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How will people interact with hospitality and retail business in the future?

UK Hospitality

The Covid-19 crisis has forced the world to adapt quickly and social distancing measures look like they will be ingrained into our daily lives for the foreseeable future, even after lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

In Dubai, restaurants are already planning to reopen whilst keeping strict enforcement of social distancing. This currently means operating at 30% capacity with 2 metre spacing between tables.

Over in the USA, Tennessee is one of the first states to reopen its restaurants with strict guidelines that include limiting venue capacity to 50%, limiting tables to 6 people and keeping all tables a minimum of 6 feet apart. This is with bar areas remaining closed, banning any live music and setting strict measures for employees to follow. Retail businesses are set to also open in the state under similar circumstances.

One thing we can be sure about is there will be a cultural shift in how people engage with public spaces, whether it is enforced or self imposed. 

What will the day-to-day look like after lockdown?

Cleanliness and hygiene will become a high priority 

Essential retail businesses open during lockdown have maintained intense standards of cleanliness, these standards are unlikely to drop whilst Covid-19 is still present and similar procedures will be expected as standard in all business and public spaces. 

PPE such as gloves will be commonplace for staff in hospitality and retail environments. 

Handled items such as cash or even restaurant menus will be replaced with contactless and mobile technology.

Self-serve cleaning stations will be readily available.

Reduced staff interaction

There will be a significant drop in face to face staff interaction with protective screens or workplace social distancing to protect staff.

Self-service table ordering in venues will become the new normal; customers will browse menus, make an order, pay and even tip - all through their own smartphones. This will minimise having to interact with items that could be handled by multiple people such as menus and cash and mean customers can avoid queueing.

Venues will monitor the number of customers in a venue

Venues will run at a reduced capacity for sometime enforcing 2 metre queue spacing even in hospitality venues.

Venue layouts will change

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.

Venue layouts will need to make space allowances to keep the required distances between tables. Single flow systems may be implemented with separate entrances and exits to minimise customers passing each other.

Some shops will operate completely online 

Many retailers will look to operate entirely online offering delivery and collection services will become increasingly more popular.

David Bull
April 28, 2020

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