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Restaurant canopy

How to get a return investment on your restaurant canopy

By: Oli Birch Category: CanopiesExternal Solutions

Al fresco dining is here to stay in the UK. After lockdown measures restricted venues to offering just outdoor seating for dining and drinking during the pandemic, there has been a huge rise in the popularity of customers enjoying a meal outside under a canopy or pergola. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance for venues to enhance their outdoor dining areas.

That’s why we’ve put this blog together to identify roughly how much a canopy would cost and how quickly restaurants could get a return on their investment.

Initial outlay

Each project we work on is bespoke to the client, so there is no standardised cost across the board. However, we can provide a rough idea.

Based on a 10m x 5m lean-to canopy with no additional accessories, like a retractable roof or heating, the cost would likely be in the region on £11,000, including the installation and VAT. Adding a retractable roof adds to the cost of course, taking the figure to around the £15,000 mark, but it also adds to the versatility of the space.

Restaurant Canopy with a retractable roof

How long it would take to recoup the money spent?

Again, this depends on the type and size of canopy. But if we take the 10m x 5m example, this would allow for approximately eight 1.2m square tables to be installed, each seating four people. Therefore, the restaurant would have an additional 32 covers available.

If all eight tables were full just once a day for seven days a week, in theory, customers would need to spend just £1 in order for a restaurant to recoup the money spent on the canopy within 12 months. And with the average cost of a three-course meal totalling over £20, it’s likely this would take much less than a year to do.

Furthermore, according to the Metro, each additional seat could help restaurants generate an additional £6,000-a-year in revenue.

However, if we base this on a restaurant’s average net profit margin of 5%, it would take approximately 12-18 months to get a return on your investment, using the £11,000 figure.

Other return on investment ideas

Increasing your covers is the clear benefit of installing a canopy at your restaurant. But it’s not the only way to get a return on the investment.

Canopies offer restaurants the opportunity to be creative and give their business a unique selling point. They could provide a private space available to be hired for social events like a pottery evening or wine tasting. Or a space for customers to enjoy sporting events away from the main restaurant.

That’s in addition to the more obvious occasions like big birthday celebrations or anniversaries. We identify a few more ideas and how a restaurant can benefit from having a canopy in a separate blog here.

Canopy accessories

Additional features can really help a canopy stand out and give restaurants a versatile space.

Remote controlled LED lighting can allow venues to add a welcoming light to the canopy in the evenings or create an atmosphere with different colours.

Wall-mounted heating panels add warmth to the space whatever the weather, and can be controlled to increase or decrease the heat depending on the needs of those underneath.

Glass or aluminium doors and side panels ensure the canopy is fully weatherproof throughout the year, and can be fitted with zip blinds to control glare during the summer.


Though the initial cost of a canopy may appear to be a large outlay for a restaurant, it’s easy to see how quickly the fee could be recovered and how the canopy would then generate additional income.

And our expert team can work can work around a restaurant’s busy times to install the canopy within 48 hours and minimise disruption.

Alternatively, if a canopy doesn’t suit your project then you could consider parasols, awnings or bioclimatic pergolas; all of which we will discuss in blogs throughout the year.

If you’d like to discuss a canopy for your restaurant then please get in touch with us here, and one of our team will happily assist you!

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