The council in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, has just announced that cafés, bars and restaurants will have to standardise their chairs, tables, parasols and wind screens in order to help improve the appearance of the city.
Some people are against initiatives such as this, claiming the extra cost impacts on business in a time of continued crisis whilst being told what colour and style of tables and chairs you should have is a further jump down the road to nanny state-dom.
I don’t agree. I thinks it’s exactly the right thing to do. I do agree that it impacts on business… but in a positive way.
For a start, the stance Santa Cruz council is taking isn’t a new one. It’s happened elsewhere on Tenerife. The socialist council implemented similar in Puerto de la Cruz a few years ago, although credit was grabbed by the nationalists who replaced them and saw the initiative through to its conclusion.
Although there was some outrage, those of us who lived in Puerto de la Cruz watched an illuminating transformation. Bland and cheap looking white and green plastic affairs were replaced by far more stylish looking tables, chairs and cool umbrellas that weren’t just adverts for soft drinks manufacturers.
Whilst people were being outraged, we were thinking ‘wow, what a good idea, the place looks better than it has in years.’
Within months Plaza del Charco and Avenida Colón changed from looking slightly dated to looking modern and sexy. Cafés and restaurants suddenly looked more appealing, more inviting. We found ourselves stopping to look at menus in establishments that we hadn’t looked twice at in the previous six years.
There was a tangible sense of pride in the new look. Subsequently businesses upped their game all round. Menus became more imaginative and the décor inside was spruced up to match the outside.
Now as well as having a Canarian vibe, Puerto has a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan air about it… again. The spectre of 70s outdoor furniture banished.
Not everywhere else has adopted a similar approach. Parts of some Tenerife resorts have done it almost organically. These places usually come with the tag ‘upmarket’. Others still cling to the old plastic past. When I think about it, I’m more likely to pick a restaurant that doesn’t have plastic tables and chairs over one that does. Generally speaking one says to me ‘a commitment to quality’, the other says ‘doing it on the cheap’. It might be unfair in some cases, but that’s just the way it is.
Santa Cruz has taken a few years to follow suit. But it seems to be doing it right. The council are giving businesses a year to make the changes to help minimise the expense, there are tax concessions and some advertising on furniture will be allowed.
In the last couple of years, since the smoking ban was introduced in Spain, the number of tables and chairs outside cafés, bars and restaurants has increased by 50%.
The bottom line is if you’re going to have an expanded, bustling café society, which version is better for locals and visitors, and therefore businesses themselves in the long run? A shoddy, tired looking one or one that’s stylish and appealingly attractive?
Category : about tenerife
Subscribe : RSS 2.0