Make the positive effects of Eat Out to Help Out last - get the safety basics right


Make the positive effects of Eat Out to Help Out last - get the safety basics right

Make the positive effects of Eat Out to Help Out last - get the safety basics right

The hospitality industry is rejoicing over the Eat Out to Help Out scheme that launched on August 3rd, with operators across the industry reporting strong sales and a surge in bookings. Among the pubs enjoying a boost from the scheme is The Owl in Loughton, Essex, which tweeted: 'Busiest Monday this year so far, excellent scheme and really shown it works. Thanks for the support, Rishi Sunak and team.' Andrew Macleod, of Emilia's Crafted Pasta in London told the Daily Mail that guest numbers had doubled on last week.

Hopefully, the positive effects of the scheme go beyond encouraging visits during August, and manage to change the staying-in habits enforced by the pandemic, by reminding customers what they love about eating out and - more importantly - showing them that it is safe to do so.

By getting these two aspects right, operators will likely enjoy the benefits of the scheme long after it ends: growing sales, keeping people in jobs and perhaps even allowing a glimmer of hope for a return to normality in the second half of the year.

So, how to get it right?

Firstly, customers' eating habits are in a state of flux at the moment and the criteria for what makes for a perfect dining experience has changed since the start of the pandemic, with 'safety' being one of the top priorities in the hierarchy of needs. There is no time for guessing-game in hospitality when every visit counts, and making the wrong impression at this delicate time could leave a lasting dent on the operators' reputation. By listening to customers, anticipating their needs and fixing any issues as soon as they happen will go a long way in winning back customers' trust and hearts.

TIP: Managing guests experiences with intelligent software can really bring all the aspects of a guest visit together in a clear, actionable and consistent manner, which is what HGEM's award winning platform does best - by combining guest feedback, audits, mystery visits and more. Click for more information on how we help our clients

Secondly, it's now more important than ever that guests feel safe during their visits. If they don't, they simply won't come back. So whilst it's great to embrace the discount scheme and welcome customers back with open arms, don't forget the basics:

  • Face masks - It's advisable for face masks or face coverings to be worn by waiters, bartenders and other staff members at hospitality venues. Our research revealed that 75% of guest would prefer to see staff wearing face coverings.
  • Chair frames - HGEM observation: We've seen lots of diligent cleaning of the parts where people sit, but not where they tend to put their fingers!
  • Customer guestbook - Gather contact details from guests and keep on file for up to 21 days. This is to help the government to trace all diners who may have been present during a suspected outbreak. It's important to be diligent with any personal data in a post-GDPR world; guests want to be reassured their information will be kept safe and that processes are in place for automatic deletion after 21 days.

HGEM offer a Track and Trace system based on QR codes, no pen and paper required. Click here for more information

  • One-way systems - Ensuring the flow of traffic is only going one way inside a venue stops people from crossing paths and helps them to keep their distance. This is especially effective at bars, which historically are crowded with people waiting to order their drinks.
  • Queuing systems - Require guests to queue outside, keeping a 1 metre distance between customers.
  • Hand sanitiser stations - Display hand sanitiser stations at the entrance of the venue and at various staff stations. It may be a good idea to have a sanitiser available on all tables, if applicable.
  • Apps - To limit the amount of people who touch menus or go up to the bar to order food and drink, many restaurants and pubs are now using QR code menus or apps to help people order remotely.

HGEM is helping a number of clients rebuild safely; if you're looking for a helping hand to support your business in managing guest experiences, do get it touch: #nofeesforfirstmonth

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