Are your clients high-end buyers? Then they might want an outdoor kitchen, says Joanne Bull, marketing manager for KönigOutdoor and Königstone. Here she tells us what you need to look out for when working on an al fresco kitchen/living design.
Q: Why and when did you launch KönigOutdoor?
A: We knew that the outdoor kitchen was gaining in popularity way before the pandemic. TV shows (sometimes from the Southern Hemisphere), garden centres, cookery channels – all seemed to point to outdoor living more and more. Our expertise in quality surfaces and worktops, and conversations with garden designers and architects led us to launch KönigOutdoor in 2022.
Q: What is KönigOutdoor?
A: The KönigOutdoor range combines stylish sintered stone-clad cabinetry with materials of proven durability. We've created standard-sized units that can be configured to suit the customer’s needs as well as offering a bespoke design service. We've teamed up with Neolith to provide eight colour options and we also offer a selection of high-end appliances to complete the package.
Q: What if the customer wants a kitchen in another colour outside of the chosen eight?
A: One of the bonuses of working with Neolith is the wide range of colours. If a customer sees a colour on the Neolith website, we can create a KönigOutdoor kitchen using it. We believe the eight we chose will be the most popular so it saves the customer from spending hours scrolling through loads of different shades.
Q: Why is the trend for outdoor kitchens gaining in popularity?
A: Historically, big events can change people’s priorities and we are confident that more value has been placed on spending quality time with family and friends at home, therefore creating a space for gatherings has increased importance.
Q: What key elements do architects and designers need to include when planning a cooking space specifically for outdoors?
A: Definitely stylish appliances that are not only suitable for outdoor use but also look great and give a fantastic cooking experience, similar to indoor appliances. It's also important to think about having usable surfaces for food preparation and food service. Stone surfaces such as granite or sintered stone are perfect as they are easy to maintain – simply wipe with a damp cloth and mild detergent or anti-bacterial spray to create a clean and hygienic surface.
Q: What are the most suitable materials for outdoor kitchen furniture and surfaces?
A: We believe the perfect material for an outdoor kitchen is sintered stone from Neolith which we use to clad our KönigOutdoor units, because it is resistant to extreme temperatures, scratches and UV rays so can withstand anything the British weather can throw at it. Furthermore, it is 100% natural, hygienic, easy to clean and waterproof with the added benefit of giving a sophisticated high-end aesthetic.
Q: What kind of customer should the designer be targeting for KönigOutdoor?
A: Definitely the high-end buyer who has disposable income. The KönigOutdoor range is made from high-quality materials and is made to stand the test of time. We have also chosen our appliances with this in mind – once you see and feel the quality of the built-in BBQ, you will know it holds the same quality as the whole outdoor kitchen.
Q: What has been the response from the market so far?
A: We have a customer base of kitchen retailers from our stone surfaces so we have encouraged quite a few to take a dive into the outdoor kitchen market, particularly those at the higher end of the market. We have also had a great response from companies that specialise in outdoor kitchens that are wanting to expand their current offering with a product of superior finish and quality for the more discerning customers who demand the very best. Garden architects and designers are important markets too, of course.
Q: Do you think the outdoor living trend is here to stay?
A: Definitely. With the consecutive lockdowns, it really showed us the benefits of time outdoors and although by and large life has returned to normal, we’ve been left with that renewed appreciation for our outdoor spaces, and more clients want their indoor and outdoor spaces to be as integrated and seamless as possible. Technological innovations such as retractable pergolas and clever outdoor heating have also opened up our gardens for longer periods of the year.
Q: What POS or 'training' will you provide designers who choose to specify KönigOutdoor?
A: We support designers and architects with literature including brochures, price lists and example configurations, as well as supplying samples of the eight Neolith finishes available as standard. Our sales managers are very well briefed on everything outdoor kitchen-related and offer training on the benefits of our cabinetry and the appliances that we supply. We also welcome visits to our factory in Kettering where we manufacture each order and are happy to provide support for any events or exhibitions.