A lot of people are contacting us to get our views on trading through the COVID19 outbreak around the world. It is not our decision to trade or not, that needs to be left to the company running the restaurants, but here at CONCEPTIONAL, we have some advice for those that are wanting to continue trading.
Each country, each city and arguably each community will decide if they will continue to “go about their business” in the usual way, but we all know that one of the major industries to be impacted will be the foodservice and hospitality industry. At this time, we believe it is important to share, support and assist where possible, so we have put this 5 point CONCEPTIONAL guide together, for those that want to keep open or have to keep open.
Remember, the potential guest is out there, with a varying view on the threat from COVID19, so there is business still to be transacted, albeit that the signs are that people are reducing their outside engagements, this is also reflecting in the increase of food delivery.
We have prepared a 5 point plan for our clients, friends and colleagues, as follows:
1 – Make it clear you are open: This is the most important aspect of capturing trade. So many competitors are not sticking to normal hours, are not open, but if you are, make it really clear, so people don’t have to guess.
2 – Reduce covers and make space: People are not going to want to sit close to each other for a while so take out tables, reduce covers and increase a lot the space between tables. This is not a capacity game at the moment.
3 – Reduce interactions: Find ways for guests to order quickly and easily and for the food to come quickly and easily, minimum contact, minimum interaction. Reduce choices, allow paper ordering or even using text services will reassure guests.
4 – Make sure all sanitary facilities are spotless: This is the time when toilets and guest facilities need to be even more spotless, cleaned very regularly and fully stocked all the time. It reassures the guest. A generous amount of sanitising points throughout the space and a “Welcome Squeeze” of sanitiser as guests site will reassure and comfort them. Please also clean order screens periodically like menu pads and self service order units.
5 – Tell the guest what you are doing: This means telling them how you intend to mitigate the effects of COVID19 without scaring them. A simple sign or information post will give them confidence, face masks won’t. Keeping your distance is a simple, but highly effective statement. So transparency on hygiene is key too.
This could mean not taking coats from people, not pouring the wines for them, not offering individual plates, but “family service” meals, or giving guests the ability to write their orders out. In many cases this will only reassure and wont have an impact on an already very low risk, but we all know that fear is driving a lot of the behaviour right now.
We think these 5 points will help if restaurants and foodservice operations want to trade. It is, of course, the choice of every brand and operator, but our guest is changing their habits a lot and the restaurant industry needs to adapt if it is going to survive the COVID19 period.