In a vibrant city like London, the first sunny weekends of April and May see diners explode out of cafes, bars and restaurants, onto the streets and pavements of the capital’s thoroughfares.
It’s one of the most exciting and, potentially, lucrative times of the year for the restaurant business, as customers rush to make plans to enjoy the first of the summer. It is now that beer gardens and rooftop cafés become valuable property assets.
But the value of the humble sidewalk is often overlooked by the industry. The only things standing in the way of a restaurant using its pavement space are a license from your local council (usually a four figure sum) and highway consent. Learn more about this license here.
While you won’t find many Time Out listicles called Top Cafes with Street Seating, finding a property that has this al fresco dining potential can be a very shrewd business move.
1. It increases your covers at no extra square footage cost…
If you are having a busy lunch period (and you have the kitchen and FOH capacity) setting more tables up on the street is a fast, easy way to increase sales from the same property.
2. …But it doesn’t have to add pressure to service
Setting street-tables doesn’t have to mean adding more stress to your service. If you haven’t the kitchen and service resources to handle more covers, you can simply close off the less desirable tables in the restaurant and replace them with outdoor ones. This way, you won’t miss out on diners who want to enjoy the sun, but you also won’t take on more covers than you can handle.
3. It’s free advertising
There’s no better sales pitch than a happy soiree of diners sat right outside your front door. The street becomes your sales floor, dragging passing custom inside with smiles, sweet smells and stunning dishes. Branded parasols and partitions will increase brand visibility, too.
4. It’s much cheaper than alternative property assets
Compared to the rent and premiums you have to pay to secure a property with a garden or open rooftop, restaurant properties with good street access are much cheaper. Add in the maintenance cost of a garden and the logistical headache of getting food from the kitchen to the roof, and the pavement becomes an attractive option indeed.
Making the most of seasonal demands has long been understood as a cornerstone of a successful restaurant. To find the best restaurant property with potential for al fresco dining, speak to our restaurant property agents today.
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