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Yes, we’re still in the midst of winter but a successful operator shouldn’t rest on their laurels. It won’t be long until the warmer weather is here and potential customers are looking for a sunny spot to eat and drink outside.

If you’ve never invested in outdoor seating or think that your current furniture set is looking slightly worse for wear, now is a great time to prepare and make the most of the approaching summer time.

When you come to look at outdoor furniture, wicker and aluminium are two of the most popular materials. In this post, we look at the benefits of each to help you decide between the two.

Wicker outdoor furniture

Wicker is the name of the weaving process that is used to mould the furniture and not the name of the material used to do so.

Wicker furniture can be made with materials like rattan and resin. At Trent Furniture, we use a strong woven synthetic wicker and also use rattan on some items.

Traditional wicker furniture (made of natural materials) tends to crack or unravel over time which is why we use synthetic materials that are long-lasting. The wicker around a chair’s structure creates a comfortable, basket-like seat and by using a synthetic wicker, you have a vast range of colours to choose from.

You might think that the synthetic wicker would fade in the sunlight, but our chairs are designed to be UV resistant as well as weather resistant. The material is virtually maintenance free and has revolutionised the outdoor furniture market.

Aluminium outdoor furniture

Seating in an aluminium finish is stylish and smart whilst still practical, offering a finish which is water resistant and suitable for outdoor use.

 As well as being resistant to rust and weather damage, aluminium pub furniture is really easy to clean, easy to handle and easy to store.

Because it’s metal, it’s essentially a sturdy material, and given the light weight of aluminium it can be moved easily. Aluminium chairs can be very resistant to extreme weather, and if your taste is urban or modernist, then aluminium furniture is perfect for you.

Which one is for you?

In truth, aluminium and wicker outdoor furniture are both excellent choices and provide resilient qualities for outdoor use. However, wicker tends to be more comfortable and is available in a range of colours while aluminium provides slightly more all-weather durability.

What you do get with both materials are easy maintenance, lightweight, and stylish. 

Sales, sales, sales. Are you sick and tired of them yet? Of course you’re not; sales are what January is for!

In truth, the Trent Furniture sale runs throughout the entire year. We often add new lines to the sale and launch special offers on a regular basis so it’s worth checking back frequently. But January is a good a time as any to have a flick through what’s currently available.

With the New Year a popular time for restaurants, bars, cafes and the like to consider a refurbishment, you can snap up some furniture at a cut price!

So, let’s take a look at some of the top picks from our sale:

Silver Rio Chair

If you are looking for cheap cafe chairs where a low price tag doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality then the Silver Rio Chair is a perfect choice. A contract quality, stylish chair with a loop design back and finished is elegant silver is full of character.

Be quick, there’s limited stock on this item. And with such a cheap price tag, we don’t expect them to be around for long!

Boston and Washington Chairs

As a special offer, we’ve decided to reduce the popular Boston and Washington Side Chairs to £39.90 each! The offer applies to both the dark oak and walnut finishes and if that isn’t enough, you can upholster them in whatever fabric you like from our A, B or C range.

The Boston and Washington Chairs are both extremely popular choices for restaurants and dining pubs so if you’re thinking your seating is looking dated or worn, this is a great time to take advantage of the lowest UK price.

Chester Stools

Both the round and cube Chester stools are currently available for the bargain price of £19.90, while stocks last. Both come in brown faux leather, offering a compact yet luxurious extra seating for customers without taking up valuable space in your pub, bar or café. 

Black and White American Diner Furniture

Customers love the retro atmosphere created with quirky furniture. Creating the authentic look of 50’s America has never been so easy and so affordable with our black and white American Diner range!

Our American Diner range of chairs, benches and stools is now available at a reduced price for a limited time.

January furniture sale items

Here are our January furniture sale items

You might think that a link, if any, between eating out and social media is a tenuous one. But a new Food for Thought study by Barclaycard has revealed the true extent that social media plays when people eat in restaurants.

How do customers use social media to decide where to eat?

Before customers decide where to eat out, most of us will have a quick Google search, browse reviews and compare a few menus.

The internet has made this an obligatory part of the dining experience.

Amongst the things that Brits use social media accounts for before eating out are reading restaurant reviews (23%), checking the appearance of dishes (21%), considering what they might order in advance (18%) and to see how well the food is presented (11%).

