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Buy parasols for the hospitality industry: free tips for sturdy parasols that last for years

Pierre Christiaens | Biography
Buy catering parasols - example from the Grand Place in Bergen

Delen: Verspreid de boodschap, niet het virus.

What do you learn in this blog article?

• Warning: there are 2 types of parasols
How to choose the right parasol for your business
• How to earn more with your parasols
Why do parasols give more profit than other investments in your terrace?
• How do you determine the right size?
• Stormproof and windproof: request wind guarantee on paper

1. Discover the super parasol that gives wings to your catering terrace

There are 2 types of parasols:

  1. The wrong parasols: too small, not windproof, not waterproof. They only cost you money and bring you nothing.
  2. The right parasols: affordable, top quality, last for years + a return on investment.

The terrace as your business card  (especially the parasols)

There are also two types of customers: regular customers and casual passers-by. Your parasols are the business card that attracts passers-by. When the parasols are open, that’s the first thing people see. From far far away.

This is how you attract new customers. An open parasol means: this shop is open, you are welcome here.

More people on your terrace

The right parasol for your business will exude an attractive, classy image through, amongst other things

  • a nice, striking colour (preferably a different colour than the neighbours, so that you stand out)
  • large parasols stand out much more than small ones
  • well-maintained parasols tell passers-by that you also take care of your customers, your kitchen, the toilet, etc…

Now you attract more customers than your neighbour. That’s how you earn more thanks to your parasols. How much more? Do the test here:

2. Small, bigger, biggest? This is how to choose the right size for your parasol.

Restaurant owners ask me every day: “Tell me, Pierre, what is the right size for my parasols? I like to compare it to an umbrella you use to walk down the street in downpour.

Small parasols

Small folding umbrellas are a handy thing to carry. But they do not protect against the rain very well. Because they are so small, the rain falls under them at an angle and you still get soaking wet.

Buying the right hotel and catering umbrellas avoids staff frustration
Buying the right hotel and catering umbrellas avoids staff frustration

Every small parasol does stand on a base and a pole. The more small parasols, the more masts and parasol bases get in the way. They’ll hinder your customers and the service.

Get more out of your terrace with large parasols

The bigger your parasol, the better it shades your guests, your tables and your staff from sun and rain. A 5×5 meter parasol covers a very large area of 25 square meters. A 7×7 meter mega parasol will cover 49 square meters with just 1 parasol base.

Large parasols offer more opportunities to rearrange your tables and chairs for larger groups or couples. There are parasols in many different sizes:

Round parasols diameter in metersSquare parasols in metersRectangular parasols in meters
Ø 1,70 2×2 2,5×2
Ø 1,85 2,5×2,5 3×2
Ø 1,90 3×3 3,5×2,5
Ø 2,40 3,5×3,5 3,5×3
Ø 2,45 4×4 4×2,5
Ø 2,50 4,5×4,5 4×3
Ø 2,95 5×5 4×3,5
Ø 3,00 5,5×5,5 4,5×4
Ø 3,50 6×6 5×3
Ø 4,00 6,5×6,5 5×3,5
Ø 4,50 7×7 5×4
Ø 5,00  double parasol 5×4,5
Ø 5,60  2-part parasol 6×3
Ø 6,00  4-part parasol 6×4
Ø 6,50   6×5
Ø 7,00   7×3,5
Ø 7,50   7×5
Ø 8,00   7×6

3. How many parasols? At least 2!

Take into account that some customers want to sit in the sun and others in the shade. Therefore, buy at least 2 parasols. Now one can be opened and the other remains closed. This way you’ll keep all your customers happy.

Choose enough parasols: cover your terrace as much as possible. When the sun is hot, everyone wants to be in the shade. And when it rains, everyone wants to be under the waterproof canvas. Every seat that is not covered by a parasol remains empty. You’ll lose customers and make less profit.

4. Square or round? Round or rectangular ? The best shape for a catering parasol.

So you want to cover your terrace as much as possible. Avoid round parasols. Round parasols don’t fit well together. Parasols with straight sides do fit together nicely. This way, you’ll have less open space without any shade.

