BBQ Season – Here Comes the Sun

As we approach it British summertime, following a gloriously sunny Easter, now is the perfect time to consider your alfresco dining options and hone your establishments barbecuing skills!

Now firmly entrenched as part of our British way of life, alfresco dining and the BBQ has come a long way since the early days of charcoal encrusted pork sausages and burgers cooked to the consistency of lumps of coal, gone are the days when we would drag out a barbecue at the last-minute light it and cremate everything in sight. For we Brits barbecuing is both “the new kid on the block”, and “the oldest swinger in town”. Since the dawn of time we have cooked food over an open fire, and even then, it was recognised as a great opportunity for social gathering. Nowadays we are far more discerning, and we relish the barbecue season which is now a firm favourite in the hospitality and on trade calendar.

We now have National BBQ Week which this year takes place on 27 May – 2 June, and is now in its 23rd year.


“National barbecue week is without doubt the major force in the growth of BBQ culture in the UK, having been the ‘catalyst for growth in the BBQ market’ and ‘fundamental in changing consumer attitudes to BBQ’. Following the ‘heatwave’ summer this year, National BBQ Week has continued to grow the BBQ market from 9 million occasions in 1997 to an estimated 137 million in 2018, worth around £1.6 billion. In 2019, National BBQ Week will again be encouraging even more Grill Thrills and Gastro Grilling, ensuring that everyone fully embraces BBQ culture by really going for the grill this summer” – Mintel


In fact the barbecue has become such a firm favourite in the hospitality calendar we now have a British Barbecue Association, whose president is Ben Bartlett, former British barbecue champion and now celebrated author and consultant. Added to that celebrity chefs regularly taking to the outdoors to display their culinary talents, Al fresco, there is no end of recipes that would tempt even the most steadfast traditional BBQ chef.

Alfresco eating is often about theatre and spectacle, the site of flames in a barbecue the sizzling of meat along with the fresh mouthwatering smells all part and parcel of the tradition.

According to a survey by foodservice supplier Bidfood 77% of the British public would be more attracted to a venue which had a sizzling barbecue, saying that they would eat at a pub or restaurant that I barbecue even if they were originally only planning on visiting just a drink.

“The figure highlights significant potential for the sector sales through enticing alfresco dining experience” said Bidfood Insight manager Lucy Pedrick.

There is no disputing beer gardens and outdoor dining facilities are appealing because of the very nature of these open-aired enclosures, as soon as the sun shines people want to eat outside. The mood is what makes these areas so special; it’s a warm, welcoming and pleasant place where socializing is encouraged. However, creating the right atmosphere of hospitality within the space takes careful planning, care, and attention. A focused effort to build the right kind of alfresco area will keep people coming back again and again, let’s face it, get it right and it is a real money-spinner!

Good news is it’s never too late, thanks to wonderful new equipment, and ways of keeping warm, alfresco stars in the spring and lasts well into the autumn.

Consider it an investment

That old adage is true, you really do get what you pay for so plan carefully and research the best products on the market that you can afford. Don’t let the domestic supermarket price influence you, you don’t want to invest in furniture and equipment this year only to be replacing it again in a year or two.

Look for durability

You want equipment and furniture that is built to last, in a busy venue with a high footfall you need outdoor dining products that not only look beautiful but also have a lasting resilience and can withstand contact with water, heat from plates and the harsh outdoor elements. Seek out those that are well-crafted, strong, and can take the knocks.

Make a great first impression

To really draw those customers in you want to create a space that blends effortlessly with the natural environment not one that contrasts. Show that you care about your customers with a well-designed space that allows them to drink and dine in comfort without feeling crowded or squashed in, whilst of course providing the access you need for an efficient table service.

Take the indoors outside

Make sure your outdoors efforts is on the same level as your indoor efforts, take the look, feel and atmosphere you have carefully created indoors outside using quality outdoor furniture, equipment, decoration and planting, supplemented with q uality durable accessories that are weather-proof.

