Reopening‌ ‌Hospitality:‌ ‌How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Make‌ ‌a‌ ‌Great‌ ‌First‌ ‌Impression‌

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If you’re reading this after July 19th 2021 let’s hope ‘pandemic independence day’ really did arrive without setbacks. If you’re reading this before July 19th 2021 then fingers crossed.

As we move toward a possible final lifting of restrictions, the challenge hospitality teams face is this - how to get the balance right between enforcing the Covid rules that remain while preserving the customer experience.

Hospitality establishments that do this right will be the ones that rebuild and re-cement loyal customer relationships.

Be Ready for Customers.
Have all Your Admin Done.

Until we’re fully back to normal, hospitality will face extra admin that comes with the few restrictions that remain.

As they walk through the doors for the first time, they’ll expect to see hand sanitisers, and possibly track-and-trace paperwork to do (until all that’s finally gone).

But they’ll also expect ambience and welcoming faces. Don’t lose sight of the fact that customers expect you to be at your welcoming best.

Be ready and have all your back-of-office processes done. Once they walk through the door, it needs to be all about them.

Try the Growyze app to get stock control, waste management and other time-consuming admin done in no time. It’s all about the experience you build.

Hire the Right Attitudes.
Train the Right Skills.

Hospitality customers still want and expect one thing - hospitality.

They’ll want to relax, forget and get a taste of how things were before the pandemic. But they need to obey any Covid rules that still remain until they’re fully lifted.

Hiring the right attitude means hiring team members who are:

  • Warm, patient, friendly, and great with people
  • But also confident, diligent and gently assertive at the same time

That’s a very specific mix of traits.

If you already have team members who fit this description:

  • Make them role models for the rest of their team
  • Turn them into ‘customer-experience advocates’. Make it part of their role and turn ‘customer-experience advocacy’ into a promotion incentive
  • Involve them in training: Have them pass customer-advocacy skills into the rest of the team 

Have senior customer-experience advocates help others understand the soft skills of how to balance being hospitable with keeping customers responsible.

Growyze’s smartphone App helps teams become customer-experience advocates. Turn stock control, ordering, waste management, invoices and more into an on-the-go doddle - that way you keep teams in front-of-house, supporting and serving customers.

Don’t Over Police Customers.
Communicate & Encourage.

As customers loosen up with a few drinks, they may begin neglecting their responsibilities in adhering to house rules.

That means your front-of-house teams need to know how to communicate with customers and each other.

Getting customers to do what’s expected of them while preserving the customer experience at the same time will require specific approaches to FoH operations.

Team-to-customer communication

Do greet customers warmly. Ask how they are. Build the experience.
Don’t make it all about track & trace and Covid rules.

Do ask customers if they’re expecting others so you can seat them accordingly indoors or outdoors.

Do be patient and understanding, but politely assertive.
Don’t make threats or use escalating language and tones of voice.

Do stay available and support customers.
Don’t overload teams with admin tasks that take them away from building customer experience.

Team-to-team communication

Emphasise the importance of communicating professionally. Too often hospitality teams seem to assume customers can’t hear them, just because they’re not talking directly to them.

Do be each other's eyes & ears. Make sure teams can communicate at-a-distance with devices. Support each other and raise Covid-rules issues if you spot them.

Do encourage each other to have fun!

Ultimately, it’s about the team experience as much as customer experiences. The sweet spot is when your teams are having as much fun as the customers they’re serving.

Customers who see competent, happy hospitality teams enjoying themselves and keeping things under control will remember you, write rave reviews about you and come back with their friends.

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