Top tips: How to maximise your outdoor dining this festive season Winter’s a mixed bag for the hospitality industry, particularly this year. On one hand, you’ve got Christmas, which means a busy season of punters happy to splash the cash in the festive spirit, big bookings of family and friends getting together for food and drink, and countless work parties. But on the other hand… You could be considering trading your fun-in-the-sun beer garden tables and shady parasols for the cosy fairy-lit indoors. And less seating means less customers, which means less takings… and that’s just not an option. But don’t worry—we’ve got all the outdoor shelters and accessories you need to protect your pub, bar or restaurant’s outside space from the elements, and keep your business running at maximum capacity, come rain or snow. And this year it’s even more important to prepare your outside space, because we could be on the cusp of coronavirus measures changing once again, bringing the return of outdoor-only drinking and dining… The government’s winter Covid-19 plan: Last month Boris Johnson revealed plans for tackling Covid-19 during autumn and winter, warning that the disease remains a risk, setting out Plan A and Plan B. Let’s take a closer look… Plan A Plan A is designed to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed, and centres around promoting vaccines and testing, including encouraging the unvaccinated to be jabbed, offering vaccines to 12–15 year-olds, and launching a booster jab programme for millions of people. Plan B Plan B will be initiated if Plan A is not working effectively enough, and further measures need to be brought in to prevent further spread of Covid-19. And Plan B could affect the hospitality industry, as measures may include social distancing in public indoor spaces and the return of outdoor-only dining… What does this mean for hospitality? It means that pubs, bars and restaurants can continue to trade for now—but you should remain cautious and prepare for the possibility of Plan B’s initiation. So, if Covid-19 measures are suddenly brought in that make it mandatory for drinking and dining to be done exclusively outdoors, you’re able to continue trading and earning over the festive period. And we know… putting Covid-secure measures in place might not be as Christmassy as putting up the work Christmas tree, but being prepared is your way to make sure the festive spirit stays strong in your business, whatever happens this year. Here’s how you do it: Put up an outdoor Christmas tree We didn’t say you can’t do both! Getting your outside space set up for winter doesn’t just mean being practical—you can create a festive atmosphere, too. Put up that outdoor Christmas tree, string up fairy lights from the trees, turn your once-sun-filled beer garden into a gorgeous grotto where people will want to sip warming mulled cider on cold winter nights. Get cosy with the Elite Bistro Cube This is your outdoor dining hero. With a bespoke manufactured framework and side walls, the Elite Bistro Cube is a fully-functioning outdoor area in its own right, keeping your customers warm and dry, and offering privacy to groups of people—which is perfect for friends or families having a Christmas night out, or work colleagues doing their Christmas party thing. Light up the dark winter nights Whether you’re using the Elite Bistro Cube or one of the classic Bistro Series Parasols, you’re going to need light on winter nights, so make sure you’ve got sorted with our nifty 3-Way LED Mains Lighting. It’s been designed to attach to the centre pole of any of our instant shelters, and it’s perfect for bringing your beer garden to life after dark. Keep things toasty—even when it snows There’s nothing more magical that gloved hands wrapped around a mulled wine on a dark winter’s night, even if there’s frost on the ground or snow in the air. But the magic only comes to life if people aren’t actually freezing! Turn up the heat on cold nights with the 3-Way Infrared Halogen Gazebo Heater. The clamp attaches to any of our gazebos or parasols, making it the perfect solution for keeping customers warm. Prepare your business for Plan B this autumn and winter, and check out our range of outdoor shelters, lighting and heaters today.