Hospitality venues seize the possibility of outdoor areas

November 15, 2021 | General

Just how important are outdoor areas to the future of hospitality?

Competition is heating up across the industry with NSW Government providing cash and regulatory incentives for the conversion of outdoor space into dining and drinking areas. Key initiatives of the $66 million Alfresco Restart package include:

  • Temporary easing of rules on the conversion of outdoor areas such as club carparks and bowling greens into dining and drinking areas
  • $5,000 grants to establish new alfresco settings

There is a sense of urgency as the temporary easing of approval processes will expire on 18 April 2022.

Changing expectations

“There is no doubt that adapting space – especially outdoors – is an immediate priority,” says Nick Healey, General Manager of Design for Paynter Dixon.

“There is a realisation that coronavirus is here to stay. For the hospitality sector, venues are faced with transitioning to an environment where social distancing and other health measures become the norm of their operating model – not a temporary solution.

“In the past two years, we have all become more aware of personal space, and how that can impact levels of comfort. Changing public attitudes are an important consideration in the design of services moving forward.”

Air quality has also emerged as an issue for discerning patrons.

“Outdoor areas have immense versatility, but the relationship to the indoor environment is vital to success.”

Customer experience is paramount

Paynter Dixon is renowned for smart design and innovation. The movement of people around clubs is a prime example of how design has improved the patrons’ experience.

From voids in floors to visually connect club patrons between different levels, recessed floors for separate lounges or gaming areas, through to the use of multiple escalators and glass-enclosed lifts to provide effortless movement.

Paynter Dixon’s expertise was called upon to create a multi-faceted entertainment venue for the Pittwater RSL Club in Mona Vale. Discrete food and beverage offerings connect to a terraced area, parent’s outdoor spaces and children’s play areas. Importantly, construction took place without impacting day-to-day operation of the club.

Continuing a long-term partnership, Paynter Dixon is now engaged to convert the carpark’s top level into a spacious outdoor dining area. The auditorium will also convert to a bar and lounge – showcasing craft brewing facilities.

Dormant rooftops can present new possibilities of income generation in the right hands. Paynter Dixon recently completed the Lady Banks bar on the roof of the Flinders Centre commercial tower at Bankstown, basking in 360 degrees views of the Sydney skyline. Remarkably, the relationship with Bankstown Sports Club spans more than over 30 years.

Exploring revenue streams

“We work closely with clients to explore ways of diversifying service offerings with an eye to attracting new patrons and creating revenue streams,” says Nick.

“We identify opportunities and constraints across areas – from acoustics to managing light pollution. This open approach informs the design, delivering a superior outcome on budget.”

While there is an anticipated rush to convert outdoor spaces, Nick advises club operators to move carefully and contact Paynter Dixon for an open discussion.

“The government is urging the hospitality sector to act quickly, but clubs should avoid cutting corners when it comes to planning and project execution.

“The right conversation will take you forward with confidence. We build relationships which go beyond bricks and mortar.”

For further information, contact Executive General Manager, Matthew Greene, Paynter Dixon: