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Experts say hospitality industry need to consider safety in outdoor dining

Outdoor dining has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years cementing itself as an integral part of restaurant culture

OUTDOOR dining has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, cementing itself as an integral part of restaurant culture.

As more restaurants and bars are embracing al fresco, especially following the recent record breaking temperatures, facilities management company MSL Property Care Services say business owners need to ensure their outdoor spaces are safe for use.

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Jeremy Harrison, Manging Director of MSL, commented: “The right maintenance needs to take place to ensure outdoor spaces remain compliant and safe for the general public. Everything from your furniture to doors, walkways and ventilation need to be considered.”

They’ve identified some key considerations for business owners this year:

Planned Maintenance 
Implementing a maintenance schedule can help your business stay ahead of potential issues in outdoor spaces. Inspections will help ensure any issues are identified and acted on before they can escalate into larger problems and bigger repair fees.

Your schedule should include checking things such as:

  • Automatic and manual doors
  • Lighting and heating equipment
  • Ventilation in outdoor or temporary buildings

Harrison stated: “Incorporating a planned maintenance schedule into your business provides an excellent opportunity to not only save money on maintenance costs down the line, but also ensure business continuity. Inspections are especially crucial when dealing with outdoor facilities as inclement weather can lead to a range of issues arising that your indoor space wouldn’t be exposed to.”

Reactive responses

Outdoor spaces are likely to succumb to a range of problems from things such as poor weather, vandalism or increased wear and tear. Having a reactive team on hand to respond to any issues that arise, will help get your business back up and running in a timely manner.

Reactive teams can respond to a multitude of issues including:

  • Pest control
  • Flood damage
  • Vandalism

Daily checks

Ensuring the space is always clean and tidy is an integral part of customers having a pleasant and enjoyable dining experience. Having checklists with daily checks can help maintain this, and ensure customers are kept as safe as possible.

Restaurant staff therefore need to consider the following pointers to reduce any potential risk:

  • Ensure walkways are clear of trip hazards
  • Ensure there is nothing hanging from a roof cover
  • Ensure the space is weather protected
  • Ensure the floor isn’t a slip hazard
  • Serve drinks in plastic cups to avoid broken glass
  • Report any general issues they see

MSL advise that business owners consult with professionals to ensure their outdoor spaces remain compliant within the law. You can find more in MSL’s guide to the Importance of Health and Safety Compliance in Hospitality.

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