It has recently been reported that 66 Whetherspoon staff have tested positive for Coronavirus across 50 UK pubs. Since reopening on the 4th July, the company is said to have welcomed 32 million people into its 861 establishments; in light of these staggering figures, and the subsequent number of staff who have fallen victim to Covid-19, we must consider whether we’re really doing enough to protect our front of house staff.
Whilst precautions are being taken to improve the efficiency of hospitality venues, and subsequently protect their staff’s wellbeing, more needs to be done to prevent the number of Coronavirus-positive workers from rising. Face shields are a great place to start but if the extreme realities of Covid-19 have taught us anything, it’s that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.
My name is Darren Diamond and I’m the founder of Crakos, a brand-new restaurant management system. I have vast experience working with industry experts, having now created a tech-driven platform which enhances the efficiency of restaurants’ internal processes. Amid Covid-19, there are a number of additional steps restauranteurs can take to further protect their staff; using my experience and understanding of tech-based platforms, I am sharing my expertise. Your front of house staff are continuing to prioritise and care for your customers, you need to do the same for them.
- Manage the number of customers in your restaurant.
The government’s guidelines regarding groups have become increasingly clear; you are no longer able to seat tables of more than 6, in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be filling your restaurant with lots of smaller tables – that somewhat defeats the object. It’s important that you leave a sufficient amount of space between tables, that you clean down sufficiently in between bookings and that you take your premises into consideration. If your restaurant is quite small then you should be seating fewer customers, instead embracing eat-out options in response to current restrictions. Listen to the government’s guidelines and consider how they impact your set-up; this isn’t a simple process and you do need to carefully adjust your services.
2. Consider how many staff are working at a time.
It’s important that your staff feel supported and protected; monitoring the number of customers in your restaurant is of course vital, but it’s also important that this marries well with the number of team members you have working at any one time. By limiting the number of customers you welcome into your restaurant, and simultaneously the number of employees, you’re reducing the quantity of people in your venue, making it a safer space for everyone. This of course needs to be balanced, you don’t want your staff feeling over-worked, handling too many customers; an appropriate ratio can be found, you must simply consider your restaurant’s unique needs. Speak to your staff, consider their needs and re-adjust your rotas accordingly.
3. Take menial jobs off of their hands.
As your staff work tirelessly to deliver an exceptional standard of customer service whilst navigating new requirements, including wearing face masks for example, it makes no sense for menial, unnecessary tasks to add to this mounting pressure. Whilst re-evaluating and improving your current processes, I would recommend embracing technology to better utilise your employees’ time. By embracing platforms like Crakos, time-consuming, mundane tasks can be completed automatically by efficient software, whilst your team can focus on enhancing your customers’ experiences. From printing labels to processing take-out orders, technology is helping to create a more resilient hospitality industry – join in!
4. Ditch paper menus if you haven’t already.
Most restaurants have now turned to digital menus, launching QR codes to better support their customers. In doing so, you’re preventing materials from being passed between customers and staff, lessening any risk of cross-contamination.
Meanwhile, digital menus allow you to make instantaneous updates should your offerings be subject to immediate change. Your suppliers are facing similar pressures and none of us can anticipate what lies in store. Providing your customers with quick updates like this lessens the pressures facing your employees. Delays and inaccuracies behind the scenes are likely to negatively impact your staff’s wellbeing.
5. Remain adaptable.
You need to be adaptable. The restaurants who fared particularly well during lockdown successfully adjusted and listened to the needs of their customers and employees. Now might not seem like an ideal time to financially invest in a restaurant management system, but only by making your processes more streamlined can you hope to maintain a consistent stream of business throughout further potential lockdowns. Similarly, your business plan might not have initially incorporated take-out options, but don’t ignore this possibility; takeaways could be your saving grace if restrictions are tightened.
Remain adaptable, seek expert advice and maintain open communication with your staff. In doing so, you can reliably support their needs and protect their wellbeing during these challenging times. The provision of safety equipment is a top priority, but it certainly shouldn’t be your only priority.
For more information about Crakos visit www.crakos.com.