The UK hospitality industry has never had times this shocking – but at NFS we’ve been drawing together tips from across the sector that can provide a little help.
We know financial concerns and staff welfare are everyone’s priority – but in monitoring the industry, we’ve collected these positive thoughts from restaurants, hotels and bars:
Moving to a takeaway or delivery model? See it as not just a survival technique but as an extra stream of revenue when better times come. Example: BrewDog is using its Hop Drop app to allow customers to order.
Digital menus. Make sure they are online for easy ordering and quick updating. When normality returns, you could keep this up by using tablets at tableside.
Stay in touch. Your loyalty programme has never been more valuable. Even if you are closed, send regular bulletins to your customer mailing list – they will be longing for you to reopen as much as you are, so don’t simply vanish. Stay in touch with suppliers, too – they want to liaise with you.
Use social media To encourage conversations with customers. It’s free, and you now have the time to build deep relationships. Offer recipe tips, cooking videos, pass on news and chat – be as positive and uplifting as possible.
After-corona gift cards. This situation WILL pass – so why not ask customers to show their confidence and buy gift cards that are valid for six to 12 months, so they can use them when you re-open?
Training time Learn new recipes, encourage your staff to watch instructional videos – make some yourself – or take online courses. Good example: chef Tommy Banks said: “I can’t be the only chef who has loads of cookbooks that they have bought and never read? Now is the time.”
Review your entire business model. Crisis planning comes first, naturally, but if you do have downtime, use it to think how you might change things once the crisis ends. Restaurant layout, labour patterns, stock control technology, guest management, menus, marketing – take a good look at them all.
Make a community effort. If you are able, work to help the community – it’s the right thing to do and will stand you in good stead in future. Many NFS restaurant clients are working on community causes including hospitals and vulnerable people. It’s all about serve and survive.
What’s working for your business? If you have a positive tip to share, email Chris Cartmell at firstname.lastname@example.org