Ronde of vierkante horeca parasols kopen

‘Square is more convenient’

‘Square parasols are more practical than round ones. A square parasol also covers the corners and you can place the parasols neatly together for maximum protection against the rain or sun.’

Three-star chef Gert De Mangeleer (Hertog Jan, Bistro Less, Bar Bulot).

Ronde parasols diagramma
Between round parasols there is a lot of open space: there will be no shade, but there will be rain.
Vierkante parasols diagramma
Square parasols do fit well together.

Did you know that a square parasol provides 27% more shade than a round one of the same size? A big advantage for a professional!

Vierkant parasol schaduw diagramma
The square parasol provides 27% more shade than the round one.

How to make a sketch

Measure your terrace and make a drawing. Then you can be sure you’re choosing the right size for your parasols. And the right number of parasols.

Tip: Make sure you reserve more space for a full chair, as occupied chairs take up more space than empty ones. Make sure that each parasol is big enough to cover at least one table and chairs completely.

5. Do it yourself? Or do you work with a free professional parasol coach?

Most hotel and catering industry owners struggle with their parasols. They try to find many solutions but often miss the boat because they are not experts. This is a very expensive and cumbersome way to get the right parasols for your business. It can be much easier.

Contact a specialist in hospitality parasols. He’ll come and take a look at your terrace free of charge and give advice without any obligation. He will make a careful sketch and design your parasols in order to cover your terrace to the maximum. Make use of this offer. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel yourself.

What’s more: with the right parasols, you’ll have more time for what’s really important in your business: your customers. Request a free and no-obligation appointment with your parasol coach now.

Joachim Boudens over horeca parasols kopen

’Good advice pays off’

‘Good advice is important. Our parasols are telescopic. This saves us from having to move chairs and tables every time we want to open and close the parasols. We would never have thought of this clever solution ourselves. An expert thinks along with you.’

Joachim Boudens (three-star restaurant Hertog Jan, Bistro LESS and Bar Boulot).

6. Choose a smart parasol: go for a telescopic solution.

You will certainly recognise this: you want to open your parasols quickly and are eager to get started. Until you notice that the rib of the parasol bumps into your tables and chairs. Now you have to drag all the tables and chairs aside. Only then can you open the parasols.

And the same thing happens again when you want to close the parasols. What a drag!

Why is that? If your parasol is closed, the ribs will be lower than the top of the tables and chairs. This is the case for parasols longer than 2.5 metres. This is only the case for very small parasols.

Drawing of a catering parasol with telescopic system that closes above tables and chairs.

Avoid having to put away your tables and chairs when opening and closing your parasols. Choose a telescopic system.

7. Rain, storm and west wind

You have already experienced this: suddenly a strong wind blows. It blows the napkins off the tables and pickens up to strong wind gusts. Two parasols are given a firm push and one is blown over.

Frightened, you see how the parasol lands on a table. Glasses fall over, plates tumble onto the laps of the guests. Your guests jump right up, terrified.

More storms are coming

So says the leading American Berkeley Lab:

  • Global warming is already causing 5 to 10% more rainfall in storms than in the past
  • This could increase by another 15-35%
  • Wind speeds will soon be 18 to 28 kilometres per hour higher than at present
  • In extreme cases, that could even be 50 kilometres per hour more
Krantenartikels over stromen en parasols

Whether there are more storms coming our way or not, it looks like those storms are going to be heavier. And thus cause more damage. Prepare yourself with a storm-proof parasol.

Choose sturdy parasols

Of course, every supplier will tell you that their parasols are strong. Until you start using them. Don’t be fooled.

  • Ask your supplier why his parasols are stronger than other parasols. The diameter of the pole and the ribs are very important. The wall thickness of the tubes also plays a role.
  • Many cheap parasols have a pole in two parts. This is a weak point. Your parasol will break very quickly.
  • The material is also important. For example, one type of wood bends and cracks much more easily than another. There are many different qualities of aluminium.
  • Be careful with an offer like “hospitality parasol for sale, second-hand”. Second-hand is not always a good buy.
  • Choose a storm-proof, sturdy parasol base. Preferably concreted into the ground.
  • Have the parasols been tested? Is there any proof of this?

