Future planning during COVID-19 for closed hospitality businesses.
We are currently in a very uncertain time; the hospitality industry is facing the greatest challenge of many of our lifetimes. Upon government advice, ‘non-essential’ businesses have been asked to close, leaving many Bar, Restaurant and Entertainment Venue owners and their employees worried about their businesses, employment, bills, essential supplies and their future.
We have put together a list of 15 ideas that can help you survive during the next few months and keep you on track for your GRAND REOPENING.
- Step back and gain perspective. Its very easy in uncertain times to feel overwhelmed. Emotions are running high and people are feeling stressed. The best thing you can do is to try to step back from the situation and assess what you can change right now and what you have no control over. Try to let go of the things that you have no control over and instead, focus all your time and energy into what you can do. How can you use this ‘downtime’ to positively influence you and the future of your business?
- Limit the airtime you give the media. Spending too much time following every media story surrounding the coronavirus outbreak can have a negative effect on your wellbeing by consuming too much negativity. Instead, set yourself a daily time limit, and try to obtain your information directly from factual sources such as the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the NHS.
- Remain social. In the hospitality industry, we are social creatures. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, we have all been asked to self-isolate at home, however in the world of technology these days, self-isolation doesn’t have to be lonely. Find new and creative ways to communicate with your family, friends and colleagues to keep everyone’s spirits high… create a new group chat to keep everyone included and involved or hold a quiz night via a multi person video messaging service. The only limit is your imagination.
- Use your time productively. It’s very easy when at home to sit for hours in front of the television. Whilst downtime is enjoyable and important, its also important to keep a sense of routine. Write yourself a list of goals that you would like to achieve whilst self-isolating. Rank the goals in order of what is most important to you. Next to each of the goals, formulate a plan on how you can achieve it. Refer back to your plan when you feel yourself procrastinating.
- Grow as a person. How many of us have personal goals that we have never really taken seriously? For instance, learning a new language or skill? Many of us have dreams that we never find the time in ‘real life’ to achieve. However we have now all been given the gift of time, so use it wisely and learn a new skill, read a book, start a blog; do whatever you would like to so you don’t look back once this is over and wish you hadn’t wasted the time you had.
- Take advantage of Government help. You have worked hard to build your business up from the ground. Nobody could envisage the coronavirus outbreak, but it doesn’t need to be the end of your hard work. Take advantage of the Government scheme to pay 80% of your employees’ wages whilst your business is closed. This gives your employees the security of knowing they have some money to pay their bills and live, but also gives you the security that when you’re ready to open your doors once again, you will have all your loyal staff by your side.
- Reduce your outgoings as much as possible. Contact your landlord about a ‘rent holiday’. Contact all your service providers to place your subscriptions on hold i.e. till payment systems, online booking systems, credit card device subscription, payroll. Anything that you are subscribed to, ask for your services to be suspended during closure.
- Sort your finances. If required, look into obtaining a bank or Small Business Association Loan. They have set up help dedicated to the COVID-19 breakout.
- Clean and revive. When able, use this time to perform a deep clean of your venue ready for reopening. If funds allow, now is the perfect time to repair or renovate areas of your venue so that it has a complete fresh start.
- Revive your social media. Go through all of your content and correct any inaccuracies. Update your opening times anywhere that you appear. Add your website and phone number to google.
- Remain active on social media. This doesn’t have to be marketing based, just touch base with your fan base from time to time, reassure them that you plan to open as soon as you can. Promote any future plans of events with dates to be confirmed. Let them know you are performing a deep clean. Tease them with the knowledge that you’re undergoing a small face lift to excite people to come back once reopened. Consider selling gift vouchers with a long expiry date on so that people are able to help financially support you right now and will be able to use the vouchers once you reopen.
- Up your marketing skills. Learn how to create better Facebook and Instagram ads. Begin creating unique content and save it ready to post once you reopen.
- Review your technology. What are you doing within your business that can be done more efficiently? Are you still using paper for health & safety and cleaning checklists? Consider signing up to the ItsTicked business checklist application and spend this downtime setting up ready to hit the ground running when you reopen. Are you staff still taking orders on paper? Research a POS system. Are your staff rotas pinned to a wall? How can this be more efficiently?
- Touch base with your employees. Keep them up to date with new plans you have for the business once open, draw from their experience and welcome ideas from them, it pays for your employees to feel part of the business and for everybody to be on the same page.
- Learn. What have you learnt from COVID-19? What can you do to help your future self if anything similar happens again?
Above all, remain positive. This will pass, we all just need to pull together and ride it out.