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5 cool ideas for impressing your customers in periods of hot weather

Want to stand out from the competition? Here’s 5 ideas on how to do this when the sun is beating:

1. Get your customers excited with summer specials
People love to buy something that’s particularly special for the occasion, whether it be food or drink.

2. Water for thirsty pups
If you’re a pet-friendly place, make sure you’ve got water bowls around and topped up for those thirsty pups.

3. Free sun cream, bug spray and citronella candles
Help to protect your customers and their kids from the sun, as well as from mosquitoes and other irritating bugs.

4. Misting system or oscillating fans
Keep your customers cool with a misting system or fans, to make them more comfortable and stay longer.

5. Parasols and shading
Last but not least, ensure you have ample shaded outdoor space. This is critical for looking after families with toddlers, to save them getting sunburn or sunstroke.

Please feel free to send me feedback

Howard Barr howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com

 

The importance of outdoor Storage

When you set up your commercial outdoor space with furniture and accessories you don't always consider how you will be storing these items and when this might need to be.  There are many reasons why you may need to store your furniture and accessories.

Changing around outdoor spaces to accommodate events such as weddings and parties may require additional fixtures to be erected such as marquees and will often result in a surplus of furniture that is simply not suited to the needs of a large event. Outdoor space is very often transformed and given a more indoor feel to it by the use of flooring and setting lights. For example, a charity ball will not be in need of benches that are much more suited to a family picnic. It is very important that any furniture and accessories that are not needed are stored safely and tidily during periods of non use.

Outdoor space is constantly on show and in permanent use by customers. An aesthetically pleasing customer experience should always be aimed for and will ensure visitors return and recommend the venue they have visited. Surplus furniture and supplies should ideally be stored so that they are not in the sight of customers. People are not going to enjoy looking at an untidy pile of parasols while they are attending a formal outside event. From a safety perspective, furniture that is in non use should never be left in areas where they might cause a hazard.

Ahead of your outdoor event it is very useful to carry out an audit of your outdoor furniture and accessories and identify exactly what is required versus what is not needed. This is a great way of ensuring no items remain unchecked and in an area of your commercial space that it does not belong to during your event.

During periods of scheduled cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor space there will be a need to safely store your furniture and accessories. Sandblasting patio areas in a pub garden to bring the stoneware back to its former glory will require a clear and hazard free area to work. To ensure the longevity of your furniture it is advisable to keep it away from debris that may cause damage to the wood.

Containers that are weather proof in muted colours are always a great choice for outdoor storage. You don't want to draw attention to any piece of furniture that is simply serving purpose as a repository. Something that is durable and easy to maintain will be long lasting and a good investment to safely store your outdoor accessories during times when it is not needed. We recommend the use of large industrial sized storage units that are collapsible making them easy to store when they are not needed.

We really like the current range online at The Garden Store  a Surrey based company who specialize in storage space units.

For more information on our extensive range of commercial outdoor furniture and accessories please contact howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com.

The importance of protecting your furniture investment from the elements

Outdoor furniture is very much an investment and often a sizeable one for commercial companies that house large volumes of fitments and fixtures for the likes of pubs, parks, golf clubs and hotels.

Whilst Woodbury products are designed and built to withstand heavy, regular use in the commercial and public environment, it is important to maintain and protect them from the many varying weather elements they will be exposed to. Don’t forget, the image of your establishment is as important on the outside as it is on the inside; it could be the first view people have you and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Daily review of the weather and being aware of any extreme weather conditions can ensure you are ahead of the game and allow you to plan for how you will need to protect your furniture and outdoor accessories.

The level of protection will be dictated to by the seasonal time of year and the type of weather. During the summer months, the days are longer and this means furniture is used for a much greater length of time with a large number of visits from customers. The suns UV radiation is at full strength during the summer season and will cause prolonged damage to wooden items that are fully exposed. It is therefore, important that each piece of your furniture is cared for to the highest level to ensure longevity and also to create a pleasing and hopefully a repeat experience for the customer. No one is going to want to sit on a rusty and rickety park bench, or at a faded table.

During times of high winds, it may be appropriate for your commercial furniture to be shackled down to ensure it does not blow around and become damaged or risk injuring those who frequent your public space. Our ground fixing kits are a very useful addition to your furniture and are available for hard ground, soft ground and with a root fix.

Parasols are notably absent on days of high wind! They need to be protected and securely tied back to ensure they do not bend and buckle in the wind. Parasols in particular can become hazardous during times of high wind if they work loose from the base unit they fix in to.

We have a selection of concrete and timber parasol bases in a choice of weights. We also have some parasol base brackets to securely hold the parasol in place without the need for a base. These are ideal for those concerned about restricted under table leg room, whilst seated at the furniture.

There are many things you can do to keep your outdoor space looking fresh and rejuvenated. We have an extensive range of accessories to help you make the right choice to protect your furniture.

