Hospitality: How to (re)open your small business

Whether you’ve already (re)opened your business or are in the process of doing so, the nature of how you operate has changed. No longer can you just fill your bar/restaurant to maximum capacity. Instead, you must be conscientious about how many customers are in the business, spacing and be more focused on cleaning than ever before. No worries though, this handy dandy little article will give you a couple of tips to point you in the right direction.

Safety precautions

The first and most important thing that you have to do when opening up is to look up the specifications for your country from your government. This should include; what is expected from you and your employees, size vs capacity and just general rules and reporting. These rules can vary from country to country. Although no definitive date has been set for hospitality businesses to reopen, the aim remains for early July. As of right now, it seems like the focus is on outdoor seating and serving, as inside is unlikely to stick to the 2 metre rule.

However, according to the BBC, the government is looking into reducing the distance to 1 metre, which would potentially open up a lot more space within a pub/bar/restaurant. Although we are not sure what the specifications are going to be for reopening, we do know that in European countries that have opened back up there have been a variety of regulations. For example, in Germany it is required for servers to wear masks and for customers to fill out a contact details form when entering an establishment, this is not required in the Netherlands, but disinfecting your hands on arrival and remaining seated at all times is. 

As for your business in particular after complying with the governmental requirements, I advise you to breakdown the customer journey throughout your establishment. This way you can break down choke points, identify areas of concern and preemptively form solutions:

  • Where do customers enter? Will they have to wait?
  • Do you have a station for washing/sanitising hands?
  • Where do they go once inside? Straight to the bar? Guided to a table?
  • How do people get to the bathroom? Is there enough room?
  • Do smokers have their own area to smoke, or do they have to walk past those entering the premises?

Then once all that is sorted, it’s time to think about your employees, are you going to have them wear a mask? If you do, why not make it a part of your uniform and print your own personalised mask? Can/should they wear gloves?

Tell everyone!

No matter what you decide, you need to let everyone know that you’re back in business and how serious you are to get back into operation. Make use of social media and pictures to show the differences in the place since being locked down; what work has been done and how is it different? All this is to get the regulars excited to return and tell potential customers not just that you’re open, but you’ve taken their personal safety seriously.

You can try to attract potential new customers through the use of more traditional marketing methods like posters, flags or banners to grab the attention of potential customers who are now newly freed from quarantine and blinking in the now unfamiliar light of the sun.

Of course, once you’ve got people through the doors, they still need to know where to go and what to do. Use posters to inform customers of the new rules and regulations and floor stickers to instruct them on where to go. Not sure what more you can do? Have a look at our full range of anti-coronavirus products here, who knows, maybe it’ll give you some inspiration.

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Take a breath and keep calm

This has been an incredibly stressful time for any small business owner, let alone if you haven’t had any income for the last few months, no getting around that. You’re back open now though and slowly, but surely, we are getting back to the new normal. This does mean however, that things are going to be different and strange for a little while longer. Simply, it is going to take time for both your employees and customers to get used to the new rules and methods of operation. Plus people have spent so much time at home, they’ve started to get used to it, it’ll take them a little bit of time to adjust to natural light again.

What we’re trying to say is, no matter how difficult this is, please try not to stress out too much during your first few weeks of operation, not having maximum numbers is normal and it’ll take a bit of time to bolster them again. The more you obviously stress, the more pressure you’ll put on your team, which means the worse they’ll serve your customers, leading to it taking longer for your business to flourish again. Focus on the fact that money has started flowing again, that you made it through these months of corona and that you are now ready to rock again!

That’s enough from me, what do you guys think? Let us know if you found these tips useful. What have you done in your business? Do you have any tips and tricks for us? Let us know in the comments below!