Hospitality business owners in the UK are once again facing a period of uncertainty, following the government’s announcement to introduce a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.
The past six months has been an extremely tough ride for the hospitality industry. The fast-pace of changes has required business owners to quickly adapt product offerings and menus, communicate with staff more frequently, and leverage partnerships to build and sustain business throughout the crisis.
So how can business owners in the industry once again react quickly and effectively to the unprecedented changes? After a largely successful August due to the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with 64million meals claimed1, what steps should pubs, bars and restaurants be taking to tackle the next ‘phase’ of the pandemic, successfully?
Brett Smith, Customer Success Director at the workforce management platform, Planday provides some top tips to ensure a smooth, agile shift for employers and employees ahead of the 10pm curfew:
Re-introduce takeaway and delivery offerings
“During the first ‘phase’ of lockdown, many pubs, bars and restaurants launched very successful takeaway and delivery options, either independently or outsourcing to providers such as Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Now, we see many continuing to offer this service, even after the July re-opening.
“In addition, according to the global restaurant analytics company, Tenzo, 51% of people say they are concerned about going to a restaurant in the future2. Given the lack of uncertainty that remains around eating out, and the shorter opening hours due to curfew restrictions, it makes complete sense for businesses to diversify away from eating in once again.
“When putting your takeaway or delivery menus together, it’s important to consider profitability and look at the data you have, to ensure you’re keeping the best sellers on the menu. Make sure it is streamlined and simple to understand, and that you price items to make enough margin post-delivery charges.”
Protect your staff
“Your staff are your business’ greatest asset. This is a very scary and difficult time for them, as much as it is for you. Stay in touch with them, be transparent and share insights on your performance with them. As you make decisions about how to adapt to the 10pm curfew, include them in the journey too. Ask for their input, what would work best for them? Have they been inspired by how other businesses are confronting the changes?
“It’s also important to keep sharing insights on your performance to keep them engaged and protect their jobs.”
Continue to schedule around employee’s availability
“As the situation with COVID-19 continues to change rapidly, businesses need to be as quick and agile as possible, understanding that staff demand and availability can change in an instant.
“Following the 10pm curfew, a lot of last-minute changes to staff rotas will need to be made, but there’s no reason you can’t still coordinate a shift pattern that works for everyone. Use a system that enables employees to swap shifts, request open shifts, and offer their shifts to other employees with the right skill set. This way, you can ensure you are still working around their availability, whilst adhering to government guidelines.”
Be sure of the guidelines, and communicate with your customers
“In this unpredictable time, there are only two certainties which every business owner in the hospitality industry should consider: listen to the advice of the experts and authorities and protect yourself with good health and hygiene habits.
“Together, this can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and can help those who are most vulnerable get through and millions of businesses around the world bounce back. Be sure to communicate with your customers about the safety of dining or drinking in our establishment, and explain how you are adhering to the government measures.
“Use social media to provide regular updates and appear personable to customers, whilst also encouraging them to come and eat or drink with you!”