By JrmSeptember 17,2021
Let’s rewind to last year when Australia was emerging from its first ever lockdown. Hospitality businesses were starting to reopen their doors and were delving into what became our ‘new normal’. Customers who had been starved of their much loved Australian restaurant scene were clamouring for bookings and the wait lists were long.
This was a very challenging time for many hospitality businesses. Heightened customer expectations combined with depleted personnel, increased regulations and numerous new procedures to follow resulted in a severely stretched workforce, high levels of customer dissatisfaction and a barrage of bad reviews.
Fast forward a year, the borders are still firmly shut, we’re in a state of negative migration and the hospitality staffing crisis is about to reach breaking point.
Last year, the JRM team put together a ‘Road to Recovery’ program for some of our clients. We ran mini workshops and designed individual strategies with them to help get their relaunches off to a flying start. While each business had their own internal demands, the most challenging aspect that was top of the list for all businesses was staff.
Here are some of our key findings & tips from our 2020 Road to Recovery program. We hope that you find them useful, and that they help you in your own road to recovery.
Retention should be your number one priority
Finding new staff can be costly and time consuming, so focussing on retaining your existing team should be your top priority right now.
If you have closed your operation over the last few months, it’s time to pick up the phone and re-engage that team! It might sound simple, but take a moment to find out how they’ve been during the lockdown – it will let them know you care. Don’t just rush into rosters and work matters, do something fun & thoughtful to lift their spirits & get them excited about re-joining the team.
Communication is key
Employees who know what your plans are will be more engaged in your business.
After a turbulent couple of years, security is important, so reassure them that they still have a job & that things are going to be busy. You don’t want them to look elsewhere, and when competitors come knocking on their door, you want them to have enough confidence in your business, that they don’t need to be tempted to go elsewhere.
After months of deprivation, customer expectations will be high. While there will always be difficult customers, more often than not, you can avoid ugly confrontations by setting the scene and letting customers know what to expect before they arrive or when they arrive. If there are extended wait times, tell them. They will be far more sympathetic if they are prepared for delays.
If you haven’t already done so, open up your bookings now! Get those tables filled & those waitlists happening. Take deposits and set your rules. Now more than ever, you need income security so don’t be shy in your requirements – the demand will be there.
Simplify your offering
If you are short staffed, it is essential to keep things simple for a few weeks until you find your feet again. Consider running a reduced food & beverage menu that your kitchen can easily pump out. Again, be clear to communicate this to your customers.
Staff Up Now
Now is the time to line up the team who will accelerate your relaunch. There will be staff casualties with career and lifestyle changes brought about by lockdown – so prepare for this and get recruiting now.
If you have gaps in your team, give us a call, as candidate registrations are steadily increasing and we may have the perfect permanent or casual solution for you.
Let us be a part of your relaunch success story!