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In this article we provide advice for landlords on creating the perfect pub garden which customers will love, and will keep your pub busy throughout the summer season.

This long winter of grey skies, gales and floods will eventually come to an end. Spring and summer will arrive, and with the warmer weather, thoughts will turn to the outdoors. There are few better ways to while away a warm afternoon or evening than in a pub garden or terrace, and more and more pubs are making better use of their outdoor spaces. What was once a patch of scrubby grass with a couple of wooden benches and a pile of old beer barrels stacked up in the corner has in many cases become a proper garden: comfortable, stylish and attractive. The best pub gardens will boost a pub’s revenue by attracting drinkers, groups and families – and ensuring that they stay for longer and spend more.

So what are the secrets of a good pub garden? Whether you are creating one from scratch, or improving an existing area, your space needs to look loved and cared for. Like any garden, a pub garden will benefit from good planting and pruning and maintenance. If you or your staff lack the time and expertise, you might want to hire in a gardening or landscaping company to do it for you. A good gardener will advise on what to plant, and where.

How green is your pub garden?

Paving or decking will smarten up a garden; be sure to keep these areas clean by power-washing or scrubbing them periodically. Grassy areas should be kept tidy and lawns cut regularly. Planters or tubs with greenery and flowering plants will bring colour and freshness. Small trees and shrubs, either planted out in the garden or in containers, will bring shade and greenery. These will need to be pruned regularly. Evergreen species such as olives give year-round greenery, while acers add spectacular colour in autumn. Pub-themed plants such as vines and hops will add colour and interest; hops grow vertically, so they will need a trellis or twine to grow up.

Herbal remedies - create unique drinks with herbs grown in your pub garden

Gin is an increasingly popular drink, with many new botanical varieties coming on to the market, and they go well with herb garnishes: these add colour, flavour and fragrance to a drink. So you could devote a corner of your garden, or some containers, to a “gin garden”: herbs such as mint, basil, rosemary and thyme are easy to grow in a sunny spot. Pimm’s, too, is improved with the addition of a sprig of mint or borage, both of which are easy to grow.

A family enjoying a pub garden

Create pub garden "zones"

A large pub garden can be improved through “zoning”, creating different areas for drinking, eating, or for different customer types, with different kinds of furniture: low sofas for the more relaxed areas, poseur chairs and tables for younger, cooler customers. Pergolas can help to delineate the different zones, while also adding visual interest. Vines or climbing plants can be grown on them to create dappled shade.  Small trees or shrubs in containers can also help to mark out the different zones. Decorative bunting adds a festive atmosphere.

A bar that’s not far - the benefits of an extra pub garden bar

One of the drawbacks of a pub garden is that customers need to traipse back into the pub for each round of drinks – which then have to be carried back out to the table on a perilous journey. Many pubs are now installing an extra bar in the garden area; it won’t have quite the range of drinks as the indoor bar, but it will have the basics: draught beers and cider, wines, spirits and mixers. An outdoor bar could also offer jugs of beer and Pimm’s on tap, or special summer cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Remember that white wine can go warm quite quickly, so bottles of white wine and fizz should come with a wine cooler and ice. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the craze for prosecco seems to be cooling; drinkers are turning to alternatives such as French crémant.

Food, too, can be prepared and served outside: pizza ovens and barbecues are popular. Pagers or mobile phones can be used to alert customers when their food is ready. Outside caterers can be brought in to provide food; if you have space, a van serving “street food” will bring in customers and create a buzz. In the evening, firepits bring warmth and light, creating a festive atmosphere.

Lights that are right for the night-time - how to light your pub garden

On the subject of light: this is vitally important. Outdoor areas need to be well lit, not least for safety and security reasons - but not flooded with light. Softness is the key. Strings of bulbs or fairy lights will create a magical atmosphere, while low-level lights will ensure that walkways and steps are well lit.

Beyond the bench - pub garden furniture ideas

And then there is furniture. The basic wooden pub bench is a reliable stalwart of the pub garden, being stable and weatherproof, but today’s outdoor furniture is smarter and more comfortable, as well as durable and tough. Trent Furniture’s Plaza chairs and tables are made from synthetic rattan (the tables have a hardened glass top) and are stackable.

