While you may feel that the road to post-lockdown recovery is a long and difficult one, there are many ways to drive revenue and delight your guests despite the current circumstances.
Think of your dining venues for example. Now is the perfect time to test new approaches that will get your F&B department in the best shape ever, so you can offer unforgettable experiences and generate much-needed income.
Read on to find out how.
Adapt to local guidelines and ensure service quality
Creating a safe and comfortable environment is crucial at a time when Covid-19 is still on everyone’s mind. Your first step is to find out which new rules and regulations you must implement in your F&B department. Check your local authority’s guidelines and brainstorm how to put them into practice.
Since running a restaurant normally involves close contact with guests, you’ll also need to adapt some of your SOPs and find new ways to provide your signature service while keeping everyone safe.
Some new SOP ideas for you:
- Let staff serve the food at the buffet
- Standards for the correct use of PPE at work
- New cleaning and sanitising schedules and procedures for equipment, surfaces, etc.
- A process for employees who feel ill or test positive for Covid-19
Of course, proper training is essential when you update your SOPs, so plan in the time for that as well.
Keep the focus on your guests
The way hoteliers interact with guests will be different for the time being. While this can be challenging, it’s also an opportunity to find new ways to charm your patrons and help them forget the drudgery of the past few months.
Regardless of which new service you offer or how you change your procedures, make your guest’s wellbeing your top priority. Give them space to accept or refuse certain services and show that you take their concerns and safety seriously.
Know your costs and revenues
Ask yourself the following important questions before relaunching your F&B outlets:
- How are other F&B outlets doing in your city, town, or region? What seems to be their strategy?
- How much will it cost to reopen one, some, or all of your F&B venues?
- Which new costs will you face upon reopening your outlets?
- Who is your main target market now? How has your guest mix changed?
- How many covers do you need to break even daily/weekly/monthly?
- How can you provide top service quality while keeping costs low?
Go through these questions carefully to better understand new and existing costs, how you can lower them and how much business you need to cover them.
Promote your relaunched F&B venues
Getting the word out about your reopening will play a key role in how successfully you can compete for business.
Start by setting up and optimising your Google My Business page. Make sure all information is up to date and you highlight new services like meal pick-up and contactless delivery (if you offer them). Don’t forget to add some gorgeous photos – after all, they say more than 1,000 words…
Next, leverage online business listings such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or Foursquare to increase your exposure and attract guests who are looking for your specific USPs. And of course, the positive reviews on these sites offer strong social proof that you’ll live up to your guests’ expectations.
Then, target local guests via social media. Use your local language to better connect with your nearby audience, offer promotions centred around events and holidays in your area and create localised content. Perhaps now is also the time for collaborations with local (micro-)influencers, bloggers and media.
Use the channels above to highlight your new safety measures as well. Find a fun and light way to do this, for example with social media stories or short videos showing your team in action.
Invite your team to share your updates on their social media networks as well. Everything from behind the scenes shots to photos where your staff and business are tagged is a great way to increase your reach and make your venues feel more relatable.
Finally, encourage guests to share their photos of your venue on social media and tag you in them. This increases your exposure, gives you more content to reshare and offers you a chance to engage with your audience online.
Boost your F&B sales
Once guests are in the door, it’s time to offer them great service and maximise your sales. Here’s a list of creative ways to do this:
- Change your menu regularly to include seasonal specials and keep things interesting for returning guests
- Update opening times and seating options to adapt to new capacity restrictions
- Consider partnering with pick-up and delivery services
- Offer creative dining locations around your hotel like a fancy suite, the spa or garden
- Train staff to upsell and implement an incentive program to further encourage them
Get a full eBook with expert video advice and post-lockdown strategies for your F&B department now.
Our thanks goes to industry experts Nathalie Mulder (Kimpton De Witt Hotel) and Angelo Vassallo (Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I Hotel) who shared their insights and ideas.