportunity to go out as a whole family and take children out for meal. An outdoor play area that allows parents to enjoy a drink while watching their children play is ideal: keeping everyone happy.

7. Lighting And Ambience

Lighting is essential if you want customers to use your garden after dark. It is also important to deter antisocial behaviour and keep your customers safe. However, no one will appreciate floodlights! Instead lighting should be used to provide enough illumination so that customers can see each other, eat and drink without needing a torch, and navigate around the garden. It can also be used to create ambience and a great customer experience.

Strings of bulbs or outdoor fairy lights can be used to create a really magical beer garden after dark. Low level lighting on steps and paths will guide customers safely around your pub garden, and strategic lighting in and around key areas such as the outdoor bar and food serving areas, will ensure your staff can do their jobs properly and customers can order and pay for drinks and food easily.

We’ve got our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind to us this year and give all our pub landlords a great summer.