The Beer Garden is so yesterday. 2019 is the year of the Dining Garden.
Commercial Alfresco Kitchens.
Expanding your commercial food offering into your garden or patio, is rising in popularity. This is nothing new, but restaurant and pub owners are waking up to the delights of their location, their gardens and open spaces beyond the dining room. 2019 is shaping up to be an outdoor dining revolution year with clever use of outside space been used more profitably.
Perhaps your pub is on the coast, by a river or you have a beautiful garden that mostly drinking customers enjoy. An outdoor restaurant adds a new dimension which broadens your offering and can be very lucrative. This isn’t putting on a random barbecue to celebrate the Queens birthday with bunting, this is offering a regular outdoor eating experience throughout the warm month season. Locals and Regulars receive something different which bolsters their desire to revisit, thus strengthening your local brand and reducing the chances of them wandering off to your competitors.
All Five Senses Stimulated
Present dining tables and chairs under simple and affordable sails, or other coverings which keep the weather at bay, yet still allowing guests to enjoy the view, scents and sounds they don’t get indoors. Imagine eating food in a rose garden or surrounded by heady Night Scented Stock which releases is powerful perfume at dusk. It’s a very different experience to those chemical air fresheners used indoors.
Capacities – Bums on seats = Increased profit = Evidence your proposition is on point.
Let’s say your indoor dining capacity is 60 and come the warmer months, this can expand substantially by taking your kitchen outside and providing seating and dining areas for guests to enjoy.
Having an outdoor kitchen also reduces the strain on an already busy main kitchen as often, if a kitchen built to service 60-80 diners, it can be hit with 140+ diners on busy summer weekends, thus taking its toll on quality & staff.
The key to making these areas successful is to template what is often found in the home, only ramped up bigger and fit for purpose – in other words, operating to Food Hygiene law, HACCP and Governance and using commercial fit for purpose appliances that will cope with the demand.
There are many companies supplying smart upmarket and Gucci domestic alfresco kitchens with barbecues, small wood fired pizza ovens, bottle chillers etc. These are eye watering expensive. Costco sell a domestic ensemble including a barbecue, 3 open burners, stainless cupboards and a bit of stainless work top for £2499.00. With a bit of imagination, it’s very simple to set up a commercial alfresco kitchen on a tight budget. For a little more than £2499.00 you could achieve a reconditioned char grill, griddle, sinks, fridges, freezers etc.
Like all commercial kitchens, your menu dictates what equipment is required. If pizzas feature heavily, perhaps a deck oven, either wood fired, gas or electric, is required. This also adds theatre to your outdoor areas. If grilled meats and fish, a char grill and/or griddle would be best. Underpinning all of these, having adequate tabling, sinks and fridge & freezer space is all you need to get going. Beyond that, its how you build the kitchen and how it services your outdoor dining areas.
A Modern Theme Change – out with the old and in with the new………
The traditional decades old ‘Beer Garden’ should become the Dining Garden. Optimising use and increasing revenue by giving your customers a lovely meal in a garden which is tended, interesting and makes use of the view, has to be a consideration and one that is certain to set you apart.
Imagine the smells of grilled meats and fish, buttery garlic, herbs and caramel permeating through your garden. Create quiet covered alcoves to give guests a private feel to their experience.
Have your outdoor kitchen in view of diners. Theatre kitchens are nothing to fear. Most open kitchens only have 40-50% on view anyway. You have to ensure chefs and waiting staff work disciplined and smartly! Stars could be born and how often are your chefs seen by your guests anyway. Excellent PR for your back of house staff and a stage for them to showcase their culinary skills.
What would this USP, ‘Unique Selling Proposition’, do for your food business?
- Set you apart from your local threats?
- Broaden the scope of your service?
- Significantly raise revenues?
- Bolster your reputation for innovation and food excellence?
I say all four.
If managed correctly, making use of your outdoor spaces for dining instead of drinking, increases spend per head, so it makes sense to take a proper commercial look at this.
At Caterquip, we are selling more and more reconditioned equipment to clients who are developing their outdoor client experience, right up to including gas combi ovens, fryers and a host of refrigeration enough for outdoor events and functions.
We supply single & 3 Phase electric and gas equipment. With a few exceptions, most gas appliances can be converted from natural mains gas to LPG and by buying professionally reconditioned second hand equipment, we can save you a fortune in purchase and set up costs.
An alfresco kitchen can start out small and evolve as the theme grows. The great thing about commercial catering equipment is its modular, meaning floor standing, easy to move round and add too.
Want to know more how Caterquip can assist your outdoor aspirations?
Call me on 01733 286000 – Option 1.