We don’t need to remind everyone what we are all adapting to but it seems week after week there is another blow to the hospitality industry.
With the country in various tiers and rules constantly changing, pubs and restaurants up and down the country (and the world) are losing revenue, BUT there are some positive and innovative operators out there streamlining their businesses to maximise opportunities arising from the COVID-19 changes.
The rise of brunching!
The curfew of 10pm across the UK has definitely put some people off a visit to a pub or restaurant in the evenings, leaving a huge opportunity for businesses to maximise footfall during off-peak times and keep a steady stream of customers flowing through the day. The best way to do this….push breakfast and brunch, which many pubs and bars have been doing, advertising ‘10am is the new 10pm’.
Bars and pubs are recruiting new chefs specifically for breakfasts and brunches, front of house staff are managing and being trained on hot drinks and many establishments are adding ‘brunch cocktail’ and ‘mocktail’ lists as well as bottomless brunches.
With so many people now working from home, this is a great opportunity for pubs and bars to pull in remote workers for a change of scenery. It’s true, these establishments will be missing the usual ‘workforce’ lunchtime trade but creating an environment for remote workers could be an extremely positive move. ‘Pub desks’ have been created by operators in residential areas offering ‘coffee and a desk’ during quiet times, but to ensure the success of this, pubs need to be able to offer excellent wi-fi, great coffee and access to power points to compete with local coffee shops.
One particular pub in Kent was covered by the BBC for its innovative idea to attract remote workers by offering a table by a plug socket, wi-fi, lunch and unlimited tea and coffee (no pints, included, sadly!) all for £10. Going forward, this could potentially be a subscription service offered by operators to ensure a flow of revenue. Brewdog are developing their remote working space further by offering a table, WiFi, unlimited tea and coffee and a pint at the end of the day for £70 per month (currently £7 per day)
Maximising the day
No matter the type of customer you are trying to capture now is the time for operators to think out of the box, whether it’s for the daily lunch goer, pub desk/remote worker, early family dinners, morning coffee escapes or creating venues for meetings, operators will need to adapt and flex their communications and marketing to draw in customers. Low and no-alcohol ranges need to be spot-on for some of these daytime occasions – customers will always want a good experience and operators need the margins – a glass of tap water or lime and soda just won’t cut it for either side.
Take-out and delivery
Although we may have had a few months of actually visiting pubs and restaurants and enjoying a meal out – the new COVID restrictions mean that many hospitality businesses will once again need to expand or revert to take-out and offer a delivery service (these services can continue beyond the 10pm curfew). With ‘dining at home’ continuing to grow operators will need to think of something a little different to compete – for example, cocktail making boxes, speciality meats and desserts delivered to the door as well as trying to keep packaging as sustainable as possible and create branded delivery bags, napkins and cutlery.