Anchor your parasols in the ground

Listen to an experienced catering man:

Geert Van Hecke

‘Into the ground’

‘We had our parasol bases concreted into the ground. This is a conscious choice, because it means the parasols are firmly anchored and we don’t have to move them. The feet also never stand in the way. I would do it again immediately.’

Three-star chef Geert Van Hecke (De Karmeliet, Zet’Joe De Refter)

Do you sometimes suffer from strong winds on your terrace? Concrete your parasol base in the ground.

Ask for a wind guarantee – on paper

Many suppliers do not dare to give figures. As a professional, you have the right to know these figures when you buy a parasol. A good supplier will write down how much wind each parasol can withstand.

  • Ask for a written wind guarantee.
  • Never leave your parasols open unattended. You never know what the weather will be like.
  • Act like a good family man: take no chances. Always close your parasols in case of strong winds. Your customers won’t be on your terrace anyway.
  • A parasol is storm-proof with wind forces up to 6 or 7 beaufort.
  • Be careful with floating parasols. Only a stable, professional floating parasol is stormproof.

Follow the weather forecast

How do you know when a strong wind is coming?

  • The easiest way is to follow the weather forecast. But are the forecasts always right? If in doubt, close your parasols.
  • Install on your smartphone the free app KMI (if your business is in Belgium) or AlertsPro (this app works almost worldwide and has to be paid for). This will give you a wind warning.
  • Beware of weather forecasts. They give the average wind force but it is the strongest gusts that will blow down your parasol.

Damage? Speak to your insurance broker!

Now you get a secret but handy tip. Do you have storm damage anyway? Usually, the damage to your parasols is also covered. Just ask your insurance broker. We have already helped many customers with this good advice.

Want to know more about how to keep your parasol upright in the wind? Click here now for a handy checklist:

8. Sturdy catering parasols: are they affordable?

Too many people discover the secrets of the right parasol by trial and error. They pay a lot of money to learn. If you add up all the prices, they pay a lot more than if they buy the right material straight away.

Whether it is a hotel, a restaurant or a cafe, these are the most common mistakes and problems:

  • Various types of parasols bought and replaced (often at expensive new prices)
  • Loss of turnover due to the wrong parasols:
    • Leaking
    • Too little shade
    • Wind damage, not storm-proof.
  • Loss of working hours: if you are busy with your parasols, you are not busy with the customers in your café or restaurant.

Are you looking for good, beautiful and affordable parasols for your terrace? How to avoid those unnecessary costs?

Calculate how much your parasols can yield

Suppose your terrace is open for 30 weeks, from mid-March to the end of October. According to the Misset Horeca Terrace Check, a terrace generates 300 euros per week and per chair. If your business is open six days a week, that means an output of 50 euros per chair per day.

If you follow just a few terrace tips from this article, you can increase the yield considerably:

  • Weather experts from the KMI (Belgium) calculated that from March to October, rain falls on 53% of the days. With waterproof parasols that protect you from the rain, you can welcome up to 53% more customers on your terrace.
  • Square parasols cover 27% more surface area than round ones. Square parasols therefore protect up to 27% more customers on your terrace.
  • The combination of these two tips alone will, in theory, improve the performance of your terrace by up to 80%.

Buy the right hotel and catering parasols for a higher return on your terrace

But let’s not exaggerate: imagine that, thanks to the right parasols, you earn just 1 euro more per day and per chair. That’s only 2% more than the average 50 euros revenue of a terrace chair .

If you have 30 chairs on your terrace, that means 30 euros a day. If you are open six days a week, that becomes €180 a week. So on a thirty week season you are talking about €5,400. If your parasols last four years, the total is €21,600.

  • For a terrace of 30 chairs you sell €21,600 more
  • If you have 40 seats, that goes up to €28,800.
  • And for 50 seats, the outcome is €36,000

36,000 euros if you increase the yield by just 1 euro per seat per day. A nice profit for which you only have to buy the right parasols. And with that extra revenue, you can pay for nice, quality top items. And then you’ve only applied two of my parasol tips.

