Getting operationally ready

There is more you need to think about now, but with these tips, you could be up and running sooner than expected.

Maximise your outdoor space

Although outlets will be able to offer indoor tables/space from 17th May, it is still vital that any outdoor space is utilised for maximum profit as some people will still prefer to eat outside. Make sure your booking system gives your guests the option. Space at venues is at a real premium, and with a good-sized outdoor area it is relatively simple to elevate the experience with minimal investment. Whether it’s freshening up its appearance with some new on-trend furniture, or simply adding some more aesthetically-pleasing plants, the better your space looks, the longer your guests will want to stay. To make ordering as simple as possible outdoors, utilise technology to enable click and collect or pre-ordering options with delivery directly to the outdoor tables – think about how you can make the ordering system run as smooth as possible while limiting guest movement throughout your outlet.

Communication is key

Things will clearly not be running as normal when people are able to return to the workplace, school, university or your outlet. It’s important to stay in close contact with your customers – consider the best ways to do this for your outlet. Traditional methods such as leaflets, posters and banners in atriums and foyers will work, but the use of apps such as yoyo that can push notifications to all consumers/guests in one go alerting them to promotions or changes in opening/serving times and social distancing practices will give you direct lines of communication that have been unavailable previously.

Increasing spend per head while managing potential waste

According to CGA[1], there is a view that the market may become polarised – some consumers seeking value while others look to trade up their experiences – representing a real opportunity for foodservice outlets that can adapt their offer to serve both audiences.

There is the potential for low footfall, particularly as there will be some nervousness about venturing out before people have received their vaccine/s so it’s important to manage wastage levels and avoid over ordering perishable food and drink. Think about using technology in the form of apps or other systems to capture pre-orders or click and collect solutions if you are able to offer takeaway services. Consider the space that you have available to store perishable items and think about using that same space for pre-packed items e.g. sandwiches and soft drinks.

Simple but broad choices

Offering limited menus for food has not hindered major fast-food chains that have reopened for delivery and takeaway/collection in recent weeks, and it shouldn’t hurt your outlet either. If space is tight, make sure you have your best-selling options in full view and bring them together as part of a meal/snack/bundle deal to increase your cash and sales margin.

Carefully consider emerging food and drink trends and make personalisation a key focus, ensuring you are accommodating allergens like gluten-free options as well as catering for vegans and vegetarians. Your offering needs to be all about food and drink choices while offering that ‘experience’ customers are looking for.

Delivery remains king

It’s no surprise that we have seen an expansion in delivery throughout lockdown as outlets have diversified their offer to remain on people’s radars and keep some money coming in. From the start of the first national lockdown, there was a natural shift from out of home consumption such as workplaces and restaurants to in home consumption. 22 million people are now using delivery services, 8.2 million more than pre-COVID[2].

As employees return to the workplace throughout the summer, you can offer a delivery service to decks for those not comfortably in coming to the on-site restaurant. At universities, you could go one step further and offer delivery solutions to the students living in the immediate area.

[1] CGA Brand Track June 2020

[2] Kantar OOH Panel, Delivery, Total KPIs, 24 w.e. September 2020 – vs. 24 w.e. March 2020

What more re-open advice?

Read the next tip for re-opening this spring: Making your guests feel safe and welcome

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