How Will Hospitality Operate Post-Lockdown?
With recent regulations suggesting that pubs and restaurants will be able to re-open on July 4th, the hospitality industry is beginning to think about how to operate post-lockdown.
There can be no doubt that hospitality has changed over the past few months, however the new lockdown rules will allow a return to normality. That being said, the innovations that we’ve seen in the hospitality space over the past few months are set to stay as we begin to re-open venues with social distancing measures in play.
For the time being, it’s likely that businesses will still be generating a lot of income from online sales and pick ups, as customers may be reluctant to get straight back into the swing of in-house dining. We’re looking at what the new measures will mean for bars and restaurants and how you can adapt to allow people to enjoy your space.
What are the new rules for pubs and restaurants post-COVID?
In the latest easing of the lockdown measures, Boris Johnson has stated that "our long, national hibernation is coming to an end" and "life is returning to our streets".
As a result, the pubs and restaurants that are at the centre of communities in the UK will begin re-opening and both indoor and outdoor dining and drinking will be allowed. Clubs, on the other hand will not be permitted, and the conditions of entry will still be quite strict to avoid the spread.
There will be different measures in place depending on the venue, however the guidelines suggest that operating in a “COVID-secure way” will be a must. There will be more hand-washing, table service, online ordering and tighter control on the number of people coming in and out, as well as registering upon entry to a venue - a requirement to assist with Track & Trace.
A notable announcement from the government was that the 2m social distancing rule would be relaxed in venues to 1m +, this significantly increases the potential capacity in a venue making operations much more viable for businesses.
What will this mean for hospitality?
This is great news for the hospitality sector - many of whom are reliant on in person business to keep going. Consumers are keen to start socialising in bars and restaurants again, however the pressure is on the hospitality industry to ensure that we innovate in order to keep people safe and prevent an outbreak.
The risks of re-opening venues are obvious - it is one of the most risky decisions that the government has had to make during the current time, however it is essential as we try to navigate towards a new normal as a country.
What are the risks?
- Drinking alcohol: many fear that once drinking is involved, measures to keep social distancing going will go out the window. Can people be contained once under the influence?
- Social distancing: there are also risks involved with social distancing even when sober. Things like queues for ordering, queues for entry and queues for the toilet will be hard to manage.
- Menu touching: when eating and drinking menus are an essential. The industry faces huge risks when it comes to people touching menus.
- Staff interaction: one of the main dangers is the amount of times people will be interacting with staff.
How can pubs and restaurants combat coronavirus?
The question now is how will pubs and restaurants evolve to open safely post-coronavirus? Here’s how we’ll see hospitality operating post-lockdown:
- Hygiene will become a priority: we’ll see more hand sanitisers, more wiping of surfaces and cleaning between sittings becoming compulsory.
- Mobile ordering: the technology that has got us through the past few months is here to stay. It’s likely that we will need mobile table ordering to minimise queues and ensure that wait staff interaction is kept to a minimum.
- Reduced capacity: operating at a reduced capacity will mean that venues are able to keep serving customers safely. It is likely that innovative booking platforms will need to be used, and tables will be timed to 1.5hrs to ensure that there is a quick turnaround.
- Queueless systems: With capacity restrictions and queue spacing, venues will look for queueless systems to combat these inevitable long queues. These will include table ordering services or pre-pay to collect.
If you’re thinking about how your business will be reopening once the lockdown lifts, contact us for more information!
Written by Laura Stupple