The last few months have been tough. Now, as we prepare to reopen to all of the new realities post Covid 19, how can we ensure that we are legally compliant and viable?

The primary concern for all businesses is the personal safety of staff, customers and self. It is important to state that the industry has always had safety (food and facilities) at the centre of what we do. So, ensuring that this is still the case is not new, however there is so much documentation coming at us from government bodies, industry bodies, busybodies that it can be completely overwhelming.  

Some of the critical aspects to ensure the future of the business are; a)the health and safety of you, your staff and your customers,  b) your own wellbeing, c) the  viability of the business  and the d) preservation of the core of hospitality. We are an experience industry. We are now also charged with the health of each guest who enters our premises. This is an added responsibility and has the potential to cause great stress when not properly prepared.

So many new operating protocols
  1. The Health and Safety of Owner, Staff and Customers/Guests.

There are many excellent free sources of factual information to help on the Covid19 preparation. Some of those are

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s Covid19 Guidelines

The Failte Ireland Business Support Hub

The Health and Safety Authority Covid19 Guidelines

It can be a daunting task to trawl through such a mountain of information, however these are the questions you need to answer

  1. Have measures been put in place in the business to minimise the risk of the transmission of Covid19 between
    1. staff and guests,
    1. staff and staff,
    1. staff and delivery agents?
  2. Has all staff been trained on Covid19 hygiene and safety protocols?
  3. Has all staff been trained in correct hand washing technique?
  4. Has all staff been informed of the measures you are taking to protect them and trained in those procedures?
  5. Have you updated your SOPs to reflect all of the above?
  • Your own Wellbeing.

Much is written and spoken about on this topic. We in the hospitality industry are rightly proud of our tradition of looking after everyone who comes our way. Curiously we do not include ourselves in this hospitable bubble.

Questions to ask ourselves as we face this uncertain future.

  1. What measures have I put in place to protect my own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing on a daily basis?
  2. Have I built in even 5 single minutes into my day where I step out and ‘breathe’?
  3. Have I examined how I am at an emotional, physical and mental level before I step back in?
  4. Highly recommend this One Moment Meditation by Marty Boroson. It takes only a moment!

C) The Viability of the Business

You will no doubt have spent money on hygiene and safety measures to ensure that the business is ready to open. These costs will not have been built into your annual budget and come on top of an enforced closure with the loss of vital revenues. How then to ensure that the business operates as efficiently as possible.

  1. Menu – waste of every kind begins with the menu. Now is an opportunity to refine, reduce  and renew the menu paying attention to every decision and it’s knock on effects on every aspect of the business- see blog on Food Waste starts with Menu Planning.
  2. Snake Oil – beware the lure of the snake oil sales pitch. There are many voices out there pushing all sorts of (expensive) gadgets, gizmos and chemicals claiming to be the answer to a clean environment. Go to the trusted sources for information only.
  3. Plastic – be careful about rushing into the wholesale use of single use plastics. There are alternatives. Check out Fifty Shades Greener, Green Hospitality and Plastic Soup Foundation  
  4. Utilities- There are countless ways to save on water, gas, oil, electricity. Take a walk through your business and note all the points at which one of these can be saved.
    • Fixing leaks,
    • Sensor Lights
    • Induction versus gas
    • Reducing water pressure
    • Water sensors
    • Air cooled ice machines
    • Low flow aerators
    • High performance low flow nozzles on dishwash hose.
    • Timed oven useage.
  5. Flow- Is your service front and back flowing efficiently? Are there bottlenecks? Why? How can you eliminate these and ensure that there is not wasted energy because of poorly planned space?
    1. Take a walk through the business and note where there are staff criss crossing, doubling back, wasting movement and time – often due to poor lay out. This is easily remedied once recognised.
  6. Training
    1. Comprehensive training programmes in place. Trainers need to be trained to train. It is not a skill be are born with.
  7. Systems
    1. ‘’94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven’ Edward Deming.  No business can run efficiently unless it is underpinned by tried, tested and live systems. Where there is a problem, look at the system (or lack of same ) first.
  8. Cash Flow Management
    1. The most precious commodity in the business. Tight cash management will be critical to the survival of the business.
    1. Put a robust cash control system in place. See Failte Ireland Business Supports
  • The Core of Hospitality
  1. ‘The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers’.
    1. Mask or not, we can still smile, laugh with, engage with, welcome, connect with and provide that safe hospitable space for our guests.

Wishing everyone the very best of luck as we reengage our hospitality muscles. Bring it on.