Hello everybody! It’s been a little while since my last blog. I hope you are keeping safe and well as we all try to navigate our way through this very difficult time. I think it would be safe to say that this is probably the most difficult challenge to face the international hospitality community in a generation, one which we did not see coming, but now one which we must push through with our end goal in mind… To get back to normality as quickly as possible and revive our temporarily flattened livelihoods.
In a sense, there is some comfort in knowing we're all going through this battle together, and we, of course, all want the very best for each other!
As I now, like many millions around the world, sit at home, I thought that perhaps I would have a little brainstorm. I have come up with a few common-sense initiatives we could take as either business owners, employers or employees that could be implemented on our return to the workplace, once we have finally reached the other side of our current situation. My suggestions are aimed primarily at UK businesses, but there would be no reason to think that the same measures couldn’t be adopted worldwide?
Volunteering and Reduced Working Hours
Accepting that working hours are likely to be reduced temporarily upon returning to work and planning your personal finances in advance to accommodate that, would help alleviate money worries and save disappointment. We all HAVE to be practical. If businesses are not fully back on track to begin with and consumer confidence is down, hours to will likely be down. I have already volunteered to give my employers a days free labour when I return, to help with setting back up. Imagine the positive impact if everybody offered to do this? I would imagine, collectively, it would make a massive difference!
Setting up and Deep Cleaning
Common sense would suggest that the first task for all businesses, big and small, would be the setting back up and then the thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the premises. My thinking being that this could all be carried out during our first ‘free day of labour’? A briefing should, of course, be given to all staff prior to this, to discuss the essential need to respect and maintain the ‘2-metre’ distance between staff whenever possible and to continue with regular hand washing and general due diligence carrying out ALL duties. I would imagine the government will give us all guidance on this issue at the time, and I think this safety measure will likely be in place for some while. The most important thing will be for people not to get COMPLACENT when returning to their daily routine.
Leading up to the eventual closedown of our businesses, like us, most people likely found themselves moving some furniture out of their dining spaces to create more room between diners. In order for customer confidence to be revived and encouraged, this measure will likely have to stay in place for a period of time. Obviously, from a financial standpoint, this will mean a lesser capacity and less revenue. My suggestion would be for all diners to be restricted to a ‘1-hour’ slot (bookable over the phone or online) enabling tables to be turned faster. A further suggestion would be for all companies to state exactly what precautionary measures they are continuously taking to ensure customer safety through websites and signage within premises.
Budgeting and Using Existing Stock
I am sure that any business owner with any savvy out there would have frozen any freezable produce down just prior to closure on Friday 20th March. Once we are given a proposed date for reopening, business owners or head chefs will then, of course, have the green flag to begin thawing any stock that can be used on day 1 going forward. My suggestion here would be to use this as an opportunity to reduce stock levels as much as is viable so that money can sit in the bank rather than on the shelves. With most suppliers delivering daily or at least every other day, I for one would rather sell out of the odd menu item daily and know that my stock levels are sensible. I would think that the majority of suppliers will have plenty of promotions going to encourage spending, meaning daily bargains will likely be more obtainable.
All Kitchen staff should also be briefed prior to opening, and strict portion control measures should be enforced to ensure absolute minimal wastage.
… and that concludes my thoughts and suggestions. I’m sure that I’m far from the only industry professional out there to have thought of these simple common-sense initiatives. This blog is really just intended to highlight these measures and to provoke perhaps further idea’s from professionals alike on how we can bounce back... and we WILL be back!.. rested and recuperated! 😉
Stay safe and well folks!