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Alresford Golf Club Fabric Pergola Installation

How to use the shade to improve your al fresco dining offering

By: Oli Birch Category: External Solutions

A quick Google search of ‘al fresco dining UK’ tells you all you need to know about the rise in popularity of outdoor dining in the last few years.

The first page of the results is flooded with articles promoting things like ’40 Gorgeous Outdoor Restaurants’ and ’15 of the UK’s most stylish restaurant terraces.’

And with the summer now fast approaching, restaurants, bars, pubs and golf clubs will be gearing up for a busy spell of customers enjoying their al fresco dining facilities.

Making the most of an outdoor area is crucial with regards to improving the customer experience and generating additional income, especially in the summer months, but it’s equally important to provide sufficient UV protection.

This is where creating shaded areas comes into play.

So how can the shade improve your al fresco dining offering?

We tackle this question in this blog, discussing the four benefits below:

  1. Customer safety
  2. Enhanced comfort
  3. Extended usability
  4. Employee comfort

Customer safety

The health and wellbeing of customers is clearly of paramount importance for hospitality venues.

And by providing adequate UV protection in the summer, establishments are taking a proactive step to prevent diners from the risk of sunburn and heatstroke.

Using large parasols or bioclimatic pergolas can be an excellent way to enhance an outdoor area whilst providing this shelter from the sun.

Al Fresco Dining Fabric Pergola

Enhanced comfort

The ambience and comfort of an outdoor dining space can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction.

A venue may have a glorious view of the coast, or a spectacular garden to dine in, but without sufficient shade, these areas can quickly overheat and become uncomfortable.

By incorporating shading solutions like canopies and awnings, pubs, restaurants and bars can create a much more pleasurable experience.

Not only do they provide vital UV protection outside, but the temperature inside can be regulated without the need to rely on air conditioning, as the shade provided by these systems reduces the amount of solar heat gain and glare entering the building.

Extended usability

According to the Met Office, the sun is at it’s hottest in the UK between 11am and 3pm, which is a peak time for venues hosting breakfast, brunch and lunch.

Therefore, having sufficient UV protection, during these hours in particular, ensures al fresco dining areas can be enjoyed throughout the day even at peak temperatures.

Shading solutions like retractable pergolas or awnings come into their own in instances such as this, as they can be in full use during the hottest parts of the before, before being retracted to allow diners to enjoy the less intense evening sun.

Restaurant Canopy

Employee comfort

While customer experience is hugely important for hospitality venues, so too is staff welfare.

And by creating a more comfortable al fresco dining area, establishments are also ensuring their staff have a safer environment to work in.

Shaded areas allow employees to work efficiently without needing to battle intense heat, and therefore reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.


As al fresco dining continues to grow in popularity, and with the UK set to experience another scorching summer, providing sufficient UV protection becomes imperative.

But by incorporating external shading solutions like canopies, parasols, pergolas and awnings, venues like pubs, restaurants, golf clubs and bars can create comfortable al fresco dining areas and ensure customers can enjoy their establishment to the maximum.

If you’d like to discuss an external shading solution for your venue, please get in touch with us here and one of our expert team will be in touch.

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