Our Re-Treatment kits are very popular and contain all that you will need to look after your furniture, including a pair of plastic gloves and protective googles to protect yourself from the product. The treatment fluid is the exact product that we use in the factory to treat the furniture during production process. It is white spirit based and available in our unique Woodberry Brown shade. This product should be administered on an annual basis, to any flat, exposed surfaces, this includes table tops, seats and benches. It is less important to treat the legs and underneath as they are not directly exposed to weather conditions.

For furniture that is only used at certain times of year, it is worth investing in some tarpaulin, specially designed to protect outdoor furniture. These industrial covers are designed using the highest quality canvas featuring both water and UV protection. This long lasting product is available in a range of sizes with eyelet punches for rope insertions to ensure they can be tightly fastened. The tarpaulin comes in a variety of green and tan shades. We like the current selection available at UK Tarps, a Middlesex based company specializing in all types of commercial tarpaulin.

For more information on our extensive range of commercial outdoor furniture and accessories please contact howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com.

Upcycled & Recycled Furniture - Ideas on how to use and follow the latest trend

Every day we are hearing more about how we need to look after our planet and reduce the amount of waste we generate. As a nation we are all much more aware of the longevity of items we purchase, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint.

Sustainability is essential in every commercial organisation and here at Woodberry’s we encourage the use of upcycled and recycled furniture wherever possible. Well designed and durable items mean it is much easier to upcycle furniture. Some of our products are manufactured from high quality recycled plastic material. This range is part of Woodberry’s Greendine and includes benches, planters, tables and waste bins.

 Upcycling is the process of taking an item that is old, often damaged and depleted and turning it into something attractive and useable.

Some people actually turn this into a very enjoyable hobby keeping a look out for tired and worn out objects that could be rejuvenated and given a new lease of life in outdoor spaces. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure and this has never been more true when it comes to upcycling. Upcycling is a growing trade with a lot of local charities jumping on the bandwagon to offer items for sale that have been reconditioned and decorated to a very high standard. It is often almost impossible to tell an upcycled piece of furniture from that of a newly crafted piece. With a little patience and some tender love and care it is very easy to create an object of beauty out of something that once looked rather tired and ordinary.

 We are really enjoying the latest trends in outdoor furniture, the amazing summer hews of sea greens and blues featured on a lot of the rattan furniture this season, are very attractive around patio areas. These colours can easily be incorporated into an upcycling project. Adding a pop of colour to a tired set of furniture can bring it back to life and give it a lovely relaxed summer feel.

Rattan furniture made from natural wicker is a notably popular choice of commercial furniture and can easily be spray painted.  Firstly, you must clean the pieces with warm soapy water and a soft cloth to ensure you remove any debris and dead insects. Secondly, you must put a coat of primer on, this will help even out any scuffs to the wicker and will mean you need to use less paint. Thirdly, you should spray several light coats of paint. It is vital that the furniture is sprayed lightly to give an even finish and a quicker drying time. Remember to make sure you let each coat dry before applying the next one. How many coats needed will depend on the desired colour, usually three coats will be plenty.

Commercial outdoor spaces always look complete with the decoration of gorgeous ornate wooden troughs and planters. Loaded with seasonal summer flowering geraniums, fuscias and lobelia. These pieces are also very easy and quick to upcycle and can give a completely different feel to your outdoor space. The much darker rustic colours of autumn and winter and the contrasting shades symbolic of spring and summer. We are really enjoying the trend on wood paints in honeysuckle pinks and vibrant shades of marine blues and African violets this year. 

Firstly, you will need to sand the planter down to remove any surface imperfections. Secondly you will need to use a large brush to remove any debris and dead insects. Thirdly, sealing the wood with a coat of primer will ensure your paint soaks evenly into the furniture. Once you have lightly sanded your planter to ensure a smooth surface you are ready to paint. The number of coats you need to apply will be dependent on your colour choice.

 If you have upcycled any garden furniture we would love to hear from you. Or for more information on our extensive range of commercial outdoor furniture and accessories please contact howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com.

The importance of the FSC® Accreditation

What is The FSC®?

The FSC®, known as The Forest Stewardship Council is a world-wide non profit company based in Germany, operating across in excess of 100 markets with the aim of promoting the safe management of the world’s forestation, the precious and often rare wild life and the people who reside there; together with the safety of all local forest workers. At present over 190 million hectares (Mha) of Forest land are certified FSC®, spanning across 80 countries.
In the UK, the FSC® has its own division in Wales, which is operated independently of FSC® International and registered as a non-profit charity.
The FSC® UK offers industry standard certification in forestry management and a diverse multitude of service offerings to help members and their organisations further develop their understanding and knowledge of FSC®. Services range from advice and support on standards, marketing support and communications, access to a press and photography portfolio, on and offsite training and production of customer case studies.

