A well-run terrace can make a major contribution to the profits of a cafe or hotel. Shorter daylight hours and falling temperatures are no reason to panic. With care and thought it’s perfectly possible to extend the terrace season. Put in the effort and you’ll see your terrace performing well right through the winter.
And the smokers will be grateful for a cosy spot where smoking is still allowed. Around one in four people around the world are daily smokers(1). If you can bring them to your business because there’s an inviting terrace where they can light up, that’s an interesting target group right there. A few practical moves and you’ll have them flocking in.
The terrace is the showpiece for many catering establishments. So you need to devote as much attention to the outdoor layout and furnishings as you do to the interior. With comfortable, weatherproof terrace furniture, wind shields, professional parasols, terrace heaters and an open fire you can offer guests a welcoming experience right through the year. This isn’t just pleasant for guests already sitting out on the terrace, it also draws in the passing trade.
Nobody wants to sit in the cold, so warmth and comfort are critical. Soft (possibly heated) cushions, comfy fleece blankets and terrace heating are the way forward. It’s easy to install heating equipment under a parasol, radiating cheerful warmth.
Cosier still is an open fire on the terrace, using a fire pit, an open hearth or an outdoor kitchen. As well as heating the terrace the fire will also attract passers-by. Offer customers hot chocolate with pancakes and set out candles on the tables for atmosphere.
Of course it’s important for your customers to stay dry. Nothing spoils a convivial evening on the terrace like a sudden soaking in a rainstorm. Symo parasols are waterproof and capable of protecting your guests against anything the weather can throw at them. Install guttering between the parasols and the whole terrace can stay dry. Built-in lighting brings a cosy atmosphere so guests will linger long into the evening.
Of course you need to take proper account of safety with your terrace heating and open fires. It will be wise to check with your Local Authority to see if a special permit is required and whether there are different regulations for summer and winter terraces. You also need to choose between gas and electricity. Electrical radiant heaters may be the best bet for the smaller terrace.
An attractive winter menu is a must: hot drinks and comforting food like soups and stews. Snacks are as popular out on the terrace as they are anywhere. Find out what is currently popular with customers. Hot dogs, gourmet or otherwise, are very much the flavour of the moment for example.
A handy checklist
Here at Symo Parasols we’ve drawn up a handy checklist with 19 tips for a successful winter terrace or smoking area. This will serve as a guide as you think about all the different factors that go to make up the ideal winter terrace. Download the checklist here.