Plaza chair for use as pub garden furniture

A contemporary café-style garden will be improved with a chair such as Trent Furniture’s Monaco wood-effect stacking chair. The British public have become less tolerant of discomfort: they want to be just as comfortable in a pub as they are at home, so they will want solid, sturdy, comfortable chairs, with cushions or seat pads, or outdoor sofas with low tables. Parasols and umbrellas will provide shelter from sun and rain, as well as adding colour to an outdoor area.

Let us play - the benefits of a quality children's play area

There was a time when a children’s play area in a pub would consist of an old plastic slide plonked in an area of bark chips or on the grass. Now it’s not unusual for pubs to spend tens of thousands of pounds on a bespoke themed children’s play area: pubs on the coast often come equipped with a wooden “ship” for children to play in and on. Specialist companies will design and install a play area, though the outlay can be considerable and it can take a long time to recoup the investment. But it’s worthwhile creating an area that engages children beyond just sliding and swinging: a hut, say, or a jungle gym. Outdoor table-tennis tables or table football will also keep kids amused. Giant “connect 4” games, giant chess and croquet are likewise fun and engaging, and might even get the adults playing. Bear in mind that minor accidents happen occasionally, so keep a fully equipped first aid kit on the premises, and ensure that at least one member of staff has first aid training.

Urban gardens

Gardens are also found in unlikely locations; one such is the 10th floor Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room (pictured below), a cocktail bar and restaurant in central London where the rooms are festooned with greenery, and herbs growing in the cocktail bar can be plucked and added to drinks.

A barman serving drinks at the bar of the Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room

Finally, a pub garden or terrace doesn’t have to be just for the warmer months. Outdoor areas are often used throughout the year, with heaters and blankets offering protection from the cold. Investing time and money in your pub garden could yield not just a warm weather bonus, but year-round dividends.

 

Trent Furniture can provide your pub garden with top quality furniture for a superb price. View our range of outdoor pub furniture for pub gardens and contact us today.

The smooth, curved lines of bentwood chairs are synonymous with timelessly chic European cafe style. And although we take this style of furniture for granted today, when it first appeared on the scene in the late 19th century, it was a truly revolutionary design development and marked an exciting departure from the heavy straight lines of the past.

Who invented bentwood chairs?

All bentwood furniture, including Trent Furniture's extensive range, derives from the first bentwood chair made by German-Austrian cabinet maker Michael Thonet in the 1850s in Vienna. The first of its kind was named the Model 14 and soon became known as the 'chair of chairs'. This gamechanger in the world of furniture design received a gold medal at the 1867 World Fair in Paris.

Thonet died just a few years later in 1871 but his unique innovation survives to this day. Thonet-inspired Bentwood chair suppliers continue to use the technique to produce furniture in this classic style. Bentwood furniture for sale in the 21st century brings to mind that golden age of the late 1800s and still rivals many modern techniques for durability.

How are bentwood chairs made?

Part of the genius of bentwood chairs is the way they are made, with no need for any extra materials apart from steam. Thonet's in-depth experimentation allowed him to perfect the technique of using steam to soften the wood, bending it into the desired shape, and then leaving it to cool and dry back into a completely solid form.

The results are striking, even in the present day. A bentwood armchair offers gentle, sweeping curves that allow the seat, back and arms to be more ergonomically designed. This makes the chair as a whole not only aesthetically appealing, but also more comfortable for the natural shape of the human body.

What happened next?

Thonet's sons continued his legacy and bentwood furniture factories popped up throughout Europe. Slatback side chairs are a further example of the technique, combining the bentwood steam method with a straight or curved slatted back rest.

By offering excellent economy of materials used, particularly by avoiding the need to cut curved shapes of wood out of larger, rectangular timber, the bentwood method is perennially popular throughout bars, restaurants, cafes and bistros. Not only that, it offers good environmental credentials for the modern world.

Why are bentwood chairs used in bars?

Bentwood chairs make popular bar furniture for all of the reasons already mentioned. They look good and have a traditional appearance that suits a lot of bars and pubs. They are comfortable to sit in, encouraging patrons to remain on your premises for longer. And because they are manufactured by bending wood rather than joining it, there are fewer joints that might require maintenance in the future.

A slatback bentwood side chair coordinates well with upholstered seating, and many bentwood chairs feature a padded and upholstered seat or a slightly hollowed, ergonomically designed wooden seat, again giving customers a comfortable place to sit.

Finally, their primarily timber construction means bentwood chairs match well with other wooden bar furniture, such as our Wellington Table or cast-iron framed Rectangular Bistro Table.

