Space is always a premium resource in the food service industries. Just check out any city centre cafe or eatery and you’ll see some of the most creative uses of customer space. It’s a fine art. From catty-corner-style tables to domino lines of two-seaters which need to be pulled out, restaurateurs are desperate for usable space. However, this creativity comes at a cost.

What the Customers Think

There can be something very attractive about the hustle and bustle of a busy and popular cafe. It tells the customer the place is popular and the food is good. But too busy and too hustled can be a turn-off too. With our everyday lives becoming fuller and more pressured, many people are turning to eating out as an escape from some of that stress. What many customers are on the look out for is a nice, busy but spacious eating location – one in which the waiters can glide easily around tables and where you don’t have to ask the neighbouring table to let you out.

Crunching the Numbers

But as anybody in the food and beverage sector will tell you, making a profit is all about margins. Too generous a portion and you lose money, too much elbow room and too few tables and you might as well close the doors or face running at a loss. So what are the alternatives?

Create Space Where You Can

It sounds obvious, and a couple of tables outside the door can be charming, but it’s hardly going to put you in profit. What’s more, most locations don’t have the pavement space, and for those that do, how many perfect al-fresco days can you expect in the UK?

This is where creating outdoor space can come into play. Look into how your local council zones areas, and take the time to do some research on tensile fabric structures. These canopies are ideal for creating roof-like structures in places where roofs are not permitted. Check out for inspiration.

And don’t forget that outdoor restaurant space has other advantages too. Outside tables are a great way for potential customers to see what’s on the menu. And once those tables are full, and if the food looks great, they’ll soon head indoors.