After weeks of forced closure, bars and restaurants have finally raised their shutters, but in an atmosphere of restricted health security and fear that with difficulties will still loosen for some time. In this context, the external areas of the premises assume strategic and ever-increasing importance.
To respond to the need avoiding gatherings, customers and venues must adapt to new needs and change established habits. Specifically, the espresso at the bar counter, which characterizes us as Italians, must be accompanied by a different type of consumption, possibly outside the premises. A ritual that we are not willing to give up and that, precisely for this reason, will have to take on new characteristics: it is therefore important to structure ourselves to make our spaces suitable for welcoming people again, guaranteeing that dimension of sociability and sharing that we have always sought before a coffee or a cappuccino.
The arrival of the warm season, together with the desire to remove the memory of forced imprisonment, plays in favor of the rediscovery of the external areas and, precisely with a view to welcoming customers in an environment that is as airy and clean as possible, it will be advisable to give new life to the bar dehors. Many municipalities are already favoring the expansion of these spaces by offering advantageous (even free) conditions for the expansion of the occupied portion of public land; it remains for the managers to understand their potential and organize them so that customers recognize them as safe and clean places.
Where to start then?
The first steps are the usual ones, which we have come to know by now. First of all, the distances between the tables: in this regard, let us immediately clarify that the possibility granted by some municipalities to enlarge the space used for seated consumption, of which we have just said, does not mean an increase in seats and seats, but goes in the direction of guaranteeing interpersonal distance and limit proximity, even in service. Masks and gloves for staff who, by opening the room also outside, have the opportunity to work in different areas, limiting contact between colleagues.
The “contactless” dynamics such as payment via pre-arranged platforms, but also the reading of menus with your mobile phone and a special QR code, sending the order directly from your table according to a similar digital method, should be encouraged. The desire to avoid that many people handle the same tools pushes in the direction of disposable even for table service – from disposable tablecloths to take away glasses (looking for the most environmentally friendly solutions to try to contain the environmental impact) – and the self-service ban, where applicable. Even in the outdoor area, as well as inside the room, the hygienic measures must be increased and observed with greater care, in particular the cleaning of the surfaces at each table change with sanitizing solutions.
Can we do more to make our outdoor areas even safer and more beautiful?
Absolutely yes. Given the measures just described and implemented, it is important that the external spaces of our restaurant are as welcoming as ever. Very often dehors are not particularly cared for but, given their growing importance, every detail in the furnishings must be thought of and positioned correctly, both functionally and aesthetically, so as not to miss the interior spaces. Fabric seats, use of wood, ornamental plants but also as dividers, folding and easily reclining tables, umbrellas, vases, blackboards are just some of the external elements to which attention must be paid more than ever in terms of quality and practicality; and they can be accompanied by the most innovative solutions. Among these, a special mobile banquet on wheels can be of great use, allowing you to also carry out the fundamental functions of the cafeteria, which has always been the prerogative of the interior spaces. Made of resistant and durable materials also and equipped with a cover, it can be set up ad hoc with a coffee machine and grinder, allowing in fact also in the dehors the administration of espresso, cappuccinos and other drinks (thanks to the space below used as a warehouse or small space refrigerated).
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