#NationalBeerDayUK – hospitality update
Boris Johnson has confirmed last night that the COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place until at least the 19th of July 2021, due to the rapid spread of the new variant.
So, what does this mean for hospitality?
It means that the limits on how many people can meet inside a premise is still limited to six, with groups of thirty people being allowed to meet up outdoors. Additionally, capacity limits will continue at venues and nightclubs will remain closed. However, couples have been reprieved as weddings and receptions will be allowed to go ahead with more than 30 people.
This announcement comes as a saddening blow for many as I understand. But it is important now more than ever to remain optimistic as the industry has come so far already in successfully and safely reopening many of its doors. The sector has already done all it can to ensure that customers are safe and protected and for that we thank you. So, proceed as you have been and with care – if you need additional support consider applying for a grant (if you have not done so already) such as the COVID-19 Recovery Grant Scheme from Hospitality Action. Help is available, you are not alone.
In the spirit of optimism and as today is #NationalBeerDay I can’t help but look back at how far the hospitality industry has come over this past year and feel proud of the industry’s resilience and adaptability. Last year, I had read about three significant patterns that had been emerging within the hospitality industry as a result of the pandemic, these were: a ‘new normal’, a change in consumer behaviours and an uptake in digitalisation. Over the past 14 months I have begun to see each pattern unfold dramatically.
So, let’s look into the patterns we have seen/are seeing emerge so far:
- The New Normal
So, what does the ‘new normal’ look like for pubs, restaurants, and cafes?
- Customers being required to continue to order their food and drink via apps. Discouraging cash payments.
- ‘Signing-In’ to locations on the NHS Track & Trace App and easy access to sanitiser stations.
- Clear and visible social distancing signage and guidelines alongside amended furniture layouts to create the appropriate social distancing.
- Single use menus.
- Sites may be patrolled to ensure social distancing measures are being followed and enforced.
- Face coverings are still likely to be enforced going forward and separate entrances and exits may continue to be encouraged.
- Staff to continue to receive temperature checks and be made to wear face coverings, gloves, and eye protection.
The recovery process is challenging and all businesses in the sector will need to adhere to their local authorities’ guidance to help prevent outbreaks of coronavirus infection. Those that do so effectively will be well positioned to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities that are emerging in the new and changing business environment.
- Changes to consumer behaviour and confidence
It is undeniable that consumer behaviour has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are still facing unique challenges to their daily lives that is ultimately changing the way they behave and consume. The daily worry and concern about finances and illness clouds happy gatherings in restaurants and bars. Those who address their customers worries with fluid and open communication, visual and regular sanitation will help guests to trust your business and staff.
It is important to remember that some consumers are still reluctant to return to their old spending habits. As a result, your business may need to reimagine the customer experience. Those that do adapt their offerings to reflect the changing preferences and behaviours of their customers demonstrate their willingness to listen, understand and respond – ultimately deepening consumer trust. Consumers will remember those businesses that paid attention and “took care” of them.
- Digital Transformation
Mobile technology is now at the forefront of the necessary digital innovations for the hospitality industry. Mobile ordering at pubs and restaurants is reducing the number of staff and customer touch points whilst also removing obstacles such a long queues. It has been found that customers order more frequently and spend more when there are fewer barriers to service, so while you are maintaining social distancing you will also be able to take in a stable profit through the continued use of apps.
Physical contact within hospitality is going to change, with a new door opening to digital services. I doubt there is a way to go back now after such a technological change. These services will continue to take off and it is incredibly exciting to see!
So, my advice is to keep this incredibly good momentum going: continue to rethink your processes, adapt where you can, be creative and focus on your digital transformation. 2021 will be a better year than 2020, but there are still some challenges ahead. Patience and persistence, and a sprinkling of creativity, will get us through.
Additionally, I would just like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those within the sector on their fantastic reopening’s so far. The industry has taken a big hit during the pandemic and all businesses deserve to be commended for their resilience and dedication. It is wonderful to see the significant progress that has been made in the revival of this industry and I am confident that we will continue to bear witness to the resourcefulness, passion, and determination of this treasured industry.
Also, I would like to remind everyone that if you are going out to eat or drink to be kind to those working and serving you and just remember a little kindness goes a long way.
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