The FSC® Philosophy

The FSC® works in accordance with a specific set of rules aligned to the correct management of each and every FSC® certified forest:

1 To comply with legal regulations, treaties and agreements.
2 To define, record and legally establish tenure and user rights.
3 To ensure local people have rights, including ownership, land and supplies.
4 To ensure the ongoing welfare of communities and Municipal rights of workforce.
5 To ensure cost effective, community and social forest benefits.
6 To ensure maintenance of ecosystems, including biodiversity, supplies and forestry land.
7 To have an Organisation Plan in place that is both monitored and recorded.
8 To observe and evaluate growth around management objectives.
9 To upkeep or increase high conservation areas of forest.
10 To design and administer areas of cultivated forest landscape in line with the Principles and Criteria of FSC®.

Why Is the FSC® Important

The FSC®’s iconic logo, featuring a prominent tick morphing into a majestic forest tree, is the consumers’ assurance that any items produced, including pencils, paintbrushes, tools, furniture, storage units and paper featuring this symbol have been manufactured to the highest standard and with the least disruption to the products forest of origin. It also means the landscape will continue to thrive for centuries to come and the local people who are harvesting the wood are supported and rewarded in a fair and safe environment.
The FSC® certification is the only charter across the globe that is supported by both Greenpeace and WWF, thus setting a target for all forestry companies.

Here at Woodberry we acknowledge the importance of good quality timber, sourced and traded in an ethical and honest way. We want to ensure that our customers always have access to the highest quality timber products.
Many of our catalogue products are FSC® Certified (FSC-C115839) and are produced in

accordance with FSC® rules and regulations. Just look for the FSC® logo in the product

description box. Or if you have seen a particular product and you would like to order it in

FSC® Certified materials, then feel free to get in touch and we will see how we can help.

howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com.

Family Friendly Pub Gardens & Furniture

With the warmer weather approaching (fingers crossed!) many families will spend more quality time, meeting, eating and drinking together, this means they will be looking for appealing, well-presented outdoor spaces to get together and socialise in comfort.

Families are a key target market for many of our customers, they bring additional profits, they are very influential and vocal on social media, and they also tend to have longer dwell times. To help you benefit from this important customer group we have compiled some considerations when purchasing your outdoor family friendly furniture.

Investment
First of all, you must consider it as an investment. As highlighted above the right choice of furniture for you will increase covers, SPH and will encourage repeat visits. You may also need to consider a range which you can add to easily in the future if current budgets won’t allow you to purchase enough to cover your whole garden area.

Layout
Depending on your outside space there are many different options available to you. Here at Woodberry’s we offer large circular 6, 9 or 12 seaters or standard A-Frame tables which are perfect for outside dining. If space allows, outside seating booths with canopies are a great addition to any garden area. Safety is also a consideration, position your tables so that parents are able to keep watch over the little ones (if there are designated areas for children to play), this will ensure your customers feel comfortable and stay for longer.

Materials
High footfall venues should consider hard wearing, high quality options. But this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. We offer a number of beautiful looking ranges; our Teak collection, Atlantique or Palma ranges are attractive yet hard wearing or for an eye-catching alternative our Gabion sets are extremely sturdy, mesh welded cages filled with rocks.

Weather
We all know the British weather is so unpredictable so there are a number of things you can use to protect your customers from both the sun and the rain. Parasols offer value-for-money and quality and can protect from both the sunshine and those annoying showers. A Pergola can provide shade on a sunny day and can be brightened up with foliage.

Something a bit different
To enhance your Family Friendly Furniture and Outside area why not consider adding something a bit for your customers; a play area with play equipment, small animals (easy to care for like Chickens or Rabbits), a BBQ great for promoting Outside Dining, or Bean Bags for families to spend time relaxing together.

Is your pub garden Family Friendly? Do you have a unique way for families to dine together outside? If so we would love to hear from you.

5 Reasons why Teak is Top

Teak is a beautiful, closely grained hardwood used extensively to produce only the very best outdoor furniture. Here’s the 5 key reasons why teak is top:

1. Teak is naturally strong & resilient
Teak wood grows slowly causing it to be dense and closely grained and it’s natural oils prevent it becoming brittle. This means that the timber is strong, and performs well under years of heavy use.

2. Teak resists the weather like no other timber
Being full of natural oils, teak is brilliant at coping with harsh winters or scorching summers. Either way, its inherent oils stop it from absorbing water, so there’s no twisting or splitting.

3. Teak resists insect invasion
Again thanks to its inherent oils, teak performs well in deterring insects from invading the timber and causing it to break down.

4. Teak requires very little maintenance
Woodberry recommend that you purchase uncoated teak products and suggest that you allow it to age naturally over time. This causes the teak to slowly turn a silvery-grey colour. Many teak oils actually lead to the growth of mildew which looks unpleasant.

