How to Reopen successfully

Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the hospitality business. 


But as we head towards the end of lockdown — what should you be doing right now to make sure your venue can re-open as safely (and as successfully) as possible once restrictions finally lift?

From minimising queues to keeping customer and staff interaction at a safe distance, there’s a lot to think about and prepare for. 

That’s why you should be putting a plan in place now to make sure that, after lockdown, you can focus on getting customers through the door — not on how to reopen them.

So, with that in mind, here are six steps every pub, restaurant, or bar owner needs to take to hit the ground running as soon as lockdown ends. 

Implement mobile ordering

Letting your customers order via their mobile phones is one of the best ways to keep your business Covid-secure. It’ll minimise staff-to-customer interaction, and, as result, helps enable social distancing measures.

Mobile ordering is also a great way to increase spend per head, which is just what you’ll need after months of lockdown. Some studies have even shown that mobile ordering can increase spend per head by up to 30%, thanks to customers feeling more relaxed, spending more time browsing menus and as a result adding more items to their basket.

We can expect a significant boost and bounceback in demand for thirsty and hungry customers looking to revitalise their social lives. It is very important to have order to table technology implemented and ready to reduce the time to serve and keep customers happy. 

Order to table is proved to decrease the wait time and it let’s customers order freely without having to queue or wait for someone to take their order. Simply put - venues which have fully adopted order to table and payment are able to deliver to customers far quicker than taking manual orders via staff.

Furthermore, it’s best to set up an app-free mobile ordering system, like ServedUp, as it’ll avoid the need for customers to download an app — which, let’s be honest, absolutely no one wants to do anymore. 

Offer contactless payment via mobile

Just like mobile ordering, contactless mobile payment will help to protect your staff and customers by limiting their interaction as much as possible. It’ll also cut down queues and overcrowding at bars, as your customers won’t need to wait in line to pay their bill

What’s more, contactless payment also removes the need to handle cash, which’ll be safer and more hygienic for your staff. Mobile payments can also lead to an increase in digital tips to help your staff as they back into work.

Again, the best mobile payment systems are app-free. Customers don’t want to download a specific app just for your venue. 

Allow for takeaway ordering

If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to start offering a takeaway service. 

Even though you might be keen to get back to ‘business as usual’, more and more customers are preferring to takeout than eat in — and this may be a trend that is here to stay. 

So, instead of potentially losing customers to changes in consumer behaviour, why not start or scale up your existing takeaway service to give the choices they’re hungry for?

This doesn’t have to take away from your normal dine-in model, either. In fact, it could grow your business by opening it up to new customers who, in time, will want to eat out again when Covid isn’t so prominent. 

Encourage pre-buying and gift cards

In the next few weeks, it’s a great idea to promote pre-buying and gift cards to secure paying customers now, before you reopen your doors again. 

This way, you’ll be able to generate some upfront cash to help you through what could be a bumpy first few weeks back. It’ll also drum up some excitement and demand, too, letting the locals know that your reopening is on the horizon. 

You could even run a gift card giveaway on social media to spread the word. Make a post, ask your followers to share it as their entry, and you’ll almost certainly end up with more gift card sales, as a result. 

Bring your team up to speed

Before re-opening your doors, your staff need to know what’s what. 

They’ll need to be:

  • Fully trained in any new software you’re using
  • Made aware of all guidelines 
  • Fully informed of any changes to shift arrangements

Remember, any new systems you put in place won’t work without your staff on board — so take staff training seriously, and do all you can to make sure that they’re comfortable and confident enough to work in new and challenging ways. 

Prepare your customer communications plan 

There’s no business without customers, so how are you going to make yours feel safe enough to return to your venue, after lockdown? 

First, you should read the Government’s guidance for the hospitality sector, conduct a Covid risk assessment, and implement the necessary safety measures, such as:

    • Displaying signs and stickers to remind staff and customers of social distancing rules 
    • Decreasing your venue’s capacity to avoid overcrowding 
    • Keeping your venue well-ventilated at all times 
    • Offering mobile order and payment options
    • Offering a takeaway service
    • Placing hand sanitiser stations around your venue 
    • Limiting the amount of staff per shift  
    • Training your staff in how to work in a Covid-secure way

You should then do everything you can to inform your customers about these measures, and how they’ll be enforced. This’ll involve:

    • Creating social media content that explains the proactive measures you’re taking 
    • Sending out an email to your mail list that details your response to Covid
    • Displaying posters around your venue that reassure customers of their safety
    • Telling your customers, in-person, how you’re protecting them 

Ask yourself:

“If I was my own customer, would I know that this business is taking Covid seriously?” 

Answer that question honestly, and use it to inform your customer communications as best you can. 

Ready to put customer safety (and happiness) first in your venue, post-lockdown?

Register venue interest for ServedUp today — your all-new, app-free, mobile order and payment solution that gives customers what they want, and prevents the spread of Covid in your business. 

And the best bit?

There’s no upfront cost, no subscription fee and the lowest transaction fees on the market. 

(Yes, really!) 

Register venue interest and get started today.

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