Given the UK’s long winters it’s a shame not to make the most of balmy summer evenings and the short lived summers we do get, with a spot of outdoor dining. When the weather is behaving in Blighty, Brits love nothing more than to eat outside - just look at how often supermarket barbecue sections are left with nothing but bare shelves save for a sad, lonely single packet of burger buns! And if you’re a restaurateur or hotelier with space for an al fresco dining area, you’re in luck…because according to Big Hospitality, 79% of UK diners would increase their dwell time in a restaurant if they could dine outdoors.

So if you’re looking to make your outdoor dining experience memorable, here’s our recommendations of how to take it to the next level.

  • Consider your table linen

Tablecloths are the best way to add elegance to an outdoor dining experience, and they’re not without their practicalities too. Staff will spend less time cleaning down and more time looking after guests, while the cloths do a brilliant job of hiding scuffed, old tables underneath. Our Amalfi range is easy to launder, with supreme stain resistance and a range of sizes to suit most table lengths and widths. Available in 34 colourways, with napkins to match, you can really get creative and strike a whole new mood and experience outside.

  • Classy and glassy!

Glassware can be a tricky one when it comes to al fresco dining mainly due to difficulties in cleaning up any breakages. Shatterproof glassware and stemless wine tumblers are a worthwhile investment, especially if you hold an alcohol license and plan on serving drinks to guests enjoying the summer evenings long into the night. Thank us later!

  • Get dressed up

We don’t mean enforce a dress code, rather here we’re talking about dressing up your tables in an attractive yet practical way for al fresco affairs. Citronella candles keep bugs at bay and set the mood when the sun goes down. If you usually have flowers on your tables inside, you may wish to add wild flowers in jam jars, such as Cowslip and Meadowsweet to your tables outside - these are a dainty, sustainable and cost effective floral option.

Al fresco dining

  • Part of the Furniture

When it comes to your outdoor dining furniture you want something that is comfortable, sturdy and practical for storing. There is also weather resistance to consider - after all this is England and we all know we can go from glorious sunshine to blustery showers within the space of an hour or two! These bistro sets are a classic option, which are weatherproof and will still look contemporary in summers to come.

  • Look the Al Fresco Part

You want your waitstaff looking the part and personalisation of table linens and staff uniforms is an easy way to create a professional look for your al fresco experience. Front of house staff with matching aprons instantly feel ready for a busy service and look in-keeping with the restaurant. Our chef bibs aprons have been a popular choice, especially because they can be embroidered with any logo, image or artwork, in almost any thread colour.

Whatever you’ve got planned for the summer months, we hope our tips inspire you to make your al fresco dining experience that bit more special in 2022. We can’t wait to see your outdoor dining spaces - make sure you tag us in your social media images @richardhaworthlinens so we can repost our favourites