The Kitchen Key – An Opinion – November 2020

The Kitchen Key – An Opinion – November 2020

It is pretty obvious that these are challenging times for everyone in the hospitality industry. Lockdown is tough but if you can survive, you can use the experience to thrive. Use any extra time you have to update your business model, get your purchasing in order and ensure that your margins are as profitable as possible. There is only weeks left to reopening so make sure you are ready to trade in these unique times. Below we provide you with some basic tips that you can tick off before what will hopefully be a succesful Christmas period.

Update Your Online Presence
Tired website? Little or no social media presence? These days that just won’t cut it. Now is the time to update that website that you put online six years ago with the best of intentions. The role of websites has changed across most sectors and the hospitality sector is no different. The world has gone mobile and people consume their information through social media so your online presence must reflect this. The good news is that this actually makes your life easier. The below checklist will get your website up to date and relevant.

  1. Keep it simple. Your website should be concise and useful. Your front page should consist of a picture of your premises, a concise explanation of what you do and clear links to your location, booking procedure and your menu. The customer doesn’t (or want for that matter) to be barraged with detail. Less is more. Try and get across your mission with as few words as possible and convey your atmosphere with simple images in a clean crisp design.
  2. Booking Procedure. Invest in an online booking system. Cheaper and easier than you think. People are more likely to make a booking if they don’t have to talk to you. People want to interact through their screens and the best part is it is available to the customer 24/7.
  3. Menu. If your menu changes regularly. Make sure that whoever is designing your website includes a fool proof and quick way of allowing you to update your menu. Set aside five minutes each week to update it.
  4. Social Media. How much time do you spend on your phone mindlessly scrolling through instagram, facebook or twitter. Set up your outlet’s social media accounts on your phone. Try and post daily if possible. Daily specials, events etc. but only relevant information aimed at attracting customers. No need to post personal views, irrelevant funny videos or anything that doesn’t promote your business in a concise and positive manner. Include a link to your online booking system with every post. Tempt your customers and lock them into a booking!

Take Away
If you are open now, you are providing take away and this may be an entirely new experience for you and perhaps a way to survive until things get back to normal. However, have you thought of providing take away and delivery on an ongoing basis beyond Covid 19 restrictions? If its making you money now, there is no reason why you can’t continue to provide this service going forward. Consider how you might manage this in terms of staffing and margins once restrictions have been lifted. Now is the time to plan for this eventuality as you may find yourself too busy in your old routine once you reopen. People have gotten used to enjoying a faux restaurant type experience at home through delivery services such as Deliveroo and JustEat during lockdown and this trend is likely to continue post restrictions.

Examine Your Purchasing Model & Margin Control Now
Time is everything when it comes to planning. Lets be honest, if you need produce during a busy week to keep your processes flowing, you are going to ring your regular supplier for your regular product to have delivered as soon as possible so you can get on with serving your customers. Are you always getting the best deal? The answer is almost certainly not. Using a service such as’s monthly Market Average Pricing Update, just a few minutes every month will mean that you can compare what you are currently paying to what you could be paying. Information is everything. One phone call a month to your supplier armed with the market average prices for the products that you need. This will keep everything in check and potentially save you thousands over 12 months.

Now is the time to reevaluate your business and complete those jobs that you didn’t have time to do during normal times. Good luck with reopening. Better times are ahead.