101 Guide for making your hospitality business successful

Have you been wondering how is it possible that some businesses are still doing good, if not great, in this pandemic while others are closing their doors for good?

The market becomes more competitive by the minute, therefore having a clear business strategy and point of differentiation is precarious to keep customers coming and sales rising. Opening a restaurant or food business “hoping” for it to succeed is no longer an option, business owners and managers must be smart and act fast in implementing well thought and tailor-made business strategies to retain their market share and build customers loyalty.

These are difficult times globally; the pandemic doesn’t spare anyone. But how is it possible that some hospitality businesses have not been as badly affected as others? Most likely they are doing some, if not all, things from the list below right.

  • Know your why.

    Why are you in business? If your answer was “money”, you need to find a bigger purpose. Otherwise your customers will also use “money” as an excuse to go to the venue next door for a cheaper meal. Find what it is that makes you want to be in business.

  • Understand what makes you different.

Why would someone choose to dine in at our venue or hire your food services? What value can you offer to your customers? A plain chicken and avocado sandwich won’t do the trick anymore. When budgets are tight, give your customers a good reason for them to give you their money. Delight them by creating unique experiences and an enticing menu, even though you might need to keep your expenditure limited, avoid cutting corners, people will notice if you do. If there is something you should never compromise on, that is quality.

  • Learn more about your customers.

Understanding who your customers are and what they care about is quite useful when taking any business decisions.

Different generations behave and take purchase decisions differently, you might not be able to please everyone so determine who your target market is, and then focus all your effort into making the dining experience of those people something truly special.

  • Create a unique concept, focusing on your strengths.

What can you do best? Exploit your strengths and do so wisely. Create a unique and holistic concept for your business, and make sure every aspect of your business revolves around that concept. If your focus is on healthy and natural food, present your food creations in sustainable/ecofriendly containers, that way there is a coherent link between the food you sell and its presentation.

Your venue’s decoration, menus, food, music, service, lighting and even scent should all work together to create a memorable experience that keeps customers coming back for more. It might be a lengthy process to put together the concept, but trust us, is well worth it.  

  • Master your food.

We are in the food business, so flavour will always be important. Source high quality and local ingredients, that would not only save you money but also create a point of differentiation amongst your competitors. Try offering a menu that is varied enough to cater all palates and dietary requirements, and make sure to transmit the message to your kitchen staff: quality is everything (in flavour and presentation).

  • Ensure your staff provides the best service.

Food served with a smile will always taste better.

Invest time to hire the right people, and then make sure to provide enough training, your patrons can understand a mistake, but a bad attitude will most likely not be tolerated. Create a culture of mutual respect and cooperation, where good communication is practiced between all team members. Remember: a great team will always bring you great results.

  • Keep things clean.

We can’t stress more about this; hygiene and safety is on everyone’s mind right now and will stay that way for a very long time. Keep your venue sparkling clean, failing to do so can cost you greatly. Create confidence for your customers and gain their trust.

  • Advertise, advertise, advertise!

You have a great venue and delicious food? Let the world know!

Now is the time to be aggressive in your marketing strategy, be present where your customers are, implement or improve your digital and social media strategy, make sure that your customers can find you online. Also, encourage your patrons to recommend you to friends and family if they have enjoyed their meal, a simple “Please help us out” can make a great difference but if you want to take it to the next level, you can offer small incentives like discounts or a free drink if they share a post on their profile about your venue. Get creative!

  • Handle complaints effectively.

Admitting a mistake is not always easy, but it can be the only way to transform a bad experience into a good one. Remember that people are 7 times more likely to share a bad experience than a positive one, you don’t need that, therefore aim to amend the mistake while your patrons are still in your premises, that opens the opportunity for them to visit your venue again.

We hope you find the information highlighted in this easy to read guide for making your hospitality business successful useful. Have you implemented any of these measures for your business? How’s that working out?

 Feel free to contact us for further advice on how to take your hospitality business to the next level, our team is here to help you succeed!

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How to market your restaurant in these current times of COVID-19

Restrictions are lifting, and eating places are now allowed more people to dine in. But this is not worth the while of some restaurants, who normally budget for a lot more than that.

So, its important to see if you can compliment your current service, with other options.

Use these marketing tips to promote your business during this health crisis and find creative ways to boost your sales.  Be creative with your offering, Don’t be paralysed, keep positive!

Perfect your presentation

Use BentoStyle boxes, napkin sets, wooden cutlery individually wrapped – Make the presentation of your dishes match the flavour. If it’s an Asian theme, use the click sticks, for chopsticks, instead of wooden cutlery!

This is an opportunity to perfect your signature dishes and deliver them to customers’ doorsteps. However, for many high-end restaurants, this era of takeaway food is unprecedented. If you’ve got the right food packaging, your presentation will still remain high quality, and your reputation un-tarnished.

Some high-end restaurants have already done this – they’re turning favourites into delivery dishes in our BentoStyle sustainable disposables.  Being stackable, they take no room, and are fast to fill and serve.

Promote your business

Update your online presence, making your website as easy as possible to use!

Utilise home delivery apps.  Focus on your menu online.  Keep it simple.  This also allows customers to choose ‘contactless’ delivery, meaning the food will be left on the doorstep with customers notified that it has arrived.

Load your takeaway menu onto your website

If your takeaway menu is different to your dine-in one, make sure you mention this on your website.  Also, make it clear that YOU ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Activate Google and Social Media Channels

Ensure you’ve claimed and optimised your Google MyBusiness profile to help locals find your business. Add your takeaway menu, enticing food photography, and the link to your website to make it more effective.

