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CDG invites operators to unlock potential of their outdoor spaces

Commercial kitchen and restaurant design company, Catering Design Group (CDG) has created an insight document to help companies to consider how they can make the most of their outside space for additional catering facilities and offer a great alfresco dining experience.

‘Let’s go outside’ considers key design and operational elements to help catering operators and facility managers to unlock the potential of their outdoor spaces.

Steve Hutchings, director of CDG, said, “Maximising the use of alternative dining spaces has never been more important and could be a lifeline for many hospitality businesses who are now having to re-align their operations. Commercial space is at a premium so every square metre has to be maximised, but this can’t be at the expense of good design or the customer dining experience.

“Focusing on creating a great customer experience and fulfilling customers’ expectations calls for a more sophisticated design approach where every aspect of a potential area has to be assessed.”

According to CDG, outside spaces could present a unique opportunity to enhance the overall customer experience, increase footfall and maximise revenue.

Hutchings continued, “It’s not just a case of putting a few tables and chairs on a patio area. From a design perspective, there is a complex process to follow in order to achieve the best design such as considering how the space will work, how it will look and feel and whether there are other service or retail offers that would work in an outdoor setting.”

With thirty years’ experience of designing for the hospitality sector, CDG walks operators through a series of questions in the document to help them to reflect on their outside spaces. These include everything from thinking about how staff and customers move through the space to operational efficiencies and social distancing compliance to the use of technology to enhance customer engagement and facilitate hands-free ordering and payment.

There’s also a focus on what design elements can be added to create ambience and comfort, from lighting and furniture to outdoor heating. The document also features inspirational concept images of what might work in an outside space.

Hutchings concluded, “We have tried to think of every aspect of the customer journey while always balancing commercial objectives. For example, there may be an opportunity to add a retail element to help maximise revenue or introduce creative elements like a marquee or a quirky food hut to enhance the experience.

“Whatever happens, every aspect of an outdoor space has to reflect a company’s brand and image. We hope that our insight will give operators and facilities managers some new perspectives and inspire some light bulb moments.”