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Posted by Nikki Rogers on 3rd Jun 2019

If your pub has an outside courtyard or garden, why not make it work for you? With relatively little cost the external areas can be spruced up and made pretty for new clients, as well as your existing punters, to enjoy in the warmer weather. Or you could go one step further and organise a special event to entice consumers to stay for longer with a meal and drink.

How can you set up your pub garden for activities this summer? What are the benefits of organising pub garden events? What do you need to bear in mind when planning outdoor summer events?

How to prepare your pub’s outside area

Morning Advertiser highlights the trend of pub landlords and managers maximising space for customers by moving outdoors.

“Licensees are using every single bit of space available outdoors to put on crowd-pleasing events, whilst bringing in much needed extra revenue.”

Any outdoor area that comes with your premises is worth making the most of. Look at the space you have and consult a professional landscaper for help if your budget allows. It’s all about creating a space that will enable visitors to relax in attractive surroundings. It’s more than just a superficial lick of paint on the fence and planting a few shrubs as the area needs to work practically providing for a large number of people to gather and move around without feeling overcrowded and restrictive.

Create a focal point by lighting up a small tree or water feature, add a decked or paved area for seating or tack on a conservatory where customers can feel they are ‘in the garden’ all year round. If you have a river or stream running through, open it up whilst making access safe for children, as running water creates an aesthetic and calming atmosphere adding to the enjoyment of patrons.

Lighting is very important not only from a safety perspective but also to add to the ambience of the garden. If you would like people to stay longer then provide comfy seating such as outdoor modular sofas, hammocks and beanbags for the children.

An outdoor bar or pizza oven are useful additions to your garden if you plan to put on special events in the summer. You can go one stage further with an outdoor kitchen if you have the space and financial resources.

Not only will your garden need to look the part but there are also legal considerations to be aware of.

Checklist – Legal Obligations of Licensees for outdoor events

As a first port of call it’s a good idea to read up on your local licensing authority’s statement of licensing policy on the council website. As a guide the following steps need to be covered before you plan any summer events in your pub garden:

  • Advise the local authority of your plans as soon as possible
  • Check your existing premises license to see if it includes off sales and no restrictive conditions or on sales and the outdoor area is licensed for alcohol sales
  • Clearly define your outdoor area using OS coordinates if necessary
  • If you are likely to run an event for 499 or less customers, you can use the TEN or temporary event notice.
  • If there is likely to be more than 500 a full premises license needs to be obtained
  • Will you remain on sales or require off sales as well if you are offering takeaways?
  • Make sure you are up to scratch with health and safety stipulations
  • Give your neighbours advance warning and offer them an invite
  • Check you don’t need other permissions for your event such as copyright, food safety regulations, firework and pyrotechnics or event insurance
  • If you are including musical entertainment The Live Music Act 2012 allows for a maximum of 500 people without a license

(Poppleston Allen Solicitors)

With the legalities sorted you can now start to plan your event in detail. For ideas of what to do, learn from other successful landlords and the many creative ways they have increased their pub revenue whilst enticing new customers onto their premises.

Ideas for pub garden events

“As a pub landlord I consider myself to be a facilitator for people to have a good time. There’s nothing more rewarding than feeling that buzz you get from a packed pub, the sound of laughter, music and clinking glasses and it’s the same when you stage a music festival at your pub!”

(Kevin Abbot, The Anchor, Wingham, Kent)

Festivals – a great way to attract more custom especially if you plan to have live music as well as a special drinks promotion and accompanying food. Eg Cider and Hog Roast, gin festivals, beer tasting, cocktail parties and BBQ’s.

Family Days – games, food and drink in a relaxed setting. Parents can sit on the lawn whilst they watch their children play.

Performances – Shakespeare plays are performed outdoors as they were originally for audience participation and an authentic atmosphere. Food and drink are thrown in on the ticket to encourage customers to stay longer.

Fundraising events – an opportunity to help communities raise valuable funds for a local need whilst creating an opportunity to congregate for a good time. Be as creative as you need to be whilst making use of the outdoor space; novel ideas include a human table football, Bucking Bronco and boat races on the river!

Horticultural events- what better place to learn about healthy food and sustainable practice than in the garden. Discounted food and drinks are offered on the tickets.

Bingo and quizzes in the garden- old favourites which always go down well and require little organising.

Art and Photography exhibitions – a lovely way to publicise local artists and to sell their work.

How can Roller Banners help with your pub garden event?

If you need to ‘dress your garden’ for a theatrical set or a backdrop for your charity event then consider the wide roller banner collection which can be designed to your specifications, printed in house and delivered within a standard 48 hours.

The Eazy Promotional Counter would make a great service area for sampling a promotional drink or handing out burgers or pizza. If you need extra shelter for your customers when the British weather isn’t playing ball, the printed Gazebo Tent can be adorned with your chosen design and easily set up and stored for each event.

Outdoor roll up banners create impact whilst advertising your event and table top roller banners neatly display the finer details such as drink prices, menus and signage.

Draw incidental custom off the street with sturdy pavement signs and use an array of flags to spotlight entrances, exits and special features.

Print off advertising flyers, information leaflets, pub business cards or table cards outlining event timings.

Learning what your customers like takes initiative and conscientiously listening to their feedback. Use this information to come up with a creative and novel idea to host an event and share it with the Roller Banners design team who are here to talk through and realise these concepts.

Call (02380) 700111