The UK hospitality industry has never had times this tough – but at NFS we’ve been compiling tips from across the sector that can provide a little help.
We know financial concerns and staff welfare are top of everyone’s mind – but in monitoring the industry, we’ve found these positive thoughts from restaurants, hotels and bars:
- Moving to a takeaway/delivery model? See it as not just a survival technique but a potential extra stream of revenue in better times. Example: BrewDog is using its Hop Drop app to allow customers to order.
- Digital menus: Put them online for easy ordering and easy updating. When normality returns, you could keep this up by using tablets at tableside.
- Stay in touch: Your loyalty programme has never been more important. Even if you are closed, send regular bulletins to your customer mailing list – they will be longing for re-opening as much as you are, so don’t simply disappear. Stay in touch with suppliers, too – they want to hear from you.
- Use social media: to encourage two-way conversations with customers. It’s free, and you now have the time to build up real relationships. Offer recipe tips, pass on news and chat – be as positive and uplifting as possible.
- Apres-corona gift cards: This WILL pass – so why not ask customers to show their confidence and buy gift cards valid for six months, so they can use them when you re-open?
- Training time – learn new recipes, encourage your staff to watch instructional videos – why not make some yourself? – or take online courses. Good example: chef Tommy Banks says: “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 business model: Crisis planning comes first, naturally, but if you do have downtime, use it to think how you might change things once the nightmare is over. Restaurant layout, labour patterns, stock control, technology, guest management, menus, marketing – take a good hard look at them all.
- Make a community effort: If you can, work to help the community – it’s the right thing to do and will stand you in good stead in future. A number of NFS restaurant clients are working on community causes including hospitals and vulnerable people. Serve and survive.