5. Teak is great-looking
There’s no disputing it; teak looks gorgeous. When it’s new, its golden hue is irresistible, but even when it starts to fade, the stately silver-grey colour still emits a quality appearance.

Please feel free to send me feedback

Howard Barr howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com

 

3 Quick Steps to check your Outdoors are all set for Easter

With the outdoors warming up, it’s critical to make sure that your outdoor area is all set for the season, especially if you haven’t been out there for a little while.

1. Safety Comes First
a. Check for trip hazards such as trailing wires, uneven slabs or wet leaves – these can be a menace to elderly customers and cost you dearly if not attended to.
b. Ensure your outdoor equipment such as furniture hasn’t got any sharp or broken parts, where your customers’ could hurt themselves.

2. Look after customers’ needs
a. Check that, where possible, you’re looking after the disabled such as wheelchair access to your garden or access-friendly outdoor seating.
b. Cater for families with kids too – do you have an enclosed play area nearby with play equipment?
c. Signage – make sure your customers know how to get from the garden back to the bar, toilets or gaming area.

3. Cater to customers’ comfort
a. Consider those optional extras that improve the comfort of your customers such as shading or outdoor heaters.

I hope this helps; feel free to send me a note back.

Howard Barr howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com

 

Handy Guide for Promoting your Pub, Restaurant or Café

Finding innovative ways to attract new customers and to keep old ones doesn’t need to be expensive! The simple ideas are often the most effective. The main thing you need to invest in of course is time. Here are some quick and simple ideas you can start implementing immediately to drive footfall and repeat custom at your venue.

1. Send out a member of staff to offer free samples to passers-by. It may entice people to pop in or could be a great way to gather feedback for new menu items
2. Keep an eye on the local competition – sign-up to receive their email newsletters, visit them, call them and see how your enquiry is dealt with. Check out their website for menu and pricing updates, all of which is valuable information and will ensure you remain both competitive, but also ahead of the game!
3. Look at ways in which you can offer promotions with other local businesses which have the same target customers as you
4. Create customer groups on social media – invite people to join and give them an incentive to invite their friends to join too. Let them be the first to know about exciting news such as new menus or up-coming events
5. Use videos on social media as they are a great way to give your brand a personality and introduce your team
6. Nominate your business (or get yourself nominated by someone else!) for an industry award. There is no better way to give your business some powerful PR and credibility
7. Pay attention to forgotten areas – the “shop front”, the car park, the toilets, the garden – are they all in immaculate condition? Does anything need fixing? Does your outdoor furniture need a refresh? Do they make a good impression?
8. Come up with an interesting story about your business for your local newspaper or magazine to print. Ensure you have an attention-grabbing headline!
9. Ensure your website is kept up to date – remove old news, old menus and keep it fresh and exciting
10. Ensure you are listed on all free printed and online local business directories
11. Encourage customers to leave reviews by inviting them to do so via feedback cards, email newsletters or on social media
12. Always ensure you thank customers for good feedback and address any negative feedback on public sites such as Google or Trip Advisor
13. Take every opportunity to capture customer details, particularly email addresses – so that you are able to contact them in the future. Collect via feedback cards handed out with receipts, via social media or at any events you may run
14. Keep staff happy and motivate by coming up with incentives for them for any up-selling they do
15. Staff training should always be top of the priority list-ensure they know about every dish on the menu and every promotion running. Impress your customers with only the best in customer service levels

Do you have any quick top tips for reaching out to new and current customers? If so we would love to hear all about them! Feel free to share!

 Charging My Phone From A Park Bench– Really?

Here at Woodberry we love innovation so imagine our delight when we heard about Soofa; the designers, innovators and creators of a solar panelled USB bench. Sounds a bit odd at first; why on earth would we need these fancy gadgets replacing the good old wooden bench?

The ‘Soofa’ is fitted with two USB ports, solar panels, and data collection technology making it far more than a standard bench. In fact, its inventors believe that it could well be the future and a driver for accessible renewable energy.

There is space for 3 people to sit and has a blend of modern and traditional appearance to fit in anywhere. Not only great for parks but we think they’d be brilliant at bus stops, shopping centres, campuses and wherever people tend to gather.

We are really excited about this product and think it’s a really progressive brainwave which benefits all of society. Being able to chill out in the park and recharging your own mindful state at the same time as recharging your phone battery is something that nobody will say is a bad idea.

Not Just For Charging

There is a lot more to Soofa than just re-charging. As well as having two USB charger points, the Soofa bench also:
• Has sensors to monitor environmental data such as noise pollution and air quality
• Gathers data to show how much renewable energy the Soofa is generating for the public
• Counts the number of daily visitors as well as the amount of people passing by
• Predicts the weather forecast for the next four hours

All this data can then be accessed by the authorities and public who are interested in the green credentials of the area. Authorities can finally see in real-time how people are using the spaces in their cities, neighbourhoods, or project areas. It brings benches into the internet era and provides detailed insights into space utilization.

