Window Shading for Coffee Shops
It wasn’t long ago that our group of lady friends from aerobics went out for breakfast at one of the swanky star-hotels in town. Going out for a breakfast morning has become an unmissable event for us ladies who are otherwise caught up in our families and professions. We wait for someone’s birthday as an excuse to get together for ribald, uninhibited, let-your-hair-down fun times, and breakfast works well as we can do the bunk from aerobics and meet, getting to work a few hours later than required, at least once a month. And we get glares or smiles from fellow breakfast goers, as we make quite a noise catching up and exchanging confidences and gossip.
We try out new restaurants as much as possible, going in for eclectic cuisines, and this time, we decided on a new coffee shop in a 3-star hotel that boasted a sumptuous breakfast spread. The smell of bacon and egg and aromatic coffee fanning the fanning mad embers of our hunger, we settled to a lazy and relaxed Wednesday morning breakfast. The decor was neutral but soothing, with an electronic waterfall against the far wall, and pop music playing softly in the background.
One of the girls is quite photophobic, and couldn’t handle the intensity of the natural light streaming in through the plate glass windows opposite our table, even after she changed places with me, as she insisted that the sunlight bouncing off the window frames bothered her. A few whispers in the manager’s ear brought the shades down, shading us from the glare. Much like wearing sunglasses!
But of course that wasn’t enough, being the bunch of boisterous ladies we are! One of the girls was quite OCD – the kind who straightened a place mat if it wasn’t angled right! Yes, we are a crazy bunch! Anyway, she brought our attention to the fact that the shades they used for the restaurant window was very poor quality. Sure, they did an okay job in cutting the intensity of light, but that just wasn’t the point. Supposedly Roman Shades, they were a sheer off-white synthetic fabric that had edges and sides that were completely askew! Imagine using such a contraption in a star quality restaurant! A child probably could have done a better job. And the panels had something like hollow metal tubes traversing their widths. I mean, that’s the pits isn’t it? And Rosemary started off about how we were paying establishment charges, and is this what we were paying for?
And that was it! She called the manager once again, and started quizzing him, and what did they think of their customers, huh? Did they think we were patsies to just accept anything they put out? Is this the kind of respect their patrons deserved? Yada, yada she went, rapid fire, picking up steam as she went along! The Maître D – well, he’d turned a nice shade of tomato red, really hot under the collar, apologising on behalf of the establishment, and after placating her, told her we could come back after a month for a complimentary breakfast buffet, just so he could show us that her opinion mattered. Well! Is that all it took for a freebie?
But light management and energy efficiency are huge considerations for commercial establishments. It is said that in recent years commercial floor space has been steadily increasing, and with it, in direct proportion, the energy consumption. Reducing energy consumption can increase revenues without having to increase sales, allowing hotels to be more competitive. Implementing simple energy efficiency measures can also increase the staff and customer comfort, increasing morale and satisfaction at the same time. In the hospitality industry, heating accounts for 60% of energy costs, while lighting constitutes 25%, a lot of it wasted energy.
Solar shades are window treatments that are designed to annihilate the harmful effects of the sun while maintaining an unobstructed view. They are precision crafted fabric that form flat sleek panels, comprising the basket weave that allows a wonderful view depending on its openness levels, the color also determining the thermal comfort it provides. If preserving the view is paramount, as it is for restaurants with a sylvan setting, using solar fabrics with wider spaces between weaves offer a better view. A shade comprising a 25% openness will provide a clear view while blocking 75% of the heat, while shades comprising a 10% openness will offer a fairly unobstructed view while killing 90% of the heat!
The color is a critical factor to consider before making a choice – the darker the shade, the more the light and heat that is absorbed, creating a warm toasty ambiance with no glare to irritate the staff at work and patrons striving to enjoy a meal. So dark shades create a darker ambiance but a clearer view. Conversely, the lighter the shade, the brighter the room and cooler a room, as light colors reflect light well but the glare is not dispensed with and the view is somewhat blunted.
The 25% LightWeaves Solar Shade from Graber made of a high performance fabric that has a silver reflective backing that deflects the sunlight away from the window, no matter the color of the fabric facing the room is a very important product to consider in areas like restaurants where thermal comfort, a fabulous view, and glare control are critical to a patron’s experience, in addition to putting away good food.
And this is what the Maître D explained to us when we went back for our complimentary breakfast, and boy! What a difference these shades made to the ambiance there. Sandra couldn’t stop gushing about it, much to the Maître D’s delight! Truly fitting for an elegant coffee lounge in a star hotel.