The coronavirus outbreak has been tough on the hospitality industry, from Alpha to Beta and Gamma to Delta… now there’s Omicron. Sure, it sounds more like something from a Transformers movie but Omicron is here and hospitality is once again feeling the pinch from the ongoing shutdowns, re-introduction to restrictions, and guests opting to stay at home in general.
It’s easy to break back into feeling down that COVID is reinventing itself and challenging us in different ways, but we’re here to help you and your team get back to doing what they do best, creating memorable experiences for all of your guests (while keeping safe of course!).
In this article, we’ll explain some trends we’ve seen popping up in hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes around the globe that are helping to engage guests, keep doors open (when possible), offer a sense of hope, and keep a smile on everyone’s face.
1. Hygiene first
You’ve heard it once, but we’ll say it again anyway… hygiene is more important than ever since the pandemic started. Guests are more vigilant when it comes to venues operating in a safe way that follows their local government guidelines.
Make your commitment to hygiene visible. Have signs in and around your venue that tell people to wear masks if they are required, have signs in the bathroom explaining best practice tips for washing hands, and ensure your team is educated on how to do it too. Some guests may even ask how often you sanitize your venue so make sure you and your entire team know the answer.
Need some tips on COVID safety in hospitality? Typsy has several courses on key hygiene and safety tips. Get started for free today.
2. Decrease your menu offering
It’s not just hospitality that has been affected by the ongoing COVID restrictions - every aspect of the supply chain is experiencing supply and demand issues. If you’re finding that items for your menu are out of stock, don’t stress that your menu is ruined. Instead, opt for a smaller menu to help you (and your suppliers) get through the shortage.
Think about what items are easy to make and that your guests enjoy eating. Not only will the smaller menu help your kitchen staff, but it will ensure no produce goes to waste too. Plus, your smaller menu may even provide you with some options which could be suitable for takeaway or delivery - an aspect of hospitality that has steadily increased since the pandemic began.
3. Keep your business up to date online
With things changing constantly, make sure your online presence reflects what’s happening in your venue. If your business hours have changed, ensure your Google My Business profile is up to date and your social profiles too.
If you’re doing some changes to your menu, why not upload them to your social profiles? Not only is this a great way to let people know about your changes quickly, but you can also reach new audiences who may be interested in your new offerings too.
4. Keep your staff safe
Whether your business has had to let staff go or you are short-staffed due to people in isolation, it can be tough to maintain the same level of service when your normal roster isn’t full. It can be even harder when your guests still expect the same level of service when you’re essentially running a one-man show.
Tensions can get high quickly when your guests have to wait longer for their orders, so why not provide some quick explainers around your venue? Add a sign on your door explaining that you are under-staffed and wait times may be longer than usual. Even let your staff know to inform guests when they are being seated that “Wait times may be longer than usual as we are short-staffed today”. Guests are guaranteed to be more understanding when you are transparent with them.
You could also place posters around your venue explaining that you encourage patience, understanding, and appreciation during this difficult time while your team keeps hospitality going and does what they can and that you encourage guests to act appropriately when interacting within your venue. These types of signs are an easy way to let guests know that your venue has strict policies in place to ensure staff safety.
5. Lead with your team in mind
When things are busy it’s easy to think of all the tasks that need doing and forget about the team behind it all. But did you know that leading and motivating your team well is the first step to creating a safe space for your employees?
Make sure to check in with your team each week so they know that they can look to you for guidance on how to behave through this challenging time. You will be well remembered if you are able to face obstacles with resilience and keep looking for solutions during the Omicron crisis.
If you find a team member is struggling or perhaps came to a shift in a different mood to usual, why not take them to one side and ask how they are doing? See a staff member going above and beyond their normal tasks? Give them some love and tell them well done! You’ll be admired for being thoughtful and appreciative of your staff and for going above and beyond to keep the business going through this time. Plus, if your attitude is calm and positive, this will be felt by the team and help them feel safe and comfortable and enjoy coming to and being at work.
Don’t forget that your team’s mental health is as important as happy customers. If you’re unsure how to broach the topic, why not check-out Typsy’s management courses which offer tips on key topics including emotional intelligence, resilience, leading teams, and more.
It’s been a challenging time for hospitality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether your business is currently closed, getting ready to open, or is welcoming guests through the door, we hope these tips will allow you to turn your venue into a place of safety, positivity, and optimism for both your guests and your staff.
You might also like: