Cheers: How to make your beer garden a success
Tips and tricks for operators
Restaurateurs have to pay attention to a lot of things to make sure their beer gardens are well received by guests and generate revenue. In addition to atmosphere, range of products and service, professional warewashing technology is also important in outdoor food service. As beer with a beautiful foam crown can only be properly enjoyed with perfectly clean glasses.
Drink a refreshing beer with friends in summer temperatures and simply switch off. What could be better than a cosy beer garden? Provided the atmosphere, range and service are right – and of course as long as the quality of the beer is impressive. Then guests and hosts alike will get their money's worth. Restaurateurs therefore need to know exactly what beer garden fans around the globe enjoy.
Around the globe…? That's right. As the Bavarian "invention" from the early 19th century has long been an export hit. The longing for traditional German cosiness in beer, pretzels & co. knows no bounds. So this relaxed form of outdoor food service is now even booming in bustling New York. Of course, not only there. But also in many other metropolises and corners of the world.
Below we provide some great tips for successful beer gardens in food service. Including an additional tip for professional warewashing technology.
Königlicher Hirschgarten in Munich
Probably the largest traditional beer garden in the world ... of course in Bavaria. Up to 8,000 dinner guests are served on beautiful days in the Königlicher Hirschgarten in the centre of Munich. And we have been doing so for more than 200 years. Under large chestnut trees, guests enjoy hearty dishes such as traditional roast pork or chicken, grilled chicken or desserts such as ice cream and cake. In keeping with good old tradition, guests may also bring their own snack. They then buy the drinks from the host. The freshly tapped beer comes from the Augustiner and König Ludwig breweries and from the ducal Tegernsee brewery.
1. Shady spots
Fresh air, blue skies and sunshine – that's what people love about beer gardens. But sitting in the blazing sun all the time...? Not everyone's cup of tea. That's why it's important to provide enough places in shade. Trees, large plants and sun umbrellas are also a must for ice-cream parlours and other outdoor catering establishments.
2. Comfortable chairs
Comfortable and attractive furniture is equally important. Then guests like to stay for longer. The furniture should also be weatherproof. Otherwise, sooner or later, comfort and appearance will suffer, and the beer garden guests will no longer feel quite as comfortable. So it is better to invest in high-quality tables, benches and chairs from the outset.
3. Friendly and quick
Friendly staff who know the menu almost by heart? Absolutely! Indecisive guests can therefore be helped quickly. Especially since "typical" visitors to beer gardens do not want to lose time when ordering. They would prefer to enjoy the beautiful hours of the day. Preferably with unobtrusive background music.
4. Short menu
Speaking of menus: offering only a small selection of food is often the right approach in beer gardens. Simple summer dishes are preferable to elaborate menus. This way ordering is a much faster process. Another advantage: some things can be prepared or put together right outside. For example: salad plates, barbecued sausages or meat loaf with potato salad as well as finger food from the buffet. This saves the staff the trip to the kitchen – and the restaurateur a lot of time.
The drinks menu, however, should always be lavishly stocked. Especially with different types of beer. And this is exactly where highly efficient food service dishwashers are brought into the equation.
Which country drinks the most beer?
Contrary to popular opinion, the "world champions" of beer drinking are not the Germans. According to Statista, the Czechs and Austrians have the lead here (as of 2017). Per capita consumption has risen sharply in recent years in China, Vietnam and India. Europe's largest brewing nation, Germany, currently exports most of its beer to the Far East.
What do beer garden guests expect from a fresh beer? That it is well tapped, delights the eye and tastes good. This requires clean glasses. And really clean glasses. Water stains or residues such as old foam, lipstick and fingerprints, on the other hand, cloud the pleasure. And quite considerably so. They are not only unaesthetic but also unhygienic according to HACCP.
This also always makes beers look flat and stale. Because even the world's best tapper cannot get a perfect foam crown with poorly washed glasses. Yet clean glasses are just as important to a beer garden as mustard on a sausage.
This is how to get the perfect foam crown
The best results can be achieved with damp glasses. So simply rinse the clean glass quickly with clear water before tapping. This results in less foam and the beer does not overflow so quickly. This allows the crown to be topped up gradually within three minutes.
The problem is usually "own brand" cold water washing devices or mobile washing tables. Solutions like these cannot compete with commercial dishwashers in terms of cleanliness and hygiene. Also because the general hustle and bustle in beer gardens lends itself to superficial washing by hand.
One way or the other, only professional dishwashers such as those from German warewashing technology specialist MEIKO lead to optimum dishwashing results. Without residues or having to polish.
When restaurateurs take these tips to heart, their beer gardens flourish and fill their restaurants with satisfied guests. People who feel comfortable there, like to come back and bring friends with them. That is the goal.
Read more: in our article "7 tips for clean glasses" we explain how restaurateurs should deal correctly with glasses.