Everyone has been impacted by the current global pandemic. But one thing that has come out of this has been the gift of time. Hoteliers are used to never-ending days with a to’do list that is consistently carried out into the next day. But now, with ample time to spare, we can shift our focus to assess, strategize and get creative with new ideas to innovate in a post-covid world. One thing is for sure – the world will not be the same. Food and beverage (F&B) is a huge component and revenue generator for any hotel so let’s dive into new ways to adapt your F&B strategy for success during this unprecedented time.
1 – Create A Safe & Comfortable Environment By Following Local Guidelines
During a scary and uncertain time like this, providing a safe and comfortable environment is a top priority. Take the time and care in educating yourself on new protocols and health and safety regulations to implement in your hotel f&b department. Get your team together and ensure to conduct new training to ensure everyone is aligned on the expectation and how to execute.
Now that you’ve implemented the new protocols, it’s time to assess your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Because running a restaurant typically involves close human contact, you will need to assess what you’re current SOPs are and adapt them to the new health and safety protocol you have in place to ensure the safety of your patrons and staff. Your guests will greatly appreciate your efforts.
2 – Keep The Focus On Your Guests
As a hotelier, your communication with your guests will change during this time. You will notice small talk typically about the weather shift to major current events revolving around the pandemic and this is the reality. While this shift can be challenging, it also opens the door for new opportunities to connect and charm your guests.
There are probably many changes happening not only within the hotel f&b department, but in the hotel as a whole. By remaining the focus on your guest, take the time to communicate these changes and openly give them space to refuse or accept certain services. Your guest will appreciate the consideration that you’re taking to ensure their safety.
3 – Know Your Costs
Hotel f&b is a business in and of itself. We can’t stress enough how important it is, especially now, to understand your new and existing costs, how you can lower them, and how much business you need to generate to cover them.
Assess the following points to give you a better understanding of your current situation:
- How are other hotel f&b departments in your region adapting to the pandemic?
- What are the costs to re-open each f&b outlet?
- What are the new costs in addition to re-opening your outlets?
- Who are your guests now? How has your demographic changed?
- What is your break-even point on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
- What are ways you can keep costs low while still delivering top quality service?
Answering difficult questions aren’t fun but they are the brutal reality when it comes to sustaining a business. Facing the brutal reality will mean the difference between a successful hotel f&b during covid and one that doesn’t re-open at all.
4 – Market Your Relaunched Hotel F&B Venue
Now that it’s time for the grand re-opening, it’s time to spread the news. Ensuring people are aware and excited about your reopening will be an integral part in how successfully re-open and sustain business.
Ensure your Google business page is optimized and up to date with new hours. Highlight new services and protocols like pick-up procedures, contactless delivery, reservation restrictions and new photos of your updated space.
Next, it’s time to get savvy with online restaurant directories like Tripadvisor and Yelp to increase exposure and attract the right audience. If you get in front of the right clientele, the more likely and willing they will be to attend.
Now onto social media. Use your brand voice to connect to your local audience and offer promotions geared towards events in your area. You can even partner with local businesses or collaborate with local influencers, bloggers or media to expand your reach and influence. You can get super creative with this one.
You can use your social platforms also as an educational tool. Posting content that highlights your new health and safety protocols and what’s changed since the pandemic. Creating this content in a lighthearted way by using social media stories or short behind the scenes videos will make it more relatable and easy to engage with while getting the message across.
Lastly, create a hashtag and encourage your guests to share their experience through their social media and have them tag your venue. This will increase exposure and reach, which also gives you more content to re-share and opportunities to engage with your digital audience. Win-win!
5 – Maximize Those F&B Sales
You’re open and running and it’s time to impress. Here are a few ways to maximize your sales while delivering a great experience.
- Changing up your menu to reflect new culinary trends and seasonal specials to keep things interesting for returning customers.
- Update operational hours and seating options to adapt to new capacity restrictions. You can get creative with this one like perhaps setting up a mini patio or street seating.
- Consider partnering with delivery services as many people will still be reluctant to dine out.
- Get creative with your dining locations in your hotel. An unused conference room or empty garden? Turn that into an additional dining spot.
- Train your staff to upsell by educating them on basic costs and what that means for revenue. A little education goes a long way when your team understands the costs behind what they’re serving and selling.
If you’ve been meaning to revamp your strategy, well there’s no better time than now. Those who are innovating now and working to improve their internal processes during this downtime will be set up for success in a post-covid world. Those who are waiting for the world to “go back to normal” and for business to just resume have another thing coming. So what are you waiting for?