Need quality bentwood chairs?

If you need quality bentwood chairs for a great price, view the Trent Furniture bentwood chairs range now. And if you have any questions or need further information about our furniture, contact us using the link below, we'd be happy to help you.

We all know that Instagram means big business for restaurants, so here’s the basics on which restaurants qualify as Instagrammable.

What does Instagrammable mean?

If you’re wondering how to get your business to stand out on social media or if you want your restaurant to keep up with the trends – in the 21st century your restaurant needs to be Instagrammable. But what does Instagrammable mean?

Instagrammable means a photo or picture which is worth posting on the social media platform, Instagram. Therefore, if you want your restaurant to be Instagrammable and receive lots of attention online, then it’s the interior (and sometimes exterior) design of your restaurant which needs to be an outstanding visual experience.

Make your restaurant a visual experience

A couple of years ago, it was all about the food. A great restaurant could attract attention with how tasty the food looked or the presentation of the food on the plate. However, this has changed. Now more than ever, a restaurant is chosen by customers depending on what the design of the restaurant itself looks like, rather than just the choice or quality of food.

This idea is backed up by the data. Research has revealed that 30% of people between 18-35 would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak. People now actively choose restaurants depending on how visually appealing the décor of the restaurant is, and you can see why.

With the growth of influencers and bloggers, many more people post pretty pictures online for a living, so it’s their job to find the most stunning restaurants out there, and post them to satisfy existing and gain new followers. The benefit of this system for your restaurant is that these people sometimes have millions of followers which could do wonders for the profits of your restaurant as people flock in.

How to make your restaurant Instagrammable

 

1. Give your restaurant a theme

Before anything else, you can’t have an Instagrammable restaurant without a certain aesthetic. Crafting your restaurant to a theme, will make your restaurant stand out and it’ll be easier to gain attention. For example, Kym’s Restaurant in London has a faux cherry blossom in the middle of it, which compliments its Hong Kong-style dishes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kym’s (@kymsrestaurant) on

Fortnum & Mason at the Royal Exchange has been described as the definition of the word Instagrammable.  Its sleek design paired with the grand buildings surrounding the bar and seating area, screams opulence and makes for a fabulous photo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Royal Exchange (@theroyalexchange) on

Another themed restaurant which is certifiably Instagrammable is Brasserie of Light in Marylebone. Their theme is mirrors, as hinted in the name. The restaurant has many mirrors on their walls, making light bounce around the restaurant. It also has an enormous crystal Pegasus designed by Damien Hurst high up on one of its walls. Incredible.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ioanna Kodjapashi (@ioannakodjapashi) on

These themes really draw people in through the doors, however furniture is an essential part to any Instagrammable restaurant.

2. Choose the right restaurant furniture

The perfect furniture will make a restaurant truly Instagrammable. The chairs and tables are key, as that’s what takes up the majority of insta-worthy photos. Making sure your chairs and tables compliment the theme of your restaurant is key.

Leather chairs are especially sleek and add that modern touch to any restaurant. However every restaurant owner needs to find the right furniture for them, so having a look at everything on offer really allows you to find the right furniture for your restaurant.

Don’t let the furniture in your restaurant ruin its ability to shine online. Whatever design you decide for your restaurant, we cater to every style and taste. We have a wide variety of restaurant furniture ready to spruce up your business.

Our products are of high quality and are at an affordable price. All our furniture is designed for contract use and with UK fire resistant upholstery. To find out more about our ranges, get in touch today to speak to a member of our expert team.

 

Running a successful pub is both a science and an art. On the one hand, there's the admin associated with running any business - hiring employees, balancing the books and so on. On the other hand, the real secret of how to make a pub busy and successful lies in the atmosphere you create and customers' desire to stay for longer and come back sooner.

There are all kinds of different ways to achieve this, ranging from modern bar furniture to rustic pub furniture that gives your premises a traditional and homely feel. Of course it's not just about the decor, but your pub furniture creates the fabric of your venue, which you can then use to deliver services ranging from a good range of drinks, to home-cooked food, to entertainment like pub quizzes, jukeboxes and pool tables.

Pros and cons of running a pub

The pros and cons of running a pub can depend partly on how much freedom you have. If you're a bar manager for a large chain, you might not be able to make decisions that affect your business as freely as you'd like, but there are still ways to stamp your own personality on the way you interact with customers.

