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How to Make Outdoor Seating Work for Winter

UK Hospitality

Experts are constantly discovering more about the science behind COVID-19, from the recent vaccine news to the ways in which the virus is spread. One thing that has been proven for some time is that being outside greatly reduces the risk of the spread of the virus.


For this reason, many businesses in the hospitality sector adapted to increase their outdoor seating and takeaway options over the summer months. Before the UK entered into its second lockdown on 5 November, it was a common sight to see groups of friends ordering takeaway food to be delivered to a spot in their local park, or pubs and bars expanding their outdoor spaces to accommodate more people choosing to dine al fresco.


However, it’s hard to imagine the same scenes occurring once we emerge from this second lockdown on 2 December, so businesses will need to invest in better outdoor seating options if they want to ensure they maintain their client bases.


What will encourage customers to sit outdoors?

There are a number of tried and tested ways to guarantee a busy outdoor area in winter. Take a look at how to make your outdoor seating more appealing.


One key element of outdoor seating in the UK during winter is heating. The weather is getting colder and in order to tempt customers out of their warm homes, they need to feel certain they won’t get too cold – even if they choose to eat or drink at an outdoor table.  


With the right outdoor heaters, your customers will hardly notice they’re outside. If you want to go one step further, opt for a log fire or fire pit for the ultimate cosy feel.


Alternatively, you can make sure customers stay snug by other means, such as providing blankets so they can get comfortable and wrap up warm. They’ll want to stay all night!


With the news that Christmas markets are not to go ahead as planned up and down the country, many will be looking to find somewhere else to get their warm drink fix. Serve warm drinks such as hot chocolate, so your customers can still eat, drink and be merry whilst staying warm and toasty.


Of course, tables must be appropriately socially distanced and businesses must comply with local restrictions in their area.

When sitting outside, it is likely that customers will want to make the operation pretty brief. As well as minimising interaction with others, making the ordering process quick and easy will also mean that restaurants and bars are able to get more people in and out. This will be essential with capacity limits due to social distancing.

To make sure they keep coming back for more, make the ordering process as simple and efficient as possible for customers by using a product like Yoello to deal with the technological side of your business, from menu design to ordering and payment.

What if you’re in a tier that doesn’t allow venues to open outdoor spaces?

It’s important to note that when lockdown ends, different parts of the country will be placed in different tiers according to their risk level. In tier 3, hospitality venues will have to close, apart from delivery, takeaway and drive-through. But don’t fear - over the Christmas period Brits love to eat and drink out, and we don’t see any signs of that stopping.

You can still keep your business alive by offering takeout and drive through measures. In fact, we think that businesses in these tiers might still see some hardy customers who are still keen to sample their favourite takeaway treats outside. These customers may be looking for ways to order products to be delivered to their favourite outdoor spaces. 


Keeping customers warm and cosy is one thing, but the next step to make sure they enjoy their entire eating or drinking experience. Find out more about what Yoello could do to transform your entire customer experience.

Richard Billingsley
December 14, 2020

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