At DesignLSM, our team of strategists, designers and brand specialists have been working closely with our clients to plan for the future and for the reopening of their hospitality spaces.
We have shared below our 5 golden rules to help you with the process of re-opening keeping in mind the safety of guests without compromising on your brand and hospitality experience.
We hope you find this advice useful and if wish to talk anything through then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here
No.1 - Guest Communication & Experience
Create an open and honest dialogue with guests to provide them with a sense of reassurance. Keep the tone light and positive. Use this as an opportunity to cement brand trust.
Consider offering a small thank you gift to those that have visited within the first couple of days of opening. This builds guest engagement, rewarding those that have ventured out whilst creating positive memories. (The gift could be a free drink, a gift wrapped dessert or even a little treat for breakfast for the following morning).
Communicate your guest protocol online and in the windows. Enabling people to understand the procedure for entry and purchase etc. ensures everyone feels welcomed and comfortable.
No.2 - Circulation
Minimise crossover – replan your space to ensure guests do not feel exposed or uncomfortable. Provide floor markings to act as circulation and queuing guides. Consider how these floor markings could fit within your brand’s tone of voice.
Reimagine areas where guests tend to congregate such as communal tables, bar seating, bathrooms and entrances. Where will the new waiting areas be, do you require a new take-away counter.
Think about how you redress the space – does the restaurant floor look too empty when removing tables to adhere to spatial distancing rules? Is it better to dress the empty tables with flowers or brand related objects to enhance the environment.
Consider touch points to reinforce your brand story utilising elements such lighting, music, art and planting etc.
No.3 - Operations
Health tech – will the integration of technology help reassure guests and staff? Consider using a thermal graphical camera on the entrance door linked to your GM’s handset so that you can discreetly monitor staff and guests.
Service style – consider how your staff will greet and engage with your guests. Will they be wearing PPE, if so how does this effect communication? Will you provide disposable menus or move to a digital format? Can a digital format be extended to the ordering and payment process?
Pre-book and order – give guests the option, where possible, to pre-order and book specific seating arrangements / zones allowing them to feel reassured prior to visiting.
It is important to review how these changes fit within your brand’s style, values and guests expectations.
No.4 - Food and Beverage
Is this a chance to review your menu – will a new selection help attract new guests? Can you service your previous menu – does it need altering to fit with product availability or staff capacity BOH.
Will a simplified menu provide guest reassurance – some people may feel that fewer dishes means more efficient and simple BOH procedures.
How will your tables be dressed – considered wrapping cutlery and protecting glassware if left on the table. Can you create an experience around this – presenting items like gifts for guests to unwrap?
Consider the presentation of food and drink – providing reassurance and positive anticipation for the delivery of the dishes.
No. 5 - Marketing
Keep your guests and online audience regularly informed by sharing updates on opening times, new menus and revised operations through social platforms and e-shots. Utilise tools such as Instagram highlights to allow people to access key information.
Promote your team and company culture through behind-the-scenes broadcasts and IG live interviews providing insight into the inner workings of your business, BOH procedures and to get guests excited for opening.
Collaborate and partner with other local businesses to offer wider combined experiences, benefitting from cross promotion and encouraging guests to visit the locality. The public are keen to support brands that display positive values and acts of ultraism.
Opportunity – is this a chance to review your operations and implement any efficiencies or alterations? Staff and guests are currently more adaptable so now may be an ideal time to create a positive change for your business.