Making a High Street Impact

Cafe banners  have become the perfect solution to give extra advertising to many high street venues.

Whether it be discreet advertising or bold, proud advertising, the cafe barriers you choose will identify  you in a crowd.

The Almanack Kenilworth


Take a look at the image above. The Almanack in Kenilworth has no illuminated signage. However, matching awnings and cafe barriers more than make up for the branding requirement.



Coffee #1 not only brand their cafe barrier system, but also convey an important message to the public. “We have been voted #1 coffee chain in the UK!” Where else can this message be made known?  If you were walking by and noticed two cafes next to each other, one of which is saying it’s been voted the best in the UK, the other not saying anything, which would are you most likely to head toward?

Crepe Affair


Crepe Affair want everyone to know that they don’t only do Crepes. Displaying the key elements of their menu on each banner gives a indication of other foods available to the public without over branding their alfresco area.

Burger King – Cardiff


As almost everyone knows what Burger King’s menu has on it, they just need to know where they are. Bright bold corporate colours are used showing their logo and tagline on alternate panels in white.

Nearly every store front is flat. Any potential client walking from the left or the right up through a high street are not going to see the logo you have on the front of your building.

Compare the Burger king layout to that of coffee #1.  The “L” shape arrangement at Burger King ensures approaching clientele are aware that there is a Burger King on the High Street. Not so much with Coffee #1 unless you’re approaching from the front.




Leon take a similar approach to Burger King, “We’re here!” they yell, with their bright colours and bold text. The cow banner shown here, upside down,  naturally grabs attention. A human being can’t ignore unnatural occurrences.  As we sit here and look at the banners thinking, “wow, very clever.”  It later transpires to be an oversight by a staff member.



The Debenhams Cafe Barriers do not need to be over branded. Using their barriers more for cordoning off the area from other merchandise. They have managed to silently create a wall giving their customers the following message:  “our restaurant starts here, the shop ends here”

So, now when cafe barriers are needed.


The Subway Store above. A Well known brand, a great customer base, an easily recognisable logo. But… approaching this subway from the right, what notice do you receive that the Subway is actually there?  None, because their competitor, Greggs the Baker, is blocking the only available signage with their own. This being the protruding sign from the wall above the awning.  Okay, so lets approach from the left. Oh, wait…Nationwide Building Society are blocking the same sign from the left.

So how do Subway overcome this?

Using the system that Burger King utilise, Subway can overcome this problem for potential clients approaching from the left.


The plan above shows a simple cafe barrier facing the left. Another cafe barrier system is placed on the right behind the existing Greggs barrier, however, the Subway barrier is taller.  A well placed logo immediately indicate their presence. Review for more information



Selecting Cafe Barriers

For the third time this week, we have been asked to replace Cafe Barriers of unknown origin which fall far short of the quality required for street furniture.

So we’ve put together a few tips for you when you’re selecting a cafe barrier system. See for original products

  1. The PostsIf the system is for external use, ensure it is manufactured in stainless steel.  Many systems sold are produced in mild steel and chromium plated. The system will start life looking fine, but within just three months you will notice a deterioration and a flaking of the chrome plating.  Whilst this finish is fine for internal use away from any entrances, externally it is both a health and safety liability and an eyesore.IMG_2050[1]
    The image above shows two supports, the bottom manufactured in mild steel and chrome plated, whilst the top Brandline support is manufactured in marine grade stainless steel. Both products were subjected to 90 days external ambience.


    If you plan to purchase a painted system (black posts etc), again ensure the substrate is Stainless Steel.  Depending on the coating used, extra protection can be given, however eventually corrosion will take over if a mild steel substrate is used.

    What weight should they be? 

    This is a tough one. Whilst many providers will tell you that it is better to have  cafe barrier posts which weigh only 12 Kgs so that your staff can take them in to your building effortlessly every evening, what they’re not going to tell you is that the posts are likely to be falling over every 10 minutes on windy days unless you’ve managed to weigh them down some how.  We suggest the minimum weight of a post be 16 kgs.  Our barriers start at 18 Kgs and work their way up to 25 Kgs.  We also have surface mounted and floor socketed cafe barriers if you’re really stuck. (You may need planning permission for the latter)

    Bungee or Bottom beam?