Protect customers from the weather

Yes we have recently enjoyed a run of fine weather, but we are other British summertime sunny one day windy rainy the next, this is no reason to drive the customers inside we have fallen in love with alfresco dining awnings and parasols will allow diners to shield from both the sun, and the odd raincloud, whilst creating a more uniform and inviting aesthetic, barriers will give your clientele that extra bit of privacy.


Outdoor dining is a great way of advertising your food to other people! Whether you’re a restaurant with outdoor dining outside with passing footfall or a garden with captured clientele your food is out there for others to see. There is no greater size or smell of freshly cooked barbecued food be that a barbecue spit roast, in many places this is the main attraction! It is very easy again to go down the domestic supermarket chain route but if you want to be able to cope with busy periods and have equipment that you can use year upon year then again make sure that you can get the best you can afford.

So, whatever the weather eating and drinking outdoors is now a firm fixture, with high customer expectations wanting that “wow factor”, investing in your outdoor area quality products and offering traditional and not so traditional dining options is one of the best investments you will make!

Six Barbecue Essentials

Village Fete © Cinders Barbecues 2019

The appeal of a barbecue is powerful and potentially very profitable. Cinders Barbecues are probably the best known British manufacturers with thirty five years’ experience so their pointers to barbecue catering is definitely worth considering;

1) Invest in the UKLPG Code of Practice 24, pt3, (Use of LPG at Commercial Catering Events) from www.UKLPG.org. ‘Cinders’ were the barbecue specialist contributors and it is what every event Safety Officer has in his back pocket.

2) If you will be mobile, consider joining The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS), the trade association for independent caterers with over 6000 members. They provide caterers with the information, systems and support to be safe, legal and profitable.

3) Barbecue staff should hold Level 2 Food Safety & Hygiene for Catering certification. This course can be bought online for as little as £20 or provided by your local council.

4) Get your operation passed by a local authority Food Safety Officer who will check for compliance with legal requirements and rate it under a scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency. Don’t delay on this.

5) Control the operation as a profit centre. Keep start-up costs tight by relying heavily on your kitchen and your chef for food preparation, wash facilities and remember to factor in the extra staffing. Raise prices to cover the extra costs, but keep hotdogs affordable for the kids.

6) Theming an event is definitely the best way to advertise through social media, but don’t put customers off by insisting they all dress like pirates! Keep it moving and keep it fun and success is guaranteed, – whatever the weather!

Café Culture – Pavement Profit

Café Culture are an independent supplier serving the outdoor restaurant trade with supplies for outdoor seating areas.

Café Culture design and manufacturer our their windbreaks and use the best materials available. For anyone looking long term that saves you money as you won’t be replacing cheap internet imports next season. It’s one area where it doesn’t pay to buy budget as the continual bumps and scrapes outdoor goods receive combined with the harsh British climate really needs something tough enough for the job.

Café Culture also supply Markilux awning which are some of the best made in the industry and Uhlmann parasols another top rated German brand. Bespoke goods are also a speciality with custom made menu holders, waiter stations and planters all to you requirements.

New Products For The New Season From LeisureBench

LeisureBench have added some exciting new products to their already extensive range of premium quality furniture, for the 2019 summer season. Many people are now wanting bespoke furniture which gives them something different and in many cases more upmarket.

Among the new additions to the LeisureBench portfolio includes scaffolding furniture, made using recycled boards for a vintage industrial look and barrel furniture made from solid recycled oak barrels, sanded, treated and bound with galvanised steel hoops. These can be supplied as planters or poser height barrel tables.

LeisureBench now supplies a large range of parasols and awnings and now have a UK partnership with Litex parasols and gazebos. The large commercial parasols are excellent value and come in three standard sizes and lots of options including printing.

Bulk discounts of up to 15% are available.

Beer Festival Equipment

`Beer Festival Equipment` developed from supplying a local festival to supplying a few more to its current supply of 100 Beer Festivals up to a 198 barrel (9gl) one.

The range of venues include – Breweries, Horse Racing , Hotels, Motor Racing, Sports Clubs including – Cricket, Football, Rugby and Tennis, Pubs and Village Festivals.

