It’s been a long and difficult journey to get to this one-way-out-of-lockdown coronavirus roadmap. The government has allowed in its second step – from 12 April 2021 – non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality venues to reopen. That includes hairdressers, clothes shops, restaurants and bars (with outside seating) can finally throw open their doors and welcome us back.
From 17 May, indoor hospitality venues are allowed to reopen – as well as indoor entertainment and visitor attractions – but indoor hospitality premises will still require table service, and of course, social distancing.
So, what can hospitality businesses do to help make this a smoother transition? Let’s begin with the outdoors.
Outdoor hospitality ideas
Many cafes, restaurants and bars are renovating their outdoor spaces and extending them to invite customers back, and they’re opting for gazebos, marquees and shelters. As advised by the government, you need to make sure that your shelters that have roofs have at minimum, 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use – which will help keep them safer.
Not only is appropriate shelter good for your overall aesthetic – being in Britain, we know how up and down the weather can be! And when you can only accommodate customers outdoors to begin with, shelters are a fantastic idea. You can really make them your own too, by adding unique lighting, hanging decorations and heaters for cooler temperatures
Outdoor plants and greenery
Now is the perfect time to spruce up your outdoor areas, after all they are outdoors! Whether you use real or faux plants, the visibility of greenery can work wonders on our wellbeing and can give a more welcoming and attractive setting for customers. If you’re lucky enough to have natural green space, grass and shrubbery, then it will be good for you to tidy things up, and even add colourful flowers and big standout plants. You can even add lighting around trees to brighten up the evening.
New or refurbished tables
Nobody wants to sit at a table to find them dirty, unkempt, splintered or unsightly – especially when they’ll be sitting there a while and eating or drinking. If your tables are looking a bit tired, a simple paint job can do the trick of making them look practically brand new, and don’t be afraid to be creative or put your mark on them, literally. If they have seen better days though, then it will be worthwhile investing in new dining sets. Aim to make a fantastic impression and your customers will be coming back for more and telling their friends and family.
With more focus on your outdoor areas, it’s a great time to look at how decking can refresh your venue. Many restaurants and bars have amazing decking and outdoor features that keep their regulars coming back time and again. People love settings just as much as delicious food and fancy cocktails, especially when the weather gets warmer. You can use ropes and quirky signs between posts to create a cool vibe, add lighting chains across for romantic evenings, and use hanging baskets for floral arrangements. Give your customers a lovely setting and experience, as many may not have the best settings at home.
Outdoor design themes
Why not adopt a new theme and shake things up a bit? You’re competing with so many outdoor settings now, so why not put more effort into your USP; a simple theme can go a long way into attracting returning customers. Here are some ideas:
- Nautical – you can’t go wrong with the nautical theme as they work so perfectly with outdoor decor and decking, why not take your customers on a ‘cruise’
- Jungle – maybe you can be the place to create a breathtaking jungle environment. Think exotic plants and animal decor
- Botanical – create wonder and a botanical garden that can wow your visitors. Let them marvel your beautiful, unique plants with cute signs
- International – why not take your customers abroad? You could even change up the country/theme every month to bring them back. One month could be the Caribbean, the next could be France!
Indoor hospitality ideas
Space and open-plan layouts
When it comes to the indoors, space is paramount, as it’s crucial for social distancing. You should be in total control of who you let in and know your venue’s capacity, that’s why advanced booking is the way to go. You also want to avoid queues and people congregating. Table service is also still required indoors to keep people from mixing. You can continue with outdoor seating, and if you have good shelter outside, then come rain or shine, you’ll still be able to provide better space. Open-plan layouts will undoubtedly help with social distancing, you just need to think about floor stamps, markings, barriers and spaced out tables and seating. Signage is also important to direct your customers and to remind them of the rules.
Advanced booking is the best way to make your hospitality venues safer, but not every venue is doing this, as some have said they think it may be unfair if some parties don’t turn up and will be counting footfall at the door. If you have the ability, you could have technology systems that show red when capacity is full and green if people can come inside, or hire somebody at the door to monitor. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you have appropriate measures in place, like a controlled queuing system. If you have enough room, you could install comfy seating in a waiting area to break up congestion. You want to make your diners feel as comfortable as possible, so make sure your seating is relaxing and comfortable too.
Luckily the reopening of hospitality venues coincides with spring and summer, which is great news because ventilation is key to helping keep premises COVID-secure. It’s seriously advised to keep windows and doors open wherever possible for better air circulation, especially with a gathering of people indoors. So invest in better windows and make sure they are all in working order and can open wide. You could even have a patio door, and with outdoor dining being encouraged, it’s certainly common sense to keep doors open that lead to outdoor seating – when temperatures and weather aren’t too tumultuous.
Hospitality office refurbishment
To excite your customers and staff, you should renovate your indoor decor – both in the dining areas and the back offices. There’s a whole range of quirky and stylish features you can fit out your office, waiting areas and receptions with. From hanging cocoon-like seats to amazing mirror art, there’s nothing better than wowing your customers and staff – improving motivation, morale and customer satisfaction.
If you’re looking for an exciting office refurbishment or a brand new fit out, let us at Diamond Interiors support you – we are there from the starting conversation right through to post-project support. Get in touch with us today to see what companies we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years.