In addition, imagine what the installation of these benches will do for the reputation of a city for embracing new technology and supporting the private development of analytical tools that benefit the public.

Any Draw Backs?

The only drawback we can see is that other companies sell solar-powered charging stations that include USB cables for various mobile devices. The Soofa bench, by comparison, has outlets but no cables, leaving people out of luck if they don't have a USB cable.

A cost benefit exercise will need to be carried out as while a standard city bench can cost from $2,000 (£1,500) and the Soofa models start at about $3,800 (£3,000) and go up with extra data-collection features.

Where Are These Soofas?

Currently hundreds of Soofa Benches have been installed in cities across more than 65 cities in the U.S. and Canada and in 5 countries; we’ve yet to find one in the UK but our beloved country may not be top of their list given the perception the British weather - 4 hours sunlight a day is required for the solar panels to work. We’re not really famed for basking in end to end sunshine!

The Future?

Being lovers of furniture and innovation, we believe that this is a really exciting development in design for 21st Century needs. Not only does it benefit the individual but it does provide data to help improve modern day living.

What do you think? Are smart benches the future of outdoor furniture?

 

So, You Want To Sell Coffee?

In the past 20 years, Britons have become coffee aficionados. Us Brits spend over £7bn in one year on coffee. Yes, the big boys like Costa, Starbucks and Café Nero control more than half the branded coffee market but there’s no reason that you can’t learn your craft and stamp your mark on the local market serving a quality cup. Almost four in ten coffee shops are from the non-specialist sector like pubs and retail outlets.
At Woodberry, we have worked with some leaders in hospitality who have successfully introduced a quality coffee offering or who run coffee shops and they have shared with us some great tips for selling a great cup of coffee.

1. Learn Your Craft
You’re not going to be able to fool the average coffee drinker.
"Britain is becoming a nation of coffee connoisseurs. Coffee is becoming like wine – people want to learn how to taste it, where it's from, how it’s made," said Jeffrey Young, MD of the Allegra Group, which delivers insights and events for the food and drink market. "The thirst and the desire to have better quality coffee is growing."
However, while you may enjoy drinking exotic blends of coffee a great deal, that is not enough to sell coffee. You should become an expert. This requires reading the right books and doing your own research and testing. Making good coffee is a science, and your patrons will expect you to have that science locked down. Don’t jump in head first. Make sure you have the knowledge and ability to brew perfection.

2. Love What You Do
While knowing a lot about coffee and food is good, it may not be enough. You should also have a passion for it! If you can’t stand the smell and prefer a cup of Earl Grey or Camomile, you need to find someone else who does have the passion.

3. Obtain the Right Equipment
You can’t serve quality coffee without the right equipment. This should include things like a coffee roaster, espresso machine and grinder. While you don’t necessarily have to buy these new, they must work properly. If this is a totally new concept, depending on your food menu items, you may also want a flat top grill, Panini press or oven. However, don’t go over-budget. If it’s a coffee shop you’re running, then your kitchen and menu is not supposed to be as expansive as a full course restaurant.

4. Price Your Menu Items Strategically
Whether it is coffee or food, you need to do some maths to figure out exactly what you should be charging customers. First, figure out what the cost of all the ingredients are in a drink or dish. This total is the food cost for that item. However, only selling that item slightly above its food cost does not mean you will make a profit. You also have to consider the overhead. This is all the non-ingredient costs that are required to make that drink or dish. This includes things like electricity, rent and labour and of course, VAT. This very helpful article by Steve Bicknell will guide you through the complexities of VAT on hot/cold food and drink, take away or eat/drink in.  Divide the total overhead by the number of customers you expect to serve to get a better idea of what you need to charge to make a profit.
Also, don’t forget to have a look around at what your competitors are charging. You don’t necessarily have to be cheaper, your whole proposition could be about high quality coffee at fair prices.

5. Keep Your Menu Fresh
While it is easier to stick with what works, you should also make an attempt to keep the attention of your loyal customers. While you should have a core number of menu items that never change, you should also offer specials. Special blends and a sandwich of the day can do the trick. Also, consider seasonal items. During November, add coffees, lattés or frappes with ginger bread as a special menu item. During the summer, iced coffees are a great idea.

6. Choose Your Location Carefully
If you’re starting from scratch and opening a brand-new café, location can make or break a business. Make sure you find a location that will receive enough foot or car traffic to make investing in that space worth your time. Also, make sure you invest in space you can afford. A huge mortgage or ridiculously priced lease can put you into the red from the get go. Consider the fact that you could move to another location in the future if you do find success.

7. Don’t Ignore the Décor
While your drinks and food should be the centrepiece of your business, you should also give customers a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy them in. Try to create an inviting space that will become a destination for people on their lunch break. Be thoughtful with your interior design as well as your furniture. What does the exterior look like? One great choice for finding attractive and affordable furniture for a café or existing business expanding its external offering is Woodberry of Leamington Spa of course!

