Organise your indoor layout: A shrewder approach to space

When on-trade venues were able to trade last year, one of the key lessons learnt was coping with enhanced demand with reduced capacity.

With initial demand expected to be higher this time round, putting in place the measures that worked well last time can help increase daily takings despite having fewer covers due to social distancing rules.

Simple measures like the smart use of dividers or using tape on floors to make customers more aware of social distancing can be extremely successful.

If you’re lucky enough to have the space to rearrange the majority of your tables so that they are all socially distanced then that’s great, but for many bars this isn’t the case. Taping floors and seating areas is, in my view, the best and safest option.

Where appropriate, operators looking to raise their takings in the first phases of reopening should also be looking at introducing table time limits. With many expecting to see their stifled capacity filled as doors reopen introducing a two - three hour booking phase for both wet and food-led outlets can guarantee increased spend and deliver greater returns despite diminished seating.

This was an effective move last year for Cru Holdings, according to managing director Scott:

“With a reduced space, we, like many operators, had to limit table times. With a two-hour slot, customers became more efficient. Often having researched the menu before they arrived, they were then ready to order a lot sooner than pre-COVID times. They didn’t hang around, yet this didn’t seem to impact their overall experience with many booking again before they left to move on to another venue.”

Want more advice about re-opening?

Read the next tip for re-opening this spring: Maximising spend per head

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