Roadmap to recovery
Looking back on my many years of blog writing, you can see when times are good and when they’re more…well, challenging. You know you don’t have too much to worry about when you can write 500+ words on matcha, kefir and kombucha. Yet for over a year now, the focus has been the simple matter of trying to stay afloat – with a few light-hearted words thrown in here and there for some respite.
So, in good times it’s all about food trends Right now, it’s all about the three Rs. Roadmap, Recovery and Reopening. Indeed, in the past few weeks alone I’ve carried out a chunky piece of “Road to Recovery” consultation for a cultural arts centre, supported a number of cafés, bars and venues with their reopening strategies and even featured in a “Tune into Tourism”podcast which is indeed titled “Road to Recovery – Reopening“.
The good news is that hospitality, culture and tourism are reopening, slowly recovering and slowly getting back to normal. Slowly means that nobody’s going to be turning over a massive profit any time soon, but slowly also offers the chance to take stock, reflect, adapt and change as necessary. Are our values still relevant or do we need to update them? Are we still doing what we do best? Are we accommodating customers who want to get straight back into eating and dining out, as well as those who are more nervous and need more reassurance or would even prefer an alternative service?
Value v price
From my experience with my Victus clients over the past 6 months, one of the biggest concerns is pricing. Supplier costs have gone up, and this needs to be passed on and reflected in our prices. This is tricky when consumer confidence is low. Everyone is struggling. Times are tough. But business needs to make money. The way to break out of this cycle of thinking is to focus on value rather than on the more delicate subject of price. Are you offering a great experience? Have you retrained your staff so your at the top of its game in terms of customer service? Did you take the chance during lockdown to redecorate and refurbish? Customers won’t pick up on small price changes if they can sit down, be well looked after and eat great food in inspiring surroundings.
A changing landscape
The landscape has changed – what was good before may not cut the mustard now. Customers who previously wanted a sit-down experience may now prefer to have an experience in the comfort and safety of their own home. So, are you offering takeaway and delivery? Is this service as good as your in-house service? What packaging are you using to make the customer experience more memorable? Does your website and social media presence fully reflect your full current offering?
The journey is vital. And it’s all a journey. Even battling with the legislation and guidance and best practice around health and hygiene is a journey. Inject some humour into proceedings and it becomes a more enjoyable journey. Make it a piece of theatre. Train your staff to ensure customers follow guidelines with a smile and a flourish. Make you signage stand out – customers will more likely read it if it’s eye-catching, and be more compliant if it has raised a laugh.
Kindness and community
But, above all, be kind. Kindness costs nothing. Yes, we need to stay commercial, but we’re living in such a bizarre set of circumstances that not allowing an extension to that gift voucher or letting that party of 8 move their booking without penalty is just puerile. Regard everyone involved in your business as a community. Your suppliers. Your staff. Your customers. And look after that community as if your life depends on it.
After all, a little bit of compassion and understanding can go a long way. And it all helps with the longevity, and ultimately profitability, of your business.
Andrew D Scott MIH
Heaven Scent Coffee Shop
Trustee of Hospitality Health
Victus Consultancy currently has availability for new clients. If you’re looking for help with your roadmap to recovery, staff training, menu reimagination, Covid legislation or anything else required to help your business flourish and thrive, we can help. Please call us on 07732 454639 for an informal chat and we can take it from there.