‘Al fresco’ is a term from the Italian language translating to “in fresh air.” Interestingly, In Italy, the expression al fresco is slang for “spending time in the cooler” or jail. 

Despite often being challenged with unpredictable weather, British people can’t resist dining al fresco. Advanced fire pits or outdoor fireplaces allow people to enjoy the bliss of fresh air dining throughout the year.  

Outdoor seating expands your restaurant’s seating capacity and can therefore help you to generate greater revenue. Making best use of your outdoor space is a great marketing strategy that can help to entice potential customers.  

Set Up Styles 

Non-permanent – Tables and chairs that are easy to set up and customise. Operators are attracted to this casual set up and it provides you with intimate flexibility. 

Semi-permanent – Structures that can be retracted and put away without making a mark. Awnings and parasols are obvious must have items but you might want to consider planters or glass screens to protect from the wind as well as the rain.  

‘Dining Domes’ (Igloos) – are increasingly popular as a temporary outdoor dining structure and used by restaurants such as Coppa Club, Aviary and Inamo. Diners are able to enjoy the view as they dine in a cosy and intimate space. 

Permanent – Pergolas or conservatory-like structures have greater freedom to be creative with the spatial design. The most common trend right now is botanical design, as seen at the likes of Dalloway Terrance and Pergola Paddington. Permanent outdoor structures create almost a secondary interior space. 

Al Fresco Placement

Sidewalk Seating – attracts people walking by and encourages them to visit your restaurant. 

Rooftop Dining – popular in cities as diners can enjoy the view of skylines or open spaces.  

Garden and Patio Dining – the traditional form of Al Fresco dining. Diners can enjoy cosy lounge seating where they are able to relax and socialise.  

A successful al Fresco dining space is more than just assembling chairs and tables; it is important extend your interior design to create a seamless ambience. Lighting and music are key to creating the perfect atmosphere.  

We have plenty of experience with al fresco dining! Call Catersales on 020 8684 6500 or email sales@catersales.co.uk for a free consultation on your branding, interior design and fit-out.  

Posted by: Fey Mac Canna

al fresco dining. french cane style chairs with warming floral arrangements on the exterior wall

Dalloway Terrace, London, Al fresco dining example

Al fresco dining for London restaurant

Coppa Club, London, Dining Igloos