Have your parasols sponsored by your suppliers

Have your parasols sponsored by your suppliers

Many guests come to eat and drink on your terrace. That is worth money for your suppliers. Some of them will be happy to help you pay for your parasols if they can advertise on the fabric.

  • Ask your biggest suppliers to support you
  • Allow them to print their brand logo in return
  • If advertisements on the sunshades are not allowed in your city, print the logos and slogans on the inside.
  • These brands, among others, often advertise on parasols: Jupiler, Hertog Jan, Duvel, Heineken, Brugse Zot, Omer, Mort Subite …

The government also pays

Apart from your suppliers, the government also helps to finance your parasols. The government? Yes, the government. Your investment will in fact provide you with a tax advantage throughout the entire depreciation period. Your accountant will certainly recommend this solution.

Invest as your parasols yield

Most hotel and catering managers buy their parasols themselves. But have you thought about leasing? This way, you’ll only have to pay for your parasols as they make your terrace more profitable. If you want to spread the payment of your parasols over several years, you shouldn’t choose the cheapest one. This will allow you to use indestructible and sustainable materials. If that’s not a sound investment.

This is what the specialist website Businessbox says about leasing:

You can use new material without having to make a big investment. If you buy, you immediately lose thousands of euros. If you lease the same equipment, you pay per month and do not have to make a large investment.


Think professional quality from the start

Otherwise, you may be tempted to buy cheap promotional parasols. These are made for private use at home. A professional catering business needs much more solid material that will last for many years. You don’t serve coffee in your restaurant from an ordinary coffee machine you use at home, do you?

Opt for the terrace investment that generates maximum profit: parasols

Many catering businesses invest more in terrace furniture than in parasols. This is understandable, as a beautiful table and a solid chair are important. But it’s the parasols that will make your terrace more profitable.

Or will your tables ensure that your customers can enjoy your terrace even in the bright sunshine? Will your chairs keep your customers dry when it rains? No. It is your parasols that will generate extra turnover on your terrace.

It does not matter what kind of catering business you have: this is true for a hotel, a restaurant, a brasserie, a café, a chip shop, a guest house or a resort.

Creative ways to finance your parasol in a handy checklist?

Conclusion: Buying a sturdy, storm-proof catering parasol is very affordable

Especially if you invest in the right professional parasol for your hotel, brasserie or restaurant. An investment in good material brings in money. It’s not a lost cost.

Take advantage of all the experience and information I have collected for you here. Free of charge. I’m convinced this article will give you the right knowledge to choose the right parasol.

Talk to an experienced parasol expert from the start

Do you prefer to put your precious time into your business and your customers? Feel free to contact a supplier that specialises in reliable catering parasols. They will come to your premises free of charge and, as a super service, will give you advice without obligation.

Go for a company that focuses on parasols for the hospitality industry. There are companies that offer everything and are not really specialists in anything. Think of Sligro, Overstock, Makro, Van Hoof, Metro, Sepia … If you sell thousands of different products, how can you possibly know everything about strong hotel and catering parasols? Wouldn’t you be better off with a company that chooses to only offer parasols and knows all about them? And that can also repair your parasols?

Would you like to know more? You can.

For more than 25 years, I have been gathering specialised knowledge about parasols for hotel and catering businesses. How to get more out of your terrace? Why does the right parasol make your terrace more profitable? And how to choose the right quality parasol?

In my book, I let you benefit from my years of experience.

Looking for parasols for sale? Get your free copy of the book ‘Pick the right parasol (and your terrace will be packed)’ here.

Boek 50 tips

“Pick the right parasol (and your terrace will be packed)”

25 years of experience of Pierre Christiaens bundled in 50 valuable parasol tips for the hospitality industry.

Delen: Verspreid de boodschap, niet het virus.

Pierre Christiaens
Contact me: christiaens @ symoparasols.com https://symoparasols.com

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