This article is written by Foodservices Consultant Tracey Fairclough, who advises corporate clients on the appointment of workplace catering facilities and management.
It is written to provide guidance to those managing UK foodservice restaurants in the workplace beyond Covid-19.
Ten key considerations to review when designing future staff restaurants to create the ‘new normal’, based on the latest assessments of Covid -19 market intelligence.
Post Covid -19, UK foodservice operators are being forced to grapple with a rapidly changing situation no one could have predicted.
With the UK government providing guidance for lifting the lockdown, you may already be starting to plan your ‘new normal’ but remember you’ll have to support the re-engagement of and communication to customers to help them to adapt to your ‘new normal’, especially in the workplace.
The pandemic has highlighted that some restaurant formats have been better equipped and able to adapt than others.
Foodservice: The New Normal – Options and Actions
Here we address Ten key considerations to keep in mind when designing future staff restaurants, based on the latest Covid-19 market intelligence.
FOODSERVICE SAFE INITIATIVES | MAY 2020
- Click & Collect | DELIVER
With Starbucks, Costa and Greggs running UK drive-throughs, supermarkets offering click & collect, workplace providers now need to focus on bespoke click & collect services offering ready-to eat meals, professionally prepared, ordered online but to be eaten at the desk as well as to be taken home (to reassure the people you work for you) you’re protecting them at work and at home. More information
- Touchscreens | REMOVE
Heightened hygiene awareness may cause customers to be wary of public touchscreens to order and pay for goods in spreading coronavirus, as is being discussed in countless global forums today, so they ought to be removed and replaced with other methods.
- Protective Screens | INSTALL
Highlighted as a protection against numerous viruses, protective screens are almost a standard feature of the store, and so too should they be a feature along every restaurant servery.
- Contactless Payments | VALIDATE
Follow the retailers applying ‘walk out’ technology reducing: (a) staff and customer contact, (b) staff reliance, (c) customer journey time for a more efficient service reducing the risk of spread.
- Signage & Stickers | EDUCATE
Digital signage allows for greater flexibility, but investment must be made to educate customers into the new social distance measures, serving staff, customer journey / flow, menus and safety – eye level and on the floor.
- Fixtures & Fittings | ACCOMMODATE
Can your restaurant flex tables, chairs, stools, and bench layouts to meet short and long term physical distancing requirements? If not, convert them into freestanding tables and benches to adapt.
- Tone of Voice | HUMANISE
Tone is often overlooked. During the pandemic, it’s clear who’s created a reassuring tone of voice. To reassure and validate customers how to navigate a ‘new normal’, communicate clearly, perhaps using a video?
- Dark Kitchens | EVOLVE
A dark kitchen (also ghost or cloud kitchen) refers to food preparation at non-restaurant premises to take-away. With many relying more on home delivery today, why not invest in take home capabilities whilst maximising staff and space (with a separate on-site area on site that could be evolved into a dark kitchen). That way, you’re also making employees re-evaluate physical shopping, after work.
- Zero-Waste initiatives | ACHIEVE
Operators must reconsider food thrown away, post COVID-19. Whilst Caterers and foodservice providers had ramped up packaging and food waste reduction measures, these are more critical. According to WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme), the food sector produced 400,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste each year costing a staggering £682 million. Reducing food waste will help businesses save money, avoid over-buying, storing and labelling food correctly, help the environment and benefit the local community. WRAP estimated 21% of food waste was due to spoilage. It’s important now to have a stock management and rotation system in place. You could even set up a link with a local charity to donate leftover meals to those in need (i.e. elderly, vulnerable or children, given schools are not predicted to go back until 1st June and this, of course, will be subject to parents being reassured there is no risk to their return). More information
- Digital Communications | DISPLAY
The right screens in the right places are now an essential. Follow the lead of high street retailers, like McDonalds, with well-positioned screens, clearly and prominently communicating important customer updates, as well as investing in personalisation, artificial intelligence, voice recognition and developing a customer engagement app. More information
Foodservice: The New Normal – Similar Reading – Future workplace catering forecast – Foodservice adapting to reopening – Talking new hospitality – with Ian Thomas, CEO, Bartlett Mitchell.