The importance of giving customers the opportunity to have a browse before they visit, is shown with 15% of Brits saying they’d rule out an establishment based on it not having an online menu or social media channels. This number rises to a third of 18 to 24-year-olds.

How do customers use social media when eating out?

Virtual presence is becoming ever more important, and the desire by the public (especially young adults) to update friends and family with what they’re getting up to – including eating out – shows no bounds.

After making the choice to come to your restaurant to eat, 41% of Brits post pictures of their meal on social media, with this most common with 25 to 34-year-olds (24% saying they do this often or every time they eat out). The reason behind uploading pictures and posts to their social accounts is to recommend restaurants to followers (42%) and 26% do it to show off their experience.

Interestingly, some Brits (18%) want to see restaurants help them to take the perfect shot of their food by having light filters installed onto their table tops. Perhaps this is something that Trent Furniture should look into!

Attracting customers through social

It’s no longer enough for restaurants to just have a social presence. Their content needs to be regular and high quality to attract the clientele that browse channels before deciding where to eat. Posting attractive, appetising pictures of their menu dishes is a sure-fire way to the hearts of customers.

Restaurants also need to allow and engage in social media use when customers are in the restaurant. Provide free WiFi, comment on customers’ posts and do social giveaways. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Well it has reached that festive time of year again and all of us at Trent Furniture will soon be taking a Christmas break. We will be closed from 5.00pm on Thursday 20th December 2018 until 9.00am Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

You will still be able to place orders via the website and deliveries will be scheduled for week commencing 7th January. When we return on the 2nd we will be contacting all customers who have placed an order online to advise of a delivery date as well as responding to all enquiries made through the website. If you have any questions please e-mail us at sales@pubfurnitureuk.co.uk or use the contact form in the ‘Contact Us’ section of the website. All e-mails and enquires will be responded to when we re-open on the 2nd January.

Thank you to all of our customers for your support this year, we hope to work with you again in the future and would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It makes a great Christmas present: a nicely packaged bottle of Scotch, maybe a single malt such as Glenfiddich or Laphroaig, or perhaps one of the more exotic whiskies from countries such as Japan, which often come in unusual and beautifully designed bottles. In pubs and bars across the country there will be a surge in whisky consumption during the festive season and at New Year, either neat, or in cocktails and hot toddies.  And looking further ahead, Burns Night on January 25 will see another spike in whisky consumption. This celebration of the poet Robert Burns is an increasingly popular “themed” event in pubs and bars, perking up takings for the pub trade during an otherwise quiet time of year.

Whisky Secrets

But what exactly is whisky? Is it the same thing as whiskey? What gives it its special qualities? And can other countries match Scotland for the quality of its Scotch?

The process of distilling liquids – heating them up and drawing off the condensed results – has been around for at least 2,000 years, to refine chemicals and make perfumes and medicines. But it is thought that medieval Arabs were the first to distil spirits from wine. This process spread to Italy and across Europe, where wine was distilled into “aqua vitae” (“water of life”) and brandy from around the 13th century onwards. By the 15th century, distilling had spread to Scotland and Ireland, where grains – mainly barley – were fermented and then distilled into what is known in Scots Gaelic as “uisge beatha” (“water of life”), which became shortened and anglicised as “whisky”.

These early whiskies were pretty crude and harsh; they would be barely recognisable as the drink we know today as whisky. Most early spirits were made by monks in monasteries and sold for “medicinal” purposes or used in religious ceremonies. When Henry VIII broke up the monasteries from 1536-41, monks in Scotland began to produce whisky privately. It was still variable in quality but distilling expertise grew and spread.

Outside the Law

A couple of centuries later, after the Act of Union between England and Scotland, a new “malt tax” was introduced which forced most of Scotland’s whisky distilleries to either shut down or go underground. As is always the way, when a new tax is introduced, people will find a way to avoid it. Illicit distilleries continued to operate, but they did so at night, when the smoke from their stills could not been so easily; hence the name of their product, “moonshine”.

Finally in 1823 a law was passed enabling the legal production of whisky, and the industry began to thrive, with regulations and laws to ensure that standards of quality were maintained. Today Scotch whisky is a major export earner for Scotland, with overseas sales reaching £4.36 billion in 2017, around 20 per cent of all UK exports of food and drink. Sales of the more specialist whiskies in particular are growing, with drinkers hankering after the unique qualities of particular regions or distilleries.

