4 Areas of Focus that Build Consumer Confidence in Your Restaurant or Hotel
December 22, 2020 | 1195 Views
If you open it, will they come? It’s the question many owners and managers are asking in these days of COVID-19 as consumers grapple with fears of going out in public lest they be struck down by the pandemic that has claimed so many lives.
How do you convince your guests to return to your restaurant? To your hotel? How do you assure them that you are making things as safe as possible and that your hospitality commitment in these days includes caring for their physical and mental well-being?
It first helps to know what it is that your consumers are concerned about. The National Restaurant Association has researched the topic and learned the following about restaurant customers:
Lodging guests had similar concerns according to an American Hotel & Lodging Association survey conducted by Morning Consult in August of 2020:
These findings can help inform changes you can make at your restaurant or hotel to build confidence among your guests—and what you need to communicate to them. The research suggests that you should focus on four areas: cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, employee health and personal hygiene, and food safety.
1. Cleaning and Sanitizing
Consumers are concerned about being infected with COVID, a disease that can linger on contact surfaces as well as spread through air. Ease their concerns by instituting strict and thorough procedures specifically geared toward protecting your guest.
For restaurants, these procedures can include:
- more frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-contact surfaces
- cleaning and disinfecting any pens, counters, or hard surfaces between uses
- cleaning and sanitizing between seatings
- using disposable or digital menus
- opting for single-use condiments
- avoiding all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants
For hotels, it could include:
- cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch, hard, non-porous surfaces
- having housekeeping staff wait 15 minutes before entering a guestroom for cleaning
- discarding all single-use items guests use or leave behind
- washing all bed linens, towels and other laundry at a high temperature following CDC guidelines
2. Social Distancing
While people know they need to stay physically distant from others not in their germ circle, not everyone has a good sense of what six feet looks like. It’s why many guests appreciate having signage that helps to control flow through a property and identifies distances. This might take the form of stickers on the floor identifying six feet apart. Or it might mean having arrows that create a one-way traffic flow.
One restaurant opened up a door that had been a fire exit and asked customers to exit there rather than walk back through the reception area where other guests might be waiting. Other restaurants are asking guests to wait in their car for a table and they use either an electronic device or text them on their cell phones when their table is ready. Hospitality operations can also limit how many employees are allowed in a break room at one time.
3. Employee Health and Hygiene
When you give your employees the tools and knowledge to practice good hygiene, you’ll build confidence in your consumers. What does this look like? It means giving your employees guidance on when to wear masks and gloves. It means providing easy access to hand washing and sanitizing stations. It means monitoring employee health with daily screening and ensuring they don’t come in if they are sick or have been exposed. It also means providing good training on COVID policies and procedures.
4. Food Safety
All restaurants and hotels with food service already know how important it is to be committed to food safety. It is the backbone of what you do. Today, more than ever, food safety standards must be at their highest and it is important to know and implement COVID-19 precautionary best practices. This ranges from how your food is stored and prepared to how it is delivered and served to the guest.
Finally, make sure your guests know what you are doing to keep them safe. They’re going to want to know what you are doing before they arrive, so update your website with friendly text that stresses hospitality or even better, register for the ServSafe Dining Commitment and display a decal on your website and property. Welcome feedback from your guests whether it is online or in person. Keep your staff informed so that they, in turn, can provide guests with the assurance they need that your operation is safe.
ServSafe offers free training resources on COVID-19 that you can use with your staff. Learn more at www.servsafe.com/freecourses.