The equipment available is what is needed to store cool and pour beer from casks, this is Stillages for 6 to 12 casks, Remote Chillers small and large to cool 6 to 12 casks along with Cooling saddles to sit on the casks and Insulation Jackets to keep the cool in, then Taps to release the beer into the glass. There are some extra items like Hand Pumps & Bars. It is all self assembly and a manual is provided. All prices are on the website beerfestivalequipment.co.uk

The Equipment can be Collected and returned or delivered and collected by Peter.

Your Outdoor Space Can Make You Money

Outside areas have huge potential for increasing turnover when the sun is shining. However, you want this area to generate an income for the whole 12 months no matter the weather.

The choice of structures is vast – from high-end rotating louvered roofs to fixed polycarbonate roofs, Jumbo umbrellas to garden gazebos and marquee-style canopies with a clear roof to a lightweight retractable structure. It is entirely up to you what you choose, however we will help you with advice and options to make sure you make the most of your space. Most of our structures can either be free-standing or fixed to the building for installation flexibility.

In addition to the structure there are options for the roof and the walls – solid, retractable, clear, opaque and more. Then there are the lights, speakers and heating!

Outdoor Structures are specialists in shade and shelter and are ready to help.

Olie Brise Wetherspoon Customers Dine in Style thanks to Surface360

Situated close to the southern shores, the Olie Brise pub in Teignmouth pub boasts a 220m² exterior terrace space for guests to dine on during the warmer months of the year.

Surface 360 were delighted to yet again take on a new challenge for our good friends at Wetherspoon.

The Wetherspoon brief was to create a free draining surface that met the desired threshold heights, while offering a slip resistant and easy-to-maintain finished surface.

Paving Tiles Layout and Falls

The layout and falls on the project were accomplished through the undertaking of a thorough site laser levels and a dimensional survey. The team then designed the layout to incorporate several falls transition points to enable the correct FFL at the desired threshold points with suitable paving falls for drainage.

20mm Porcelain Paving Tiles

Using a combination of timber-effect and stone-effect 20mm porcelain paving tiles from the Surface 360 range, we were able to supply and install a surface with a high slip resistance. Both tile ranges offered an R11 (A, B & C) Classification for slip resistance, which is tested as a UK recognised, German National Standard.

The timber surface finish was achieved using our hyper-realistic, timber-effect, TeknoTimber 02 porcelain paving tiles. Utilising a square, 600mm x 600mm large format, the team installed the tiles on top of our self-levelling, height adjustable pedestal support system.

Alongside the conventional looking timber decking, Wetherspoon opted for a contrasting neutral tile. Pietra Toccato Neutral 01 was chosen, also in the large format style, to provide the terrace with a realistic stone-effect look. If the TeknoTimber or Pietra Toccato Neutral tiles, or any of our other porcelain tile ranges tickle your fancy, you can request FREE samples of both our 20mm exterior tiles and our 10mm interior tiles via our easy-to-use website ordering system on every product page. Simply find your favourite tiles, pick which colours you wish to receive a sample of, and proceed to checkout!

CambridgeStyle Canopies

CambridgeStyle Canopies have been active working with major PubCo’s since 2005. The company had seen interest grown in providing customers with attractive outdoor areas – be it for smoking, congregating or wining and dining.

There is much evidence to demonstrate that those that have invested in providing outdoor cover have seen healthy returns on those investments, with customers gravitating to pubs where there are outdoor covered facilities.

CambridgeStyle Canopies have developed a range of aluminium and steel products which provide a good 25 year life span. The very latest state of the art Bioclimatic Pergolas have been developed from sunnier climates and adapted to cope with the many variant weather conditions expected in the UK.  CambridgeStyle Canopies have been installed in beer gardens, terraces and roof tops all across the country.

CambridgeStyle Canopies work closely with their clients to provide a bespoke solution tailored to their needs and carefully calculate together the likely return on investment per outlet, be it operating 5,000 or 1 outlet.

Advice is to consider;

• Do I need more covers
• Would I gain new customers
• Would it improve ambience for my existing customers
• Would it set me apart from local competition
• Cost of covered area
• Number of  covers
• Projected  return on investment timescale. 

This is the current trend and will continue to grow within the hospitality industry. Don’t miss out – contact CambridgeStyle Canopies today!