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Compliance is a new competitive edge in hospitality.

We all know that things will be a lot different for a long time as the lockdown gradually relaxes. Most of us are looking at how we need to adapt our offering so that we increase our market share or simply speaking, take a bigger slice of what in the short-term, is going to be a smaller pie.

We may, and should, be reviewing every area of our business to maximise our chances of coming out of this situation stronger. There’s no denying that it’s going to be difficult and sadly, some won’t make it through. With many colleagues furloughed there is even more pressure on the people remaining in the business to do everything but there’s never enough time or money, so there is clearly a need to prioritise.

Where should we put our effort? It’s more important than ever to get the maximum return on the investment of a limited amount of time and money at your disposal. There are clues if you know how to read them!

I came across this simple statistic today that came from a national survey looking at British adults views on a number of issues regarding the easing of lockdown and here are two numbers that leapt off the page for me:

22% of respondents are happy to go back to hospitality venues.

A further 45% will proceed…but with caution

So what does this tell us?

Two thirds of the population will be looking to come back soon. One third are not in any hurry, so the pie will be smaller.

A fifth of the population do not seem too bothered about Covid … so we need to be sure we can look after this group whilst ensuring they behave in a way that does not jeopardise anyone else.

Most importantly 45% of the country need to be re-assured. Nearly half of the population will put a high value on visible compliance and their decisions will be strongly influenced by how your establishment is perceived.

Another positive piece of research is that the number one thing people want to do as the lockdown eases is to visit a restaurant.

Summarising this, there will be a demand for eating out. It goes without saying that providing a great customer experience through menu, friendliness, ambience will be as important as ever but a massively new ingredient to take into consideration is how you demonstrate the steps that you are taking to be Covid Safe. Visible cues such as kite marks, screening, sanitising, distancing will be critical and marrying this to a great customer experience will be what sorts the winners from the losers especially in the coming months.

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