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As an independent business owner, I can appreciate the importance of staying on top of hospitality trends and remaining competitive and attractive to customers. My little café is my pride and joy and, thankfully for me, it’s growing in popularity! This does, however, mean that I need to start expanding my space to accommodate more customers. I have a beautiful little patch of patio outside my café and so I have started researching the best shading structures to allow customers to relax outside as well as inside. Here, I have put together my findings in case you also need a helping hand!
The first structure that I considered for my café was the traditional pergola, as this is the piece I am most familiar with. The Director at Atlas Ceramics, Mike Head spoke to Ideal Home about pergolas, describing them as “one of the most popular outdoor trends of the summer and are ideal for adding definition to your garden.” This is true, traditional pergolas have been known for their beauty and added visual appeal, however, there are limitations to these types of pergolas.
Due to their lattice-style roof/ interlocking wooden beams, they fail to offer protection against harsh weather conditions like heavy wind and rain. Obviously, this is not ideal for my café as I want customers to enjoy their slice of cake outside no matter the weather. So that ruled that one out!
Retractable roof pergolas
Next, I moved on to looking at more modern pergolas like Designer Shade Solutions retractable outdoor roof. These seem to be a perfect shade solution, as they use a retractable roof for the pergola to help combat weather conditions. She Might Be Loved described them in a recent blog post as “pergolas that feature a roof that can open and close”, meaning you can have them open in the sunshine or closed when it’s raining, enjoying alfresco dining all year round.
With a bit of research, I discovered that these structures are multi-functional, meaning they can be attached to a pre-existing building or installed as a stand-alone piece. A Mum Review even said that “a modern pergola can be used to shelter an outdoor dining space or an outdoor kitchen to ensure these areas can be used rain or shine”, so they are clearly a great choice for the hospitality sector.
The final shade solution that I considered was a retractable awning, which Designer Shade Solutions also supply. I found these on their website whilst browsing their products and these look like an excellent choice for small patios or terraces. You can customise each of their retractable awnings and retractable louvre roofs to make them your own by choosing a variety of colours, adding LED lighting and more. This is perfect for someone like me as the aesthetic of my café is integral, obviously, the food needs to be delicious but who’s going to come and try it if my café doesn’t even look inviting?
The final decision
So, you are probably wondering what did I decide to go with? For me, it was a no-brainer – the retractable roof pergolas by Designer Shade Solutions offered everything I was looking for in my outdoor dining sanctuary. They provide practicality and beauty with all in one and most importantly my customers love it!
They have been eating cake and drinking tea throughout the winter with some added heating to keep them warm and cosy and now that we’re in the peak of summer the roofs have been opened wide to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.
Will you be adding a shading structure to your restaurant or café?