Restaurants continue to survive during difficult times, but as any restaurateur will tell you, ensuring your business turns a profit is an art form. From establishing and maintaining supply lines at the right price to exact portion-control and perfecting table spacing, every detail counts.
Nowhere does space have such a critical value as in the capital. With restaurant rents the highest in Europe, London restaurants are fighting for access to pavement space and any other additional commercially viable areas. For this reason, retractable roofs are becoming as common on our London streets as they are in cities like Paris and Rome. But on our island of such inclement weather, do retractable roofs make sense? Let’s examine the evidence.
When we think of retractable roofs, we think mainly of sun and UV protection, but in the UK roofs are just as useful for deflecting light rain and breezes. However, the attraction of a retractable roof is not just its ability to protect us from the elements, but also its ability to be quickly and easily removed when the chance of sunshine occurs. As with walls, roofs create a space. Even a simple table and four chairs can become part of the restaurant once a roof is added. However, operating a business which has rights to place tables on the pavement or in a shared green area usually also comes with the condition that these roofs must be removable.
Bringing the Outside Inside
Expanding on this theme, what restaurateurs are really trying to achieve here is an extension of their valuable restaurant space. Alongside retractable roofs, bespoke tensile fabric structures like the ones found at http://fabricarchitecture.com are also proving very desirable in locations where retractability is not legally required.
As with retractable roofs, tensile fabric coverings provide an all-weather solution, can protect against UV rays and incorporate guttering and lighting systems. However, due the advanced design options and possibilities, they go even further towards creating an extension of the marketable inside space of a restaurant than their retractable cousins.
Either way, installing retractable or fixed tensile roofing at restaurants in London seems to be a trend which is growing. It’s not hard to see why. A beautiful outdoor eating area can draw business to a restaurant, and it is an affordable way to make use of valuable space.