The hospitality industry had been eagerly awaiting ‘Super Saturday’ with bated breath. With a huge sigh of relief, it marked a significant milestone where operators could finally open their doors and welcome back their customers.
While the reopening of the industry was a positive step for many hospitality businesses, there’s no hiding from the nervousness and pressure felt by operators to get it right in the current environment. With ‘track and trace’ systems being implemented, strict social distancing required, along with the roll-out of contact-free ordering apps, to say there was a lot of measures for operators to consider is an understatement.
As more and more businesses start to follow suit and open back up again, here’s a round-up of the latest innovations and best practice to help operators welcome back their customers into a safe and enjoyable environment that will keep them coming back:
Maintaining a safe distance
Simply reducing an establishment’s capacity is not financially viable for many businesses operating under economic strain after the lockdown period. As such, many outlets are utilising specialist design and technology to optimise seating and table configurations to maximize capacity, while following social distancing regulations effectively. Looking at inspiration from across the globe, a waterside restaurant in Amsterdam has developed mini greenhouses in order to serve and seat diners without breaking social distancing guidelines. It provides some food for thought!
This optimisation is also important for facilities that are in frequent use by staff, such as the water dispenser. Operators should consider installing a number of dispenser points throughout the premises to avoid queues and gatherings. By offering multiple ‘hydration stations’, staff can refill water bottles easily whilst maintaining a safe distance from others.
With customers limited to table service and many establishments being encouraged to scrap ‘ordering at the bar’ for the time being, many hospitality businesses are updating their ordering process. The use of contactless ordering apps allows customers to place an order and pay without leaving their table. Not only does this help limit contact between staff and customers and eliminate queues and waiting times, most apps also provide operators with valuable stats on spending trends and insights from their customers.
Make time for maintenance
In the lead up to reopening, operators will be carrying out essential maintenance on key equipment after being shut down. Remember to treat equipment as if it were new – call on your engineer for expert advice, use the manual to start-up the machine again, and for equipment that uses water, ensure any standing water is flushed out of the system. If you require any support on the correct maintenance for your BRITA VIVREAU water dispenser systems, please see our recommended hygiene guidelines for daily cleaning and for safe use after a prolonged absence.
Water dispensers provide a clean and efficient way to serve customers high volumes of filtered, sparkling and still water on-demand. When using a water dispenser, the nozzle can remain a ‘touch-free’ zone and the tap, drip tray and housing should be cleaned regularly for improved hygiene during service. Filtered water can be served to customers in glass bottles (preferably dishwasher safe, so they can withstand cleaning at high temperatures) and washed after each use.
‘Super Saturday’ was a hugely significant moment for the hospitality industry and reopening in this new environment presented a host of challenges for operators. That being said, it has demonstrated just how truly nimble and responsive the industry has been in the face of adversity. This agility will be crucial going forwards as operators adopt appropriate safety measures, while also developing longer-term solutions to help the industry flourish in the future.
By Mike Park, commercial director, Brita Vivreau