These unprecedented times have seen a number of sectors hit really badly, and perhaps none more so than our hospitality sector.
We all hope to see a return to normality down the road, once again returning to some semblance of normality, as nothing ever stays in stasis.
Of course, the word ‘New Normal’ has been bandied about of late. What does that mean? In short, this describes new methods in how we will conduct our day-to-day affairs.
One significant change we will see will be how seating and layout is going to be implemented once our bars, restaurants and hotels open again.
To help business owners in the hospitality sector readjust to this ‘New Normal’, the Irish Government has, as of April 12th 2021, opened up applications for a New Grant.
The grant is known as ‘The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme’.
This is being carried out in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, and will amount to a €17 million grant that will be rolled out to businesses in the Food, Drinks and Hospitality sector, i.e. businesses where food is served on the premises.
This grant will be allocated to assist in the purchase, implementation and layout of permanent outdoor seating.
The grant will be rolled out in two parts:
Part one will see the grant being allocated to individual businesses to assist in their purchase of outdoor furniture, while Part Two will focus on public dining facilities as seen in other European cities.
Part One is what matters especially for business owner’s needs post-Covid to assist in the purchase of outdoor patio, veranda and beer garden furniture.
Individual applicants will be able to apply for a grant that allows 75% of inventory purchased, and this will be capped at €4000.
The following is a list of what will be covered in the grant and available at outdoorfurniture.ie and our sister site outdoorliving.ie:
The Grant covers only inventory purchased between April 1st 2021 and September 20th 2021.
You will need photographic evidence of your inventory purchased as part of your application.
The closing date for applications is September 30th. Follow the link at the end of this article for more information on applying.
Another significant development is that the Licence 245, that enables food purveyors to place furniture outside their premises on public footpaths and streets, has been waived for the duration of Summer 2021.
Larger developments might want to check with their local authority to see if they are covered.
The grant itself is not just solely as a result of post-Covid initiatives; the scheme is and will be part of the wider Rural Development Scheme, itself an extension of the Rural Resettlement Scheme.
The press release from Fáilte Ireland that quoted Minister Catherine Martin is as follows
“The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.
This funding announcement further strengthens this Government’s commitment to the development of rural towns, as outlined in the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan announced earlier this week.”
In short, rural rejuvenation is where the money is at. However, this does not mean that urban centre businesses are going to be ignored.
The beauty of the Outdoor Dining Scheme in particular is that it is not limited to rural regions but rather applies nationwide, rural and urban.
The aforementioned schemes are merely an indication of the certainty and commitment on the government’s part that will lie behind the Outdoor Dining Grant.
Basically, the government wants the hospitality sector to have the resources at hand to expand their outdoor furniture suites.
Business owners in the hospitality sector will now have the means to purchase furniture and equipment that will facilitate outdoor eating and drinking.
So what should café/ bar and restaurant owners invest in to encourage patrons to eat and drink at their premises?
It can be somewhat daunting knowing what chairs and adjoining features to furnish the outdoor al fresco bar front. Hopefully this article will make that task that bit more straightforward.
In terms of style, the discerning business owner will be looking at pieces with purity of form, clean lines and curved shapes.
Contemporary minimalist and geometric nod of the hats to Bauhaus and others are predicted to be the on-going trends in outdoor commercial furniture.
Café owners have room for manoeuvre regarding colours, with Dark Greys, Taupe, Beige and White palettes that remind patrons of various coffees and accompanying confectionaries.
The one furniture design manufacturer that probably exemplify these trends the best would have to be Istanbul-based producers Siesta Furniture. WHAT ABOUT SIESTA, THEN?
Siesta are designers of some great outdoor commercial sets; with over 40 years in furniture production and design their reputation is second to none.
Siesta have been at the forefront in the industry not just with regard to design but in the materials they use too.
Cutting-edge high-molecular polypropylene and injection moulds are utilised in the production of some beautiful suites of outdoor commercial furniture.
So what can one say about what they offer the commercial sector?
Siesta are a company that not only ensure their commercial suites are made to last, but put time into the design and appearance of their outdoor commercial furniture too.
All pieces covered here are stackable chairs, and are UV, Fire and Weather-Resistant, an important prerequisite for any outdoor terraced café and bar.
One could start by looking at their Aruba chair set. Their Aruba range of stackable chairs are an example of rattan-weave sets that exemplify the contemporary modern trend in furniture.
Made using weather and UV resistant resin, they guarantee long-term durability and appearance.
With thick legs and a tub-like groove in its seating, made with a flat rattan-weave, the Aruba set is ideal for the more relaxed café/bar outdoor lounger look. Available in dark grey
Continuing in the curved vein are the Panama sets, which differ in so far as they are supported with thinner legs and a somewhat more hard backed support than the Aruba.