8. Scope-Out The Competition
We mentioned the competition earlier on; to be successful with your coffee proposition, you’re either going to need to fill a demand that isn’t being met or differentiate yourself from the competition. Check out similar cafés and coffee providers in your area. This should include small independent businesses as well as the big chains like Starbucks and Costa. See what you can learn. While you shouldn’t emulate your competition exactly, you should at least learn how to please the same customer base.

How child friendly is your pub?

The smoking ban in pubs seems such a distant memory now and following the years of change, pubs have become more food lead and certainly more family friendly. Pubs are a great destination for families to enjoy a drink and a meal over a catch up with family and friends. Yet so many pubs still seem to be ill-equipped when it comes to welcoming children and encouraging families to choose to visit their establishment over others in the local vicinity.
Happy children = happy parents and happy parents will not only visit you more often, and stay for longer, but they will also recommend your pub to others (particularly seeing as this is so easy nowadays with the likes of social media and Trip Advisor)! Now is a great time to review your facilities and make a few changes for the year ahead!
Families are a key target market – they bring additional profit, particularly during school holidays, weekends and Public holidays. Parents are quite a force to be reckoned with – they can make or break a reputation just like that! So it makes sense to look after them.

Let’s start with one of the most important reasons why a family might be visiting you:

Your Menu
Healthy eating has become more important than ever. With high profile chefs such as Jamie Oliver on a crusade to improve food standards in schools and other establishments, pubs need to take note and follow the revolution. Chicken nuggets and chips can stay on the menu but how about creating a more healthy homemade version of this childrens favourite? Adult meals can be portioned off for children to receive the same variety of food choice. Offer plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable options – if you have the space you could even grow some on your own premises. Give it a story through your menus, make eating at your pub different, fun and memorable for adults and children alike. With food allergies on the rise, Gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian options are also more important than ever, and allow a degree of flexibility too when it comes to swapping ingredients where possible. A final note – make it quick! Serve meals that can come out quickly as children don’t like to be kept waiting and the last thing you want is a family leaving due to an impatient child!

Entertainment within
As we all know only too well, children find it difficult to stay still for too long, so if you have the space, a fenced off/safe area within your venue for children to play with soft toys, games, read books or do some drawing would be a great option. Appeal to customers to bring in clean toys/complete jigsaws/good quality books they have finished with and use baskets/tubs/under seat storage to keep them out of the way from other customers once finished with. Keep a large stash of plain paper and colouring pencils to hand out on arrival. Stock up at the local Pound shop and sharpen pencils before every shift – a quick and easy way to keep children entertained during a meal. Board games in good condition are also a great idea, check out local charity shops or invest in a few of the popular ones families can play together. How about a pack of cards on each table?

Entertainment outside
Here at Woodberry, we have some great options for large family friendly furniture, whether its large garden tables with comfy benches, perfect for lunch, or table sets that can be put together for larger groups or parties, we have a variety of family friendly options to suit. In addition, and of course budget permitting, you could consider outdoor garden games such as Connect4 and Twister, climbing frames, slides and swings, tyres, climbing ropes and ball pools. A bouncy castle is a great investment, they come in all shapes and sizes and keep children entertained for hours!

Keep the teenagers happy
WiFi is a necessity these days, people expect free WiFi when they visit a pub or restaurant. How about offering to charge phones behind the bar for free?

Dedicated family areas
If you have room, a separate area for families is always welcome. Room for prams and buggies, comfy sofas and privacy for breastfeeding mums and bean bags for children would all go down well. A dedicated area for larger parties would also mean less disruption to the rest of your pub/dining area and a little more peace and quiet for other customers! And what about the family dog? Is he looked after with water and doggie treats?

What do staff really think?
You may profess to being a child friendly establishment, but does this truly come across with the staff and how they deal with families? Are staff well trained in how to best serve families with young children for example? Are staff welcoming and accommodating? How staff treat families will make all the difference when it comes to whether they will recommend you to others or indeed return in the future.

Don’t forget the loo’s!
If a pub claims to be family friendly, then you need to make sure your toilets are not only spotless, but also that baby changing facilities are clean and well stocked – baby wipes, cotton wool, hand sanitizer to hand will help tired mums and make a lasting impression.
So whether the changes you make are big or small, ensuring that families are welcome and children are well catered for, could make all the difference to both profits and reputation at your establishment. Do it right, make a lasting impression and you will ensure customers choose you over the pub down the road!

Do you welcome families at your pub? What works well, do you have any handy tips you can share with other pub owners? We would love to hear your feedback!

 

You Don’t Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

Christmas is almost upon us and one of the busiest times of the year for our friends and customers in leisure and hospitality.  But the service industry calendar never stops turning and come the New Year,  we will all be thinking about getting ready and spruced up for the lighter evenings and hopefully, sunnier times. 

Woodberry of Leamington Spa’s furniture can be seen in cafes, restaurants, stores, parks, holiday centres, sports venues and hotels. Getting the furniture right is essential in giving a professional yet welcoming impression to customers and guests. There are many points to consider before buying a new set of commercial outdoor furniture which include:

Function

What will the furniture be used for? Will it be used many times a day, for example café chairs or a bench seat? Or will it be used only occasionally? It’s important to buy the right furniture for its purpose. Heavily used furniture such as café chairs need to be comfortable yet easy to move around and stack if necessary.

Style

The styles and designs of commercial outdoor furniture vary and there are so many different styles to choose from. The style chosen should generally reflect the type of image or impression that you’re trying to create – timber furniture is warm, traditional, homely and welcoming, whereas aluminium furniture is sharp, modern and cutting edge. In any case, the style needs to suit the location and the impression that your business wants to give to customers. This brings us to the next point – users.

Users

Who exactly will be using the commercial outdoor furniture? Will it be clients, customers, employees and employers, children, elderly adults? The furniture must be durable to withstand a lot of use and by different people. Furniture in public places must be as durable as possible as the likelihood of vandalism and damage is unfortunately high.

Materials

Commercial outdoor furniture is generally more hard wearing than home outdoor furniture, but not in every case. It’s a good idea to do some research on recommended materials for commercial outdoor furniture, as it presents two challenges: it’s exposed to the elements and it’s probably going to be used a lot so it needs to withstand wear and tear. Timber and aluminium are two popular and hard wearing materials used in commercial outdoor furniture. Many places buy furniture that have both these materials included in them – a timber seat or bench with an aluminium frame looks stylish and is durable.

Choosing your commercial outdoor furniture requires some research and time to get it right – don’t fall into the trap of buying the first things you see without considering the above points. First impressions last and the same is true for commercial outdoor furniture.

For all your outdoor furniture requirements, give us a call, we have been in the industry for 14 years and feel we are best placed to advise you on the right purchase for your business.

We look forward to hearing from you, in the meantime, we wish our customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Picnic benches - when should I go for plastic and when should I go for wood?

Lots of pub owners face the challenge of selecting the outdoor furniture for their pub. With an ever increasing range of outdoor furniture available to choose from, the choosing ironically becomes the difficult part. Let’s explore the 2 options.

Firstly, recycled plastic
When you buy a recycled plastic picnic bench, you know secretly that you are doing your bit for the environment. I think the next most outstanding benefit of recycled plastic is that it requires no maintenance. Whereas timber generally needs re-treating occasionally, recycled plastic never does. This saves your staff time, giving them more time to do the important things. It lasts forever, too. In fact, some may argue it lasts too long – by the time you’ve had it 20 years, it’s really time to see some fresh new furniture don’t you think? Joking apart, you can realistically expect 15-20 years out of Woodberry’s recycled plastic furniture.

On the other hand, it’s not the most attractive looking furniture. If you’re looking for something quaintly exquisite, then it’s really not the right choice for you. It tends to be chunky, even ungainly, and it’s very heavy too. Great for where you don’t want it nicked, but not good if you need to move it regularly. Other minor considerations that one has picked up having been in this trade for a while, is that it gets hot in hot weather (esp if in black or brown colour) and it bows over time, unless it’s reinforced – this is something to watch out for when you are buying this kind of furniture.

Now let’s look at timber
Let’s presume when we say “timber” that we are referring to “good quality” timber picnic tables that you’re going to get a few years out of, not the cheapest of the cheap, which become firewood after a season’s use. Typically timber picnic tables are about a third the price of their recycled plastic equivalent – this saving is all-important for many pub owners who face constant waves of external factors driving their cash flow down. It makes sense for them to purchase a less costly product more regularly.

How long do they last?

As a guide, they last a third the length of time, so instead of 15-20 years for plastic, you’d expect 5-8 for good quality wood. As I said this does depend on the quality of the build, thickness, treatment etc. Then there is the maintenance to think about – we recommend as a guide that you re-treat the exposed top and seats annually to maintain their optimum appearance. This should be factored in as a cost. Can you afford time to do this? Timber offers more choice – if you are adding to your existing garden furniture you might like things to match. With more options out there in timber than recycled plastic you may find this task easier, although the choices in recycled plastic are growing.

Am I effectively harming the environment if I purchase a timber bench? No, unless you have reason to suspect that the supplier is acting unlawfully, then there is no need to worry. Timber picnic tables are most often made from a softwood such as pine or redwood, which is farmed completely sustainably. Look out for suppliers that are FSC® certified for your peace of mind.

To sum up
If you want a no-hassle, solid product that’s just going to sit there and do its job, year in, year out, and you can afford that bit extra, we recommend recycled plastic.