    We will hardly ever supply a banner between two posts which is held in place with elastic bungees.  The main reason for this is that the lower or bottom beam is set at a height which acts as a lower tapping rail for the visually impaired.  Having loose bungee chords will not act as a barrier.  Xtracs have chosen this path since the disability discrimination act (DDA) was amended.

    Base Shape?

    Ensure you look for a system with graduated base weights allowing easier access for prams, push chairs and most importantly wheel chair users.  Remember access to your property is subject to the DDA and your responsibility.

    Avoid sharp edges.

    The image below, again shows a support from a cafe barrier post.  As can been seen in the image the material is very thin and has already started to distort. Signs of heavy corrosion are evident.


    Furthermore, the beam ends used already exhibit very sharp edges. The system was only a few weeks old when we were asked to replace it due to customer catching the clothing.



    Ensure you source from a company that is willing to provide a warranty. If the construction of the posts are appropriate, any reputable company should give a guarantee of at least two full years.

  2. The Cross Beams & Beam Ends.The most common failure of Cafe Barriers is the cross beam end. The reason for this is that the end is the most handled part of the system and the one which takes most of the force.

    The ends have to be secured to the post. The image below shows a system of cafe barriers in which the user can just place the cross beams into the post. There is no securing methods, the weight of the cross beam will hold the system together.

    The problem with this system is that as soon as a gust of wind develops, the banner will bellow and the top beam is ejected from location.


    As you can see from our system above, a small sprung loaded lever has been integrated into the system to ensure cross beams are locked into place.

    Materials of Beam Ends.

    Our beam ends are turned.  Although this is an expensive manufacturing process, it is also one of the strongest.

    Many cafe barrier producers use a common and cost effective method of producing the beam ends. This is casting. As the cafe barriers are handled roughly during their lives casting is a poor solution and will undoubtedly end in failure. The image below shows the material construction in casting. Very brittle and easy to break. We replace around 20-30 competitor beam ends per week.


    Cross beams.

    The cross Beams should be at least anodised Aluminium.  Untreated aluminium will exhibit signs of white corrosion which, in turn, cause an unacceptable appearance and will stain the banner.







New Awning Recovers

Brandline / Xtracs recently refurbished two traditional awnings for a new restaurant in London called Macelleria Italiana. We stripped down the awnings systems removing the canopies and cleaning the arms, boxes and front profiles. Once completed we fitted two new canopies and valances branded with the clients logo and website details. Below you will see pictures during the installation and then the completed project.



Another job well done and another happy customer!

Almanack in Kenilworth Refresh

The Almanack Free House in Kenilworth recently re-branded and chose the Xtracs Brandline systems to freshen up their alfresco areas.

Choosing to go for two tone branding in orange and blue, the three awnings and all of the Cafe Barrier Banners were sewn using UV stable canvas. One of the advantages of coming to Xtracs is that the banners and awnings are sewn in house and therefore the material will always match.

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Giant umbrellas in Starbucks.

Brandline’s recently carried out the refurbishment of two 4m square giant umbrellas for Starbucks Coffee in one of their flagship stores in London. Both umbrellas were looking very tired and dirty so our engineers attended site, removed both of the umbrella membranes, cleaned down the entire umbrella frame and then fitted two new OEM acrylic membranes on the umbrellas that were sign written with the Starbucks Coffee logo to each valance. Once completed both umbrellas looked and operated like new.

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Xtracs @ Cafe Culture

A word of thanks to all of the kind people that visited our stand at Cafe Culture this year. The feed back has been fantastic and it was probably one of the most successful exhibitions we have attended in recent times.

The pictures below show the stand and the products we were exhibiting. From Umbrella Wrapping machines, to Light Pockets. From Cafe barriers through to Furniture and Giant Umbrellas.

Our Sales team have been busy contacting all of the attendees.

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