Friends meeting for a night out in a busy and popular pub

If you have much more management freedom, then you can really make the venue your own with your choice of pub furniture and decor, the types of entertainment you provide, and the selection of food and drinks on offer. Don't be afraid to try new things - you never know when you'll discover an untapped niche in the local market.

How to make a pub busy with benches

An often overlooked aspect of furnishing a public house is making sure you have enough pub and bar benches. Think of a traditional pub and they usually have bench seating running the whole way around the interior, providing a huge amount of extremely space-efficient seating for groups of different sizes.

Freestanding pub and bar benches create similarly space-saving seating but don't tie you down to having seating physically built on to the walls, so if you prefer to retain the ability to reconfigure your interiors for events or just to keep things looking fresh, they're a great option. A bench seat or sofa can also create a cosy extra seating area in a previously unused nook.

Cater for individuals

Groups might spend the most collectively but be aware if a large proportion of your clientele tends to visit your premises alone. Sitting alone at a large table surrounded by empty chairs can be quite daunting, but equally sitting alone at a table for one can feel very exposed as well.

Smaller tables with two or three chairs can be the Goldilocks option for lone customers while still catering for couples and small groups, and again consider benches and sofas as individuals can sit on these without feeling like there are empty seats all around them. For more ideas about how to maximise revenue from the space you have available, or to place an order, contact Trent Furniture on 0116 4736 834 or sales@pubfurnitureuk.co.uk.

A crowded bar in a busy pub

Valentine’s Day is the most booked day of the year for restaurants, according to research from the British Hospitality Association, so making the most of it can provide a huge boost for any restaurant. We’ve put together some ideas for promoting your restaurant and creating a romantic experience to remember.

Tweak your restaurant menu for Valentine’s Day

Creating a special Valentine's menu can entice people searching for a special place to choose you. Not only does it allow you to have a specially curated menu of top dishes on what is one of the busiest nights of the year, it lets people know your establishment is doing something special for the event. You can also use your menu as marketing collateral, sharing on your website and through social media to encourage bookings before the big day.

Take bookings to boost exclusivity

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, restaurants tend to get booked up in advance so even if you don’t usually take bookings, it can be reassuring for potential customers to know that their romantic meal is secured. It will also give you an idea of numbers and how you may want to arrange your restaurant furniture to cater for these guests. According to the BHA, the key time that a guest is likely to reserve a table for Valentine’s Day is 15-30 days ahead, so giving the option to book this early will help you secure these forward-thinking diners.

Create a romantic atmosphere

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, the atmosphere should be warm, inviting and of course romantic! Soft lighting and gentle music can set a great tone from the moment a couple walks in. Décor also plays a big part in creating the right ambience. Valentine's Day decoration ideas for restaurants could include adding tablecloths, flowers and candles, but the important thing is not to overdo it. Couples will want to be able to see and speak to each other across a table so keeping things simple is key – think a single candle or red rose in a vase rather than a full bouquet!

Move your restaurant furniture to maximise tables for two

Valentine’s Day is all about couples, so arranging your seating to have plenty of tables for two will allow you to comfortably seat more guests and take more bookings. Rethinking and reshuffling your floor plan beforehand will also be a lot easier and less disruptive to the romantic atmosphere than doing it on the night. However, it’s important not to try and fit too many tables in even with the high demand, otherwise customers can feel crammed in and will struggle to hear one another. Read more about this in our guide to the best restaurant furniture layout for Valentine's Day.

Hire a live band or musician

Nothing says romance like beautiful music! If your restaurant has the space for it, hiring a band or musician adds a huge boost to the atmosphere and offers something a little more special. You can also advertise that you will be featuring live music on the night on your website, social media and in promotional materials in the restaurant itself.

Couple outside a restaurant on Valentine's Day

Offer takeout meal options

Dining out on Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone – some couples like to stay home and avoid the business – so what better opportunity to offer a takeout package option. A slightly more refined alternative to pizza or a supermarket meal deal, takeout meals give customers restaurant-quality food and allow you to serve more people even if you are fully booked. Pre-ordering can be important here and again this can be advertised weeks in advance.

Get your restaurant furniture just right for Valentine’s Day

Having comfortable and aesthetically pleasing furniture is an essential part of creating the perfect atmosphere all year round. Trent Furniture offers a wide range of options including chairs, tables and more in a range of wooden and leather finishes. View our full range of restaurant furniture here.            

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