COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is creating challenges for hospitality businesses all over the world.
In our efforts to assist our hospitality clients we are putting together a resource on things you can do to deal with the business challenges that are developing. We are based in Australia, and as such have a focus on local businesses, but a lot of this information will be helpful to hospitality businesses anywhere.
We've split it into 3 sections - LEARN, DO & SHARE. LEARN provides resources on where you can access information that may assist you. DO is full of practical actions you can take in your business. SHARE covers tips to communicate with your customers and market your business.
We will be adding to this page regularly and have decided to provide all this information with free access as a way to support both our clients and the hospitality industry as a whole. Feel free to print off or share this web page. And if you have anything you think we should add, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information & Resources
World Health Organisation 'Advice for the Public' - www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Australian Government 'General Alert' - www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
Australian Department of Health 'Advice for Hotels & Staff' - www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-hotels-and-hotel-staff
Support for Businesses
Victorian Chamber of Commerce 'Business Support Measures' (details tax breaks and government financial support available for Victorian businesses) - www.victorianchamber.com.au/business-support/crisis-information/covid-19-coronavirus-resources
ATO Information for Individuals -www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/COVID-19/page=1#Support_available_for_business
Economic Survival and Jobs Package Information -www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/economic-survival-and-jobs-package
Australian Banking Small Business Relief Package Information -www.ausbanking.org.au/banks-small-business-relief-package/
ATO JobKeeper Payment Fact Sheet - www.ato.gov.au/Job-keeper-payment/
- Great Ocean Road Tourism
- Tourism Victoria
- Australian Hotels Association
- Tourism and Accommodation Australia
- Restaurant and Catering Association
Practical Actions You Can Take
HYGIENE BEST PRACTICE
There is a reason hand washing is at the top of the list. It is the single BEST WAY to prevent spread of disease. Even better than sanitiser. Ensure staff are washing their hands often, and properly. To assist with this you can;
- provide posters on proper hand washing technique
- stock bathrooms with appropriate supplies such as soap and paper towel or hand dryers. (Note: cloth towels are not advised.)
- provide sanitiser where sinks are not available, like at the register and entryway.
Times when you should be washing your hands;
- before and after handling food
- before and after using the bathroom
- before and after eating
- before and after touching your face
- after handling money
CLEANING PREMISES AND EQUIPMENT (IF STILL OPEN)
complete deep cleans of your premises and equipment regularly.
- regularly sanitise surfaces with an appropriate alcohol-based cleaning product between servings, hourly wipe down of all door handles.
- to maximise hygiene measures, use environmentally friendly disposable packaging where possible.
- to minimise spread of germs through cash handling - stop taking cash, instead encourage customers to use electronic payment methods where possible.
Where possible cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of immediately. Otherwise into your elbow.
You can assist by providing tissues in as many places as possible.
Make sure staff stay home when sick. Ensure they are aware of the ramifications and responsibilities at this time.
Book a 'Food Safety Refresher - COVID-19' session with AVTES (can be conducted online via webinar / video conferencing).
Practical Actions You Can Take
TAKE-AWAY & HOME DELIVERY PIVOT
Review your business model and try to find innovative ways to serve your customers:
- how can your customers currently buy from you? can you offer new ways like - take-away, kerbside delivery or home/office delivery? can they order by phone, email, online? (see below for links to free online ordering apps.)
- if you don't have access to a large database or social media audience, consider other aggregators and platforms. (see below for links to the main Australian ones.)
- what can your customers currently buy from you? pre-prepared meals, freezable options, meal packs, single serve, family size, bulk, cook-at-home packages, DIY kits, consider families and kids...
- can customers purchase gift vouchers to be used at a later date?
If you'd like to introduce online ordering but don't have a solution yet, I've come across a couple of free options that you might like to check out:
- US based (but can be used anywhere) - www.ebsorders.com
- Australian based (but can be used anywhere) 'FROLO' free restaurant online ordering system - freerestaurantonlineordering.com
If you'd like to list with online food platforms, these are the major ones in Australia.
- investigate what support their is for businesses in your geographical and industry area. (See 'LEARN' section below for Australian links)
- renegotiate deals with suppliers. (Google letter templates to assist with this.)
- cancel any unnecessary services (don't forget your monthly subscriptions too).
Take this time to make improvements that you've been putting off:
- look at your business vision and strategy.
- review business practices and systems.
- train your staff.
- learn new skills that will benefit the business - like marketing, leadership, new technology.
Communicate To Your Customers
Now is NOT the time to forget about your marketing. Your customers need to hear from you now more than ever. To ensure they feel safe and confident to continue to buy from you.
If you have been building your database - well done.
If you have been cultivating your social media audience - well done.
If not, you still have options.
BE FINDABLE - at this time, I advise considering listing with online food platforms, especially if you don't have much of a database or social media following. These are the major ones in Australia.
TELL people what you’re doing.
- Talk to your customers in person when they are in your venue to let them know how you're being pro-active.
- Print-off menus and flyers explaining any changes to your menu and delivery options. Distribute these in venue and also drop at other local spots where people may see them, like community noticeboards (supermarkets often have these and is the most attended spot at the moment).
- Post on your social media channels about what you're doing (business and personal). Include both visual and text posts.
- Post to local Facebook Groups - like 'Buy, Swap & Sell' - they have lots of members and posts get seen on groups more than from your business page.
- Email your contacts and let them know what you're doing.
- With any communications provide links to your menu and email/phone number/online form wherever you can.
SHOW people what you’re doing - you gotta walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
- Put up visual cues in venue to show your customers what you're doing, like signage posters and signs. Visual from the street or road if possible.