Lockdown procedures are still in full force across the majority of Europe, with many countries in isolation until mid-May at the earliest. However, restrictions on the many areas of the hospitality industry aren’t expected to start lifting until late July and August.
While an extended lockdown period isn’t great news for the industry, there are some things that can be done in this time to effectively prepare for reopening.
Businesses are starting to consider what a post-lockdown hospitality sector could look like, in the near and longer term.
Can your business operate anything like normal if social distancing measures are required within your restaurant? Do you have the space for the number of covers needed to operate? Or does your business model need to make big changes in order to move forward. Consider how you’ll serve guests, how you’ll seat them, and what impact this will have on your overall operations.
While we are restricted, this time can be put to some use by assessing other aspects of the business.
You could explore purchasing new décor, furnishings, small and heavy wares, if funds allow. Amid busy services, ordering much-needed new pieces can be overlooked. Use this slower period to evaluate what products your business could benefit from when you reopen. It could be something as trivial as some small décor pieces or additional cutlery, or a slightly larger purchase like a refrigerator.
You could consider finance options against capital purchase, as something which many catering supply distributors offer. This can be an effective funding option which gives your business the shot in the arm needed to get customers back in quickly.
Some equipment, such as refrigeration, has developed rapidly over recent years since the introduction of mandated Minimum Energy Performance laws, meaning a new product purchased today is likely to consume much less energy than your existing equipment from a few years ago.
Now could be the right time to take a look at what is available on the market and work out how much you could save on operating costs in the longer term by upgrading.
As restrictions are gradually eased, go into your back and front of house and give them a good deep clean in preparation for opening back up. This will not only ensure there are no germs or bacteria living on surfaces but will provide peace of mind for you, your staff and customers.
Take your time and be as thorough as possible. If you have cushions on any seats, give them a wash. Ensure any hard surfaces are scrubbed with warm, soapy water. Give any silverware and crockery a second run through the dishwasher. Go as far as wiping light switches, door handles and other items that may get overlooked on a daily clean.
And don’t forget to carefully clean your refrigerators and freezers while they’re empty. Clean the interior and exterior of your refrigerator, using soap and warm water. Ensure all pans are cleaned with warm water and soap too. Take this time to perform routine preventative maintenance, such as cleaning your condenser and inspect your door gaskets.
After the Coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that businesses will be more aware of hygiene and enforce stricter rules on its implementation.
Plan ahead with your health and safety regime, updating it to suit any new regulations and guidance. Use this time to evaluate your current processes and consider how you could improve them. This could be something as simple as installing more hand sanitizing points or running updated hygiene seminars with staff.
It might also be worth considering what marketing tactics you could implement when the lockdown is lifted.
Could you host a Key Worker Dinner? Providing a free meal for all key workers who helped keep the country going amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
What about cocktail nights and pub quizzes? Since they proved so popular in lockdown, consumers will be looking to celebrate seeing friends and family by going out together to catch up.
Also, consider your offer. Does your establishment serve something that consumers missed whilst in lockdown? If so, play up on this.
There’ll be so much consumer excitement when the lockdown has lifted – make sure your business makes the most of it.
It’s clear that although we find ourselves in uncertain and changing circumstances, this will pass, and we need to be ready for when it does.
Consumers are already desperate to visit much-missed restaurants, bars, cafes, and other eateries. It’s only a matter of time before they’ll be allowed to. Let’s stay positive and stay prepared.
We’d also like to take this time to reassure our customers that True is still here to support you through these uncertain times.
From industry advice, product support, and units and spares, we’re here for you.
Stay safe, take care.
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