The Olympics are just around the corner and businesses need to prepare.

The Olympics are just around the corner and businesses need to prepare.

The Olympics are almost upon us after years of planning and now really is crunch time for the hospitality companies hoping to take advantage of the event to drum up new custom.

With an estimated 294,000 extra visitors from abroad and 587,000 from elsewhere in the UK on top of the 1.5 million tourists who normally head to London in August expected this year there is a huge potential for restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels to take advantage of the extra people in the capital.

However to do this they need to ensure they are prepared.

Hiring staff

A key element to being prepared for the influx of tourists is hiring enough staff to ensure that things run smoothly. People will expect places to be busy, however, patience will only stretch so far before they decide to head somewhere else for lunch or find another bed for the night.

According to data from the fourth quarterly Hospitality Employment Index from and People 1st, around 35 per cent of hospitality businesses plan to hire more staff before the Games, however, just 18 per cent have taken steps towards finding more workers so far.

Any hospitality companies dawdling over hiring staff could learn a thing or two from the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 when organisers were thousands of workers short with just 12 weeks to go until the event. The lack of organisation meant that the city could not reap the full long-term rewards of hosting such a big event.

Coping with deliveries

Another element businesses need to consider is the logistics of how and when they are going to get enough stock for the increased number of customers, especially at a time when roads will be closed or very busy.

Transport for London, the city's businesses and the borough councils have all lent their support to plans for out-of-hour deliveries in the early hours of the morning. It is hoped that such plans will reduce congestion on the roads during the day while also ensuring that businesses get their much-needed products.

How businesses can keep their standards high

The benefits that the Olympics will bring to hospitality businesses will not just last for August. If businesses perform well then they may see long-term benefits as customers keep returning long after the athletes have gone home. For this reason businesses need to focus on quality rather than just serving as many customers as they can.

New staff, even temporary workers, need to be adequately trained, produce should be of the highest quality and customers should be made well aware of future offers and events to encourage them to return.

Maintaining those high standards will help generate loyalty from new and existing customers as well as raise brand awareness. All in all leading to a better outcome for your business.
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