If you have a dynamic garden, where you’re often changing things round, then go for timber.

If you want to support the environment, but can’t afford recycled plastic, be assured that timber picnic tables are completely sustainable.

I hope this helps; feel free to send me a note back.

Howard Barr howard@woodberryofleamingtonspa.com

Tips to help keep your outdoor area functioning over winter 18th Oct 2016

1) Ensure it’s well lit
Look after the safety and comfort of your customers by ensuring that your outside area has sufficient lighting. If you outdoor area is large then this can be costly, so in this case, ensure that there is an area of well-lit space with adequate seating.

2) Keep it clean and tidy
Littered areas will often attract vermin and other pests, which in turn leave smells and muck around. Simply avoid this with a regular check for litter, and an occasional sweep-up of leaves in which creatures like to nest!

3) Cut down the wind chill
Wind-chill can often be one of the biggest deterrents to the winter outdoors. Supplement your outdoor area with wind breaks or awnings to protect your customers from wind and rain.

4) Add an outdoor source of heat
Perhaps labelled as “an expensive option” providing heat outdoors is especially appreciated by smokers etc. Nowadays electric heaters are a much more efficient option than traditional gas heaters and safer too.

Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New Product: Square Poseur and Bar Chairs Set 30th Aug 2016

Woodberry launch a new high dining set. The square poseur table with comfortable high bar chairs, great for pubs or hotels with smoking areas! For further details see the product HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

Top Tips on reviving your outdoor furniture 29th Apr 2016

1) Re-treat your table tops and seats
Protect and enhance your timber sets with a re-treat. Always check that you are using the right treatment first.

2) Replace your Parasol canopies
A great way to create a clean feel with limited expense. Get advice that the new canopy will fit your parasol before you buy.

3) Clean & gleam your teak furniture
Give your weathered teak a birthday with a wash. Jet washing works well on natural uncoated teak but avoid doing this on pre-oiled teak.

4) Jet wash your rattan furniture
Synthetic Rattan is perfect for easy washing. Do not jet wash natural rattan or indoor rattan products. Remove cushions beforehand.

5) Replace your chair cushions
Another way to create a fresh feel but make sure you buy the right size cushions.

6) Put a feature piece in
An eye-catching, unusual bench or table in prime location often works well to bring fresh life to your outdoor area.

7) Add some colour with flower planters
There’s nothing like a bit of colour to revive your outdoors. Choose planters that will fit without taking up too much valuable space.

8) Keep tidy with litter bins
Keep the litter to a minimum with some bins. Look for bins that will take a removable bin liner so the bin remains clean.

Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New Product: 1.4m Recycled Plastic A-Frame 6th Apr 2016

Woodberry bring on board a smaller 6-seater version of our Greendine Recycled Plastic A-Frame. Carrying all the qualities of our Greendine Range, but cheaper than the original 8-seater, bringing it within reach of those with tighter budgets. For further details see the product HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New 2016 Brochure 4th Mar 2016

Our new 50-page 2016 brochure is now available on request, containing new product ranges and ideas. Request your free copy HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New Online Gallery: A collection of beautiful on-site photos 2nd Oct 2015

This new addition to our website gives our customers the opportunity to see a whole range of our products in their true surroundings. View our Online Gallery HERE. The Marketing Team, Woodberry

New Rattan Products: Luxury Rattan Armchair & Rattan Sofa Suite 16th June 2015

Added to compliment our prestigious quality rattan range, these 2 product lines are full commercial quality and available in the same style and colour rattan as our Urbane Range. View all of our Rattan furniture HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New Brochure: Street Furniture Portfolio 25th Feb 2015

Woodberry launch their Street Furniture Portfolio, a 20-page brochure full of images, dedicated to our Street Furniture range. This is designed to make it easier for our public sector customers and school / college / university customers to identify the most appropriate products for them. All Street products are shown under the STREET tab. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

New Product: Chunky Round "Turret" Table 9th Feb 2015

This chunky 1.2m round table is great! Similar in style to our Castle Range, it's really hard-wearing and versatile too. Goes with our Castle Stools or Teak Stacker chairs. For further details see the product HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

Another New Product: Bistro Set 2nd April 2014

This little 2 seater Bistro Set is a winner - foldable for easy storage, and made of galvanised wrought iron and teak they look great! For further details see the product HERE. Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry

NEW PRODUCT: New Barrel Poseur Table 11th Feb 2014

Another great new product, this time with fantastic opportunity to promote brands. The sides and the top can be printed with a logo. For further details see the product under Tables > Barrels. R&D Team, Woodberry

Woodberry launches new website 5th Feb 2014

This is a fantastic new launch for Woodberry and we hope you will enjoy your time browsing it! With so many new products coming into our range, this is the perfect place to showcase them. Any question please ask - we look foward to hearing from you! Doug Barr, Sales Manager, Woodberry