5 creative ways to pay for your parasol – or let them pay for themselves

With a new catering business, parasols are often last on your list of priorities. You have already used up your budget and have no money left to pay for parasols. That’s a pity, because good and attractive parasols will make your terrace more profitable. Learn here how you can approach this problem in a different way.

Make budget available right from the start to buy good quality parasols

There is a tendency to buy cheap parasols, but these are usually intended for private domestic use. A professional business needs something better. You don’t make the coffee in your restaurant with a domestic coffee machine, do you? So why cut corners with your parasols?

Calculate how much money your parasols earn you

Your terrace is open for roughly 30 week a year: from mid-March to the end of October. According to the Misset Catering Terrace Check in August 2017, a terrace earns about 300 euros per week per chair. If your business is open six days a week, this means 50 euros per day per chair. If you follow some of the tips in this book, you can increase this figure significantly:

  • Weather experts have calculated that there is rain on 53% of the days from March to October. Good parasols can protect your customers from this rain, so that you can welcome people to you terrace 53% more frequently.
  • Square parasols cover 27% more surface area than round ones. Square parasols therefore mean you can have 27% more customers on your terrace.
  • With just these two tips, you can theoretically increase the return of your terrace by 80%.

But let’s not exaggerate. Imagine that thanks to the right parasols you can increase your terrace turnover by 1 euro per chair per day. That is just 2% more than the average of 50 euros per chair per day calculated by Misset Horeca Terras Check. If you have 30 chairs on your terrace, this means 30 euros per day. If you are open six days a week, this means 180 euros per week. And if you have a season of 30 weeks, this means 5,400 euros per year. Assuming your parasols last for four years, this means a total of 21,600 euros over their full lifespan. For a 30-chair terrace. If you have 40 chairs, this increases to 28,800 euros. And for 50 chairs, it’s 36,000 euro.

36,000 euros if you can increase your terrace return by just a measly 1 euro per chair per day. A return that can be yours if only you are smart enough to choose the right parasols. And all on the basis of just two of the 50 tips in this book. Imagine what you can achieve if you also apply the other 48.

  • Many catering businesses keep as many chairs free indoors as they have chairs outdoors, so that if it starts to rain, there is room for the people outside to come inside. But if you have the right parasols, this precaution is no longer necessary, so that your indoor chairs will also give a higher return.
  • Lighting in your parasols attracts more customers after dark.
  • Built-in heating in your parasols attract more customers on cold days.


No more saving seats inside

“Later in the evening it gets colder and darker. In the past, many terrace diners wanted to move inside in the middle of their meal. Chaos. Thanks to the lighting and heating in our parasols, they can now remain comfortably seated outside. Waterproof fabric also prevents people from rushing inside at the first sign of rain. We no longer keep places free indoors. This allows us to book more people and increase our turnover on rainy days and chilly nights.

Sommelier Joachim Boudens (three-star restaurant Hertog Jan and Bistro LESS)

Extra parasoltip

If your parasols yield 1€ per day per chair extra, why wouldn’t  you raise your prices a little bit ? If you earn 1€ extra per day and per chair, your parasols are simply paid by a very small price increase.

Have your parasols sponsored

You welcome many guests to your terrace. Guests who spend money on food and drink. This means cash in the pocket for many of your suppliers. Some of them may be willing to help pay for part of the cost of your parasols in return for allowing them to advertise on the canopies.

  • Ask your biggest suppliers if they would like to financially support your parasol purchase.
  • In return, let them advertise on the parasols, perhaps with a company logo.
  • Advertising on parasols is not allowed in your town? Do it on the inside of the canopy; that’s not usually a problem in most places.

Apart from your suppliers, the government will also be happy to help sponsor your parasols. The government? Yes, the government! Your investment in parasols is tax-deductable over their full lifespan. Your accountant can tell you for how much.

Pay for your parasols as they earn

Most catering businesses buy their own parasols. But have you ever thought about leasing? This allows you to pay for your parasols in function of the amount of money they earn for you on your terrace. And parasol leasing is also tax-deductable. A real sunshine investment.

Opt for terrace investments that give the biggest return: parasols

Many hotels, restaurants and cafés invest more in their terrace furniture than in parasols. This is understandable, because a nice table and good chairs are important. But they don’t increase your return in the way that parasols do. Will people still be sitting at your nice table if they have to sit in a blazing sun? Will your good chairs keep them dry if it starts to rain? I know I am repeating myself, but it is the most crucial tip of all: find enough budget right from the very start to buy good quality parasols for your terrace – then watch your income soar.

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

50 parasol tips for the catering world

The book of 'parasologist' Pierre Christiaens for the
catering professional who wants to get more out of his business.

Pierre Christiaans

"Parasologist" and author

How can you get more out of your terrace? Why can the right parasol help to make your terrace more pro table? And how do you choose the right parasol?

In this book, ‘parasologist’ Pierre Christiaens offers insights based on his more than 25 years of experience and know-how in the world of parasols for catering businesses. With dozens of awards, his company Symo Parasols is most highly acclaimed parasol producer under the sun.

Pierre is most proud of his honorary title as ‘Maestro dell’Artigianato’ (Master Craftsman) of the City of Rome.

Symo Parasols also created the famous Sywawa ‘Sunbelievable’ design parasols.

In 2007, Unizo nominated Pierre Christiaens as the most creative entrepreneur of the year.

This book allows you to benefit from that creativity and entrepreneurial skill.
Because with the right parasol you can get so much more out of your business.