Elsewhere in the world, distilleries became well established in America, often set up by immigrants from Scotland and Ireland. (Whiskey, with an “e”, is used to describe whiskies made in Ireland and America.) Japanese whisky took off in the late 19th century with distilleries deliberately aiming to emulate the qualities of Scotch whisky, with increasing success – connoisseurs have come to prize Japanese whiskies such as Hakushu and Suntory; the best examples can sell for more than £100 a bottle. Whisky is also made in England, Wales Australia, Denmark and India.

Going With the Grain

So how, exactly, is whisky made? The process begins with a grain – in Scotch whisky, this is always barley - which is malted (germinated) and dried; sometimes other whole grains are then added. Sometimes burning peat is used to dry the barley, which gives the resulting whisky its distinctive smoky, peaty flavour – an increasingly popular option among whisky drinkers. The grain is fermented in a vat to create a “mash”, a kind of beer. This is heated in a still where the alcohol evaporates and condenses. The still will be made from, or lined with, copper, which chemically removes some of the unpleasant-tasting impurities in the liquid.

To begin with, at lower temperatures, the distilled alcohol is foul-tasting and dangerous stuff. This is drawn off and disposed of – though some of these by-products are now being turned into biofuels for cars. At higher temperatures, what is known as the “heart” is created: this is what will eventually become whisky. The final products, the “tails”, are often recycled for use in the next batch of whisky. The whisky that is kept is a colourless liquid.

To improve purity and enhance the alcohol content, Scotch whiskies are distilled at least twice, sometimes three times, and occasionally as many as 20 times. By law, Scotch whisky has to be kept in oak barrels to mature for at least three years – though many varieties, mainly the single malts, are kept for longer. Here the whisky takes on some of the qualities of the wood in which it is kept, as well as its colour. Some barrels are charred, which gives whisky flavour-notes such as florals and caramels. Sometimes old sherry casks are used, giving a darker colour and sweetish flavour to the whisky.

Singular Whiskies

“Single malt” means whisky from a single distillery made from malted barley. These are the finest whiskies, a cut above the blended whiskies that make up the bulk of whisky sales; some have been aged 10 years or more. (Once a whisky has been bottled, it does not improve with age.) These single malts are treasured for their unique qualities, with different regions and distilleries making whiskies that are light, dark, peaty, smoky, and so on.

Many distilleries make great play of the way their locality contributes to the whisky: the barley, the soil, the water, and so on. In fact, most of the flavours in a whisky come not from these factors, but from the method used to make the whisky – dried or smoked barley, for instance – as well as the yeasts used, and from the type of wood used in the barrels. Water, too, has been shown to influence the flavours of the finished product. The barley used to make whisky does not always come from Scotland: increasing demand has led some distilleries to import their barley from, whisper it, England.

Whisky Gets Cool

With so many whiskies now available, there has been a boom in the number of whisky bars across the UK. Drinkers are becoming more interested in the provenance of their drinks and their ingredients – hence the rise of premium gins and vodkas. Whisky is shaking off its stuffy old image and becoming similarly cool.

One of the coolest whisky bars is Black Rock in trendy Shoreditch, east London, a compact space where the central table is perhaps unique among bar tables: it is hewn from a single section of an oak tree; the table has two glass-topped canals containing the bar’s own blends of whisky, which can be poured directly from taps in the end of the trunk. On surrounding shelves are bottles of whisky in 250 varieties from around the world. The central table and the surrounding tables – simple metal-framed, with wooden-topped bar stools - are equipped with taps dispensing filtered water for mixing with the whisky.

Going for the Burns

If this seems a trifle ambitious, pub and bar owners could simply expand their range of whiskies on offer and host whisky-themed nights with tastings of different whiskies; perhaps a blind tasting of Scotch vs Japanese whiskies might yield surprising results. Now is also a good time to start planning a Burns Night celebration, featuring haggis, neeps, tatties, a recital of Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” – and whisky. Your pub furniture will need to be re-arranged to accommodate the ceremony, with pride of place for the haggis, and space made for the procession of the haggis to the table. Restaurants, too, could host a Burns supper with variations on the haggis/neeps/tatties theme.

Bear in mind that not everyone likes the taste of neat whisky, so you could offer whisky-based cocktails such as an old fashioned or a whisky sour. But for most whisky drinkers, it is best drunk neat or with a little water. The pleasure of whisky lies in the special flavours, aromas and colours of this ancient “water of life”.

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