The past 12 months have been difficult for businesses across all industries, especially for those in the hospitality sector. Many restaurants, bars, hotels, and cafes have been forced to close for most of the past year to comply with strict COVID-19 restrictions brought in to control the spread of the virus. These restrictions have had a huge impact on hospitality businesses and many companies have suffered significant financial losses.
The good news is, the end is now in sight and the government has released a roadmap showing the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions. If all goes to plan, then social distancing could be lifted entirely by 21 June. Hospitality businesses should start preparing for the end of lockdown and must take steps to ensure maximum profits upon reopening. Here are our top tips on how to prepare your hospitality business for success in summer 2021:
Start promoting your business
People have been unable to eat out in restaurants or socialise with friends in pubs and bars for several months. Everyone is excited about hospitality businesses reopening and well-known establishments shouldn’t struggle to find business once restrictions are lifted. That said, there is still strong competition between hospitality businesses and you must find ways to gain a competitive edge. There may also be a shift in consumer behaviour post-Covid. A recent survey by 365businessfinance.co.uk found that “28% of people plan to visit pubs, restaurants, and bars less frequently after COVID-19.” To survive post-lockdown, hospitality businesses must create powerful marketing campaigns that will entice customers. Start promoting your brand and services now and encourage customers to pre-book tables and buy advanced tickets for events. Offering loyalty schemes and discounts is an excellent way to encourage customers to return to your business once lockdown is lifted.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to promote your hospitality business during and after lockdown. Use social platforms like Facebook and Instagram to connect with your customers and advertise upcoming events and offers. Some hospitality businesses are also offering exciting competitions to expand their market reach and build excitement around their brand. For instance, you could run a social media contest and offer the winner and five friends a booth and a free meal/drinks on your opening weekend.
Hire a fantastic hospitality team
Hospitality businesses must prepare for a busy summer and ensure that they have adequate team members to support heavy customer flow. Offering exceptional customer service is essential, particularly when there is going to be strong competition between hospitality businesses post-Covid. Unhappy customers are unlikely to return to your business and may also leave negative reviews about your brand online. With that in mind, you should focus on hiring a fantastic hospitality team that will deliver outstanding customer service. Keep in mind that the customer experience is just as important as the food and drinks on offer. Look for team members with the right personality traits to connect with customers and offer a memorable customer experience. According to recruitment experts at Access, you can attract top hospitality staff by offering flexible work schedules, creating a fun working environment, and outlining a clear career path.
Create a pop-up bar
Pop-up bars and restaurants are hugely popular and can be seen in trendy cities all around the world. Pop-up bars are environmentally-friendly, cheap to run, and look amazing! Creating a pop-up bar or food stand can also be an excellent way to build brand awareness and increase sales revenue during the COVID pandemic. There are lots of ways to do this, including hiring a shipping container! Many hospitality businesses have used pop-up bars and restaurants to maintain cash flow during the pandemic by offering takeaway services. A pop-up business can also help you promote your brand and services and encourage customers to visit your main establishment once you can reopen. You can easily create a trendy pop-up bar by converting an old shipping container.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unparalleled disruption to businesses all across the UK. Hospitality businesses have been affected heavily by the social distancing restrictions and many have experienced huge losses over the past 12 months. Fortunately, the end of lockdown is now in sight and things could be back to normal as early as June 2021. Hospitality businesses must start preparing for a busy summer and take steps to promote their brand and maximise profits.
Charlotte Murphy is a freelance writer focused on the hospitality industry. After a difficult year, she’s keen to help small business owners in this industry get back on their feet. When she isn’t writing, Charlotte can be found in the kitchen re-creating her favourite Chinese dishes, or walking with her dog Ringo. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOV.UK, COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (Summary), https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-sets-out-roadmap-to-cautiously-ease-lockdown-restrictions
S Jones Containers, main page, https://www.sjonescontainers.co.uk/
365 Business Finance, Marketing Guide: Why Bars, Pubs and Restaurants Must Transition to Survive in a Post-Covid World https://www.365businessfinance.co.uk/blog/2020/09/15/marketing-guide-why-bars-pubs-and-restaurants-must-transition-survive-post-covid-world/
Access, How to Hire the Right Hospitality Staff, https://www.theaccessgroup.com/blog/hsp-how-to-hire-the-right-hospitality-staff/