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Has the smoking ban been a drag?

A year on from the implementation of the smoking ban, Martin Rayner of  Broadview, talks about the impact it has had on business.

“When the Government imposed a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in July 2007 it meant big adjustments for many commercial businesses, especially those within the hospitality and leisure industry. One year on and it is evident that the smoking ban is now dominating the landscape, changing the way hospitality operators work.

Working closely with the industry Broadview has witnessed an increase in sales of commercial awnings and parasols as operators look for ways to adapt to the smoking ban in an effort to minimise any ‘singe’ on takings.”

Martin Rayner has worked with a host leading pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels in the lead up and during the smoking ban, including Hall & Woodhouse, the independent brewer and pub operator, Subway and the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, to provide suitable outdoor solutions.
Martin continued: “Competition has been fierce within the commercial awnings industry since the introduction of the ban, with many new businesses attempting to enter the industry to capitalise on the smoking ban. Those that are thriving are the businesses that offer a comprehensive package of high quality products, sound advice on the legislation and product solutions that adhere to the new regulations – and these are all points that Broadview prides itself on.

“When the smoking ban was originally proposed there was widespread opposition from businesses, mainly in the hospitality industry, which felt that a smoking ban would severely harm profits and there was also confusion about the ‘50 per cent rule’ regarding areas in which people could smoke. 12 months on, the reality is that people haven’t stopped going out for dinner or to the pub but the frequency and choice of establishments has been influenced by the ban. The pavements at the front of many pubs, restaurants and cafes are suddenly overflowing with people since the law came in to effect, as customers enjoy a cigarette with their drink in the only public place they are legally allowed to do so – outside.

With more people now socialising outside establishments there is no doubt that the cultural change delivered by the smoking ban is huge. As a result, the need for comfortable smoking facilities has caused a boom in the supply of outdoor facilities, such as awnings and parasols, which create the perfect alfresco environment and enable operators to increase covers and ultimately turnover. Broadview has worked with a range of businesses, small and large, to provide solutions for the smoking ban, and it is evident that motorised awnings are becoming more popular as the easy-to-operate controls ensure user-friendliness. The latest revolution in the awning industry concerns more than the addition of a motor. Instead, high-net worth buyers have started to request for awning systems to be linked to a computerised control panel to enable operation.

“As the popularity in awnings increases within the commercial industry we are beginning to see a growing interest in the product within the consumer market. A reason for this is because consumers are looking to replicate and enjoy a comfortable alfresco environment at home.

“A major lesson learned from Ireland and Scotland is that the smoking ban has not been the devastating blow against tobacco usage as anticipated, highlighting that the ban to date is not encouraging many smokers to quit. Certainly, businesses in England who have adapted their facilities appear to be benefiting from increased food sales and the addition of outdoor space, which has attracted more customers than usual. Looking ahead it is expected that things will settle down considerably in our new post-smoking ban era and that England will embrace a continental-style alfresco culture.”





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