Top 5 positive changes from business unusual

It’s business unusual. COVID safety plans, hand sanitising stations and customer contact registers are just the tip of the hospo-in-the-time-of-coronavirus iceberg.

But coronavirus has also given us all a rare opportunity to collectively stop and reset — to get creative and implement changes that will benefit of the hospo industry for the long term.

Here’s what we see as the top 5 positive trends to come from business unusual.

1. no shows are a ‘no go’

Finally, we have an opportunity to educate our patrons about the business impact of not turning up to their booking.

For years hospo has had to deal with inconsiderate people booking and not turning up, leaving them with an empty table and a dent in their earnings.

The easing of the lockdowns with restricted on-site capacity rules has been a great opportunity for venues to reset their booking models and to let their patrons know that it’s no longer acceptable to be a no show.

The hotel industry has been doing it forever. They’ve educated their customers about paying a booking fee and forfeiting if they cancel or don’t show at the last minute. Now it’s hospitality’s time to do the same. Many venues are now taking card details, deposits or even payment in full for set menu service, when the booking is made – with a non-refundable fee charged if the booking is a no show.

Of course hospo wants patrons to do the right thing, i.e. if they’re sick to stay home. This is about people showing courtesy to let us know if they’re not going to turn up to give venues a chance to recoup the loss of their booking.

2. DIVERSIFYING WITH DELIVERY

Convenience is here to stay. Not only have hospo businesses been quick to jump on food delivery and takeaway options, our patrons are loving the convenience of enjoying their favourite local’s food in the comfort of their own home.

So while people are taking advantage of the fact that restrictions are easing by hitting their local for a bevvy with friends, there are also many who’ve grown to enjoy the convenience of takeaway and home delivery options. It’s safe to say the delivery demand will continue long after lockdowns have completely eased, with Click n’ Collect and home delivery being a powerful way to diversify and protect your venue’s revenue.

Businesses who’ve added delivery and takeaway options to their offerings have opened up a whole new revenue stream. They’re no longer 100% reliant on dine-in trade, instead they’re “omnichannel”.

They’ve also bypassed the profit-crushing delivery apps by engaging with their patrons and delivering direct — a great win for the industry!

3. THINKING BEYOND YOUR BACKYARD

Your patrons, and potential patrons, are wider than your immediate neighbourhoods. COVID-19 has been monumental in helping hospo businesses go beyond their local community.

Many venues have been selling cook-at-home packs, doing virtual pop-ups, selling signature items online (ready for pickup) — tapping into a wider geography than they ever thought they’d do.

Online workshops are also proving popular, with many patrons wanting cooking and cocktail creating lessons too.

HelpOutHospo has been a hit, while also raising over $55,000 to support the industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

4. DOING PATRON ENGAGEMENT BETTER

Not having patrons’ contact details to communicate to them 1:1 when your business needs it the most has been a lightbulb moment for many venues. It’s no longer enough to know your regulars by face.

We finally get the importance communicating with patrons online too.

Customer engagement has been given a real boost with active communication during lockdown. We’re engaging more on the socials, starting to get savvy with using digital marketing to better track and personalise the customer journey and further build brand loyalty. This will continue to be important now that Click n’ Collect and Home Delivery is here to stay.   

It’s important to remember there are rules around email marketing, you must ensure customers actively opt in to receive your communications. Email addresses on your COVID contact register doesn’t cut it unless they have also overtly opted in to your marketing by choice.

5. BIGGER KITCHEN SPACE

With delivery and takeaway growing in popularity, and customers accustomed to having restaurant quality meals at home, it’s expected kitchens will start to increase their capacity.

It’s a no brainer for many venues  to continue running multiple revenue streams that COVID kick-started in order to boost their regular dine-in takings. It’s predicted we’ll see many of these new revenue streams continue long-term, with a gradual shift towards bigger kitchens being installed. These kitchens will be better designed to cope with dine-in, takeaway and delivery demand for menu items, frozen meals, special pantry items and more.  

Along with this, we may also see a trend towards smaller dining areas too. With this, will be the need to impress patrons with a “wow” dine-in experience. Venus will need to get creative in how they stand out from their competition and keep their customers coming back again and again. 

We are here to help

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

Our Foodie team are here to serve. Whether that’s sourcing new products, helping to re-cost your recipes to reduce your COGs or planning a whole, profitable condensed menu to reduce food wastage and boost your bottom line. Get in touch to see how we can help.

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