Using a flat-rattan weave produced using glass-reinforced resins, Panamas are ideal both for those outlets relying on casual/fast dining as well as patrons wanting to relax with a mid-afternoon coffee.
The same could be said for the Artemis suite in terms of suitability for those casual dining outlets.However, the polypropylene Artemis suite combines more traditional elements in its design.
It dispenses with the more obvious curves from in the aforementioned sets, utilising features found in those seats with squared support like ladder back models.
This is not to say the Artemis suite has entirely foregone the modernist elements that define the Siesta range, because it hasn’t.
It retains a subtle curvature in its arm rests, and the concave seating base gives good comfort to its user.
Nonetheless, the more pronounced linear frame in its overall finish means there are more environments the suite can be placed in.
The Artemis set looks great not only in chic modern cafes, but outside traditional bar fronts too. Available in Dark Grey, Sky Grey and Taupe
Upping the ante with the square backed look is the Ibiza model from Siesta, but where the Artemis has curved armrest and seat bottom, the Ibiza has an all-round utilitarian finish, with more linear rigid arm rests and base.
A thoroughly practical chair, made with glass-reinforced weather resistant resin. Available in white, dark grey, and chocolate brown.
The extendable Vegas tables can accompany 6 to 8 chairs.
The Vegas Table is a design that takes its cue from sleek minimalist meets Cubist aesthetics; thick rectangular legs that allow a standard adult to meet the table at chest height, and support a smooth top.
This table is available for purchase with all four chair sets mentioned, along with those respective matching colours
Table: 100-140cm x 100cm x 75 cm
Chair: 50cm x 60cm x 82cm, Seat Height: 44cm This item is available to Pre-Order and will be available from 06/05/2021
The Ibiza 80 and Ibiza 80 rectangular tables are designed to go with the Aruba chairs.
These tables in particular are a tip of the hat to 1920s Bauhaus design, a look as mentioned already that is back in vogue.
Four-pronged rattan legs that reminds one of the supporting base of the Eiffel tower made with a rattan weave and topped off with a laminated top that is UV and weather resistant.
Any fears that the Ibiza chairs might look too utilitarian are put to rest by these tastefully conceived tables.
There are also accompanying round-shaped table should the owner feel that such a look would be more appropriate to their place of work.
The smaller round Octopus 80 tables are a lighter grey in colour, which makes them adaptable to all the sets mentioned here, are available with for purchase with all four seat sets.
With a height of 75cm, and a diameter of 60cm, they only weigh 4.5 kg each, which makes them perfectly mobile.
Having high-leg short-width counter-tops as part of a given outdoor seating arrangement is a super-efficient way to economise on space, as are wall-mounted bar-counters affixed to outdoor partitions.
Such fixtures will require robust seating in the form of the bar-stool.
Siesta’s range of Bar Stools meet both the requirements of Irish weather, with material used in them being glass-reinforced like their range of outdoor chair seating. Siesta also deliver with design.
The Air bar stool is especially comfortable for those that may be not as partial to bar-stool as they would be to lower chairs.
A rattan weave back and seating base, with the latter boasting a very pronounced concave, ensures maximum comfort.
Air bar stools also come in a range of colours; as well as the subdued grey, white and taupe, Air bar stools are available in green and orange.
The latter colours are quite clever choices in directing customers towards the partition adjoining bar-stools.
This ensures that visitors to one’s bar and café outdoor terraces are encouraged to utilise economic use of space.
The Jamaica bar stool is very similar to the Air, albeit with a much tighter and closer flat rattan weave back and seating support. Available in dark grey and chocolate brown.
The Cross bar stool does what is says in its description; in place of a rattan weave support, it holds an X-shaped cross bar support.
The seating base is a single polypropylene support mould, again with a concave curve. Colours are grey and taupe.
Siesta offer both the Sky Bar Table and Riva Bar Table as part of their outdoor commercial collection.
Sky Bar Tables are foldable, and made with the same durable glass-reinforced resins found throughout all of Siesta’s catalogue.
Available in Grey and Taupe, and purchasable with the Air Bar and Cross Bar chairs as part of a set.
Riva Bar Tables are more subtly minimalist in finish. The Werzalit UV-protected top is supported by a single rattan-weave splayed leg, itself again reinforced by a squ7are aluminium base.
Coming in at a very stable 20kg in weight, the Riva Bar Table will ensure a firm and steady addition to the outdoor fronts of any café bar. Currently available with the Jamaica bar stools as part of a given set.
Hopefully this article has given the reader a somewhat more straight-forward idea on what to get for outdoor café bar terraces and shop fronts.
Siesta are, without a doubt, the premier commercial furniture producers to go to when considering cost-effectiveness with superiority of design and durability.
Where to Apply for The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme:
Guidelines on Regulations for Outdoor Business Furniture Layout:
Original Press Release March 31st: