SATISFYING A POST-COVID OUTDOOR APPETITE FOR SHOPPING AND DINING

26 Jul 2021

As shopping parks report that footfall is back to pre-Covid levels and the drive-through restaurant and takeaway sector booms, a large proportion of the public are clearly seeking out facilities and experiences where they can stay away from crowded indoor places.

The semi-outdoor setting of retail parks where shoppers can drive to by car is becoming a powerful draw for some as the Guardian reported recently, and this is helping to fuel the recovery for a sector that has been hit hard through lockdowns and restrictions.

Covid’s impact on the public’s behaviour and preferences will live long so it makes sense to ensure that any outdoor spaces at shopping parks – and, in fact, on any commercial or public premises – are used to their full potential. 

Courtyards, pedestrianised streets, large pavements, grassy areas close to buildings and even underused car parking areas could be transformed for use as outdoor dining, seating or events spaces. These will be attractive to many members of the public for the foreseeable future, so it makes good commercial sense to invest now.

The drive-through dining trend shows how businesses are capitalising on the public’s current appetite. Another report by the Guardian highlights that a desire for social distancing ‘is feeding an appetite for a new generation of US-style drive-through restaurants’ here in the UK.

Expansion continues by established brands such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks, but further new drive-throughs are planned by companies not usually associated with this kind of dining, including Wendy’s, Five Guys, and a new venture into this arena by Leon. These diners all feature outdoor dining areas which are often extremely popular in the right weather conditions.

For the owners and managers of retail or food and drink premises seeking to invest and create new functional, sales-generating spaces, one of the most important considerations is ensuring you have the right power infrastructure in place. 

Electricity is needed as and when required for powering equipment such as market stalls, food and drink outlets, tills, lighting, digital displays and heaters, but temporary generators are uneconomical for long term use. They can be noisy and look unattractive if not hidden away behind screens.The solution is to install a retractable, pop up power unit or an in-ground power unit. These are easy to use and can be configured to provide the number of power sockets required, as well as to provide water, gas and data connections.

The range of solutions by Pop Up Power Supplies®, which are submerged into the ground, is already providing this on-demand access to power on numerous commercial and public premises across the UK. These include Covent Garden, Gallions Reach Shopping Park, Stamford and Rugby town centres and Lord’s cricket ground.

Pop Up Power Supplies’ range of retractable pop up units allow users to raise the unit from the ground with ease, so cables can be connected, and it is lowered back down at the end of trading until it is needed again. In ground power units offer access via a flip-lid which can be used while locked down for an extra degree of public safety and security.

Each power unit has lock protected access to prevent public access and maximise safety. Only short cables need protrude from the power unit and when connected these can be covered by cable protectors to prevent trip hazards.

To find out more about the range from Pop Up Power Supplies® please contact us or call 020 8227 0208.