The Covid-19 crisis has seen hospitality reset most of its parameters with survival the only objective in the current business climate. And, being seen to operate a safe and sustainable business environment for consumers to return to and once again enjoy hospitality is the only route to survival.
Survival is a strong and emotive word, and it is all too relevant to hospitality here and now in 2020.
We have seen all too many casualties already in 2020, too many to list, and unfortunately there will be far too many more before the year is out.
You may be reading this and cringing at the sombre tone so far, but it is the reality and as such turning away and not recognising that is what leads to the future adoption of hindsight.
Hindsight points to future repetition
Looking back through the year so far, there is so much that the gift of hindsight may have helped avoid or reduce the impact from. The repetitive nature of some of that potential learning also points to the here and now, and the future.
If we had locked down sooner… Which in essence translates to – if we’d taken the threat more seriously.
There are all too many examples, but they all translate to the same thing, what is happening is there to be seen, but all too many don’t want to see it.
What we – hospitality businesses – see, and what the consumer – hospitality customers – see needs to be aligned. We need to see and navigate the Covid-19 crisis through the eyes of our customers, and adjust our lenses to the widest possible viewpoint.
If our objective is to survive and stay in business, an economic viewpoint is essential, viewpoints that are valid and not politically biased are the key here. An economic viewpoint that is purely focused on making money may not be ethically palatable to some, but are business essentials if you want to stay in business and cut through micro and macro political prejudice.
Goldman Sachs Face Masks – Economic Impact Report: Comparison in US, spread of Covid-19 in US states where wearing face masks is mandatory Vs where not – and same comparison internationally.
The ‘facts’ in the report from Goldman Sachs are taken from the widest possible sample and asked one simple question of the data.
I don’t like wearing a face mask, I don’t want to wear a face mask, face masks don’t work – the evidence is clearly that they do, even if you don’t want to hear it. Like ignoring the early warning signals pre-lockdown in the UK, with hindsight not wearing face masks will be seen to have been detrimental to the economy.
The encouraging signal at the moment, is that sustainability is very closely aligned with safe hospitality, and most hospitality businesses have sustainability woven into their very fabric already.
Reducing multiple touch points
The Covid-19 virus can be transmitted through touch, people touching the same surfaces and passing on or contracting the virus.
The use of sustainable items in hospitality, where they can be disposed of after single use, responsibly and safely, minimises the risk of contagion.
This may mean putting some items into hibernation but being seen to be safe, and being safe will see more customers venture into hospitality venues, and return.
Buffets are a good example, nobody will want to hover around a buffet however tantalising it may look until it is safe to do so. Many businesses are now looking at alternatives, hygienic and safe combinations of bowls, plates and their covers for example that minimise multiple touch points.
Disposable cups and tableware are another good example. Drinking coffee and most drinks from sustainable cups has for a long time been acceptable to most. Not as attractive as real glass and ceramics or porcelain, but can be used as a single point of contact and disposed of safely and responsibly, minimising risk, and being sustainable at the same time.
Where tableware and glassware is maintained, the choice of warewasher might seem trivial, but using equipment that is proven to inactivate the Covid-19 virus will make a big difference. Forward thinking businesses are also displaying signage that they have covered this base.
Cleaning and maintenance of all areas and equipment. This should of course always be implemented, but now is even more essential, for colleagues and customers wellbeing.
Hand washing can seem so basic to many of us that it is overlooked as something to be continually reinforced with colleagues and customers. The use of simple reminders can also reinforce the message of safe hospitality. Hand wash timers displayed where customers and colleagues are regularly reminded of the need to wash hands thoroughly for twenty seconds will help regulate the practice, and the message of safe hospitality.
The vast majority of consumers will continue to adapt their hospitality lifestyles alongside more sustainable choices. At the same time, and currently out of necessity, consumers want to enjoy safe hospitality.
We think that safe hospitality and sustainability will become strategically symmetrical, and the businesses adapting to this will have a better chance of survival.
Sustainability and safe hospitality – 27 July 2020 – Sustainability and safe hospitality