Social media also offers an opportunity to promote your new takeaway or food delivery option. Publish an announcement post and ask your customers and fellow local businesses to support you by sharing it. Use the hashtag #supportyourlocal to make your posts more visible to Instagram users.

Optimise your digital spaces

Whether it’s your blog, website, or third party sites where you’re listed, make sure they’re fully optimised. Refine your SEO and B2C marketing strategy to ensure your content is as visible as possible. Update old information (this is important and often gets overlooked!).

Community partnerships and PR – Buy LOCAL!

There is a lot of community spirit right now. If you’re a sustainable business, you could receive free support from local organisations such as Plastic Free Places or media outlets. Reach out to your local newspaper and let them know you’re still operating and have launched takeaway or a food delivery service. Local stories and good news go a long way right now.  

Make your brand a memory

Make the most of your delivery bag by popping in a copy of your menu or contact details on a fridge magnet so customers can easily re-order. You could even include a special offer to encourage this, or a personalised note thanking them for supporting your business.

Communicate health and safety standards

In times like these, people are hypersensitive about health and safety measures. It can be a good idea to communicate your practices to your customers to avoid concerns. This is your moment to define what sets you apart from other businesses. Ask yourself:

Brand: Have you chosen the best packaging for your signature dishes? Does the packaging reflect your business ethos?

Alternate revenue streams: Can you sell cook books, gift cards, or host live-streaming cooking shows?

Further cost savings: Have you exhausted all cost efficiencies, e.g. could a compost bin help you reduce your general waste bills.

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How can hotels meet the new safety challenges presented by the current pandemic

Hotels need to elevate their cleanliness standards to meet the new safety challenges presented by the current pandemic. Today is the time to prepare and start the conversation on how we, as industry professionals, are going to deliver the best and safest customer experience for our guests.

Let’s face it, people are still nervous and anxious about this whole COVID-19 situation, these feelings won’t go away so quickly, not even after the lockdown ends. If we want tourists to travel, stay, and dine in again, it is our responsibility as industry leaders to ensure our facilities follow the most strict cleanliness standards.

Communicate it:

Let’s show our guests how we are proactively tackling all areas of cleanliness, hygiene, and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels or restaurants in the near future again, they feel calm and safe because of our commitment to health, cleanliness, and safety.

Safety for our guests and associates must be a top priority, starting at the lobby, hotel rooms, and the food and beverage departments. That is the message that needs to be shared and advertised across all channels, to encourage locals to travel again, and once the boarders reopen, to invite international guests to experience Australia and its many wonders, welcoming them back to a safe and clean environment.

Rely on your team:

On the other hand, it’s equally important that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.

Here are a few tips to achieve this:

Create a Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic at the hotel or restaurant level. A group of people focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviours that are designed to minimise risk and enhance safety for consumers and the internal team.

Disciplines like housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health and associate wellbeing all need to be re-evaluated taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to take a holistic approach, to not only combat disinfection across the hotel, but to take care of our guests and associates, especially in areas of high foot traffic like the main lobby, restaurants, and obviously hotel rooms.

In regards to the restaurant area, people will have higher expectations than just an appealing food presentation. Covering the food is precarious to ease people’s fears of contamination, a great way to do so is with bakery cabinets, and chafers with a transparent window on top so that they are able to see the food without having to open the lid.

Consider placing hand sanitiser stations across all hotel areas: lobby, lifts areas, gym, spa, and hallways. People should be able to easily find a hand sanitiser station every few meters, or at least on every floor.

This is an investment, that would become the new normal for hospitality venues as soon as our doors reopen, see this opportunity as a competitive advantage, those who implement these measures and advertise them first would gain the approval and recognition of the public, resulting in future sales once tourists start traveling again.

None of us were expecting a pandemic, this is a learning process and as industry leaders we will have to adapt and change our strategies along the way in order to meet our guests’ needs, but if we keep our objectives clear and make our customers our priority, we will be able to revive the hospitality industry and bounce back together successfully.

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A few great things we have done this week.

To say that we are living in uncertain times is a massive understatement. We have lived through periods of tremendous change and turmoil in the world, actually, Top Shelf Concepts opened its doors during the Global Financial Crisis. But this worldwide situation is unprecedented, our industry has been completely disrupted and the way we do business has taken a 180-degree turn. The hospitality industry brings people together to share happiness, joy, and delicious food, but the new imposed restrictions have made it difficult for us all to do business.

It has certainly not been easy, but there are still a lot of things we can do to make this situation better for us all. At Top Shelf Concepts we have changed our approach from chasing sales to sharing the kindness, and what a week it has been! Here are a few things we did to make this week really good one, maybe there are some that you can implement too (we hope is the piano one).

We have implemented a remote work system: We got to admit, that we weren’t very familiar with this technology, we love doing face to face sales showing our buffet equipment to our customers at their venues but now we had to put a new system in place to continue helping our customers to display their food in a beautiful and safe way. This was our first challenge, and gosh we certainly had a laugh trialling all the different virtual meeting platforms. We can now proudly tell you that our remote system is ready, so if you are interested in any of our products, email us or call us and we can send a product video your way!

Worked on our internal strategy: we all had a bit of extra time on our hands, so we decided to use it productively and actually work deeply on our marketing strategy. We have been wanting to create product videos for selling and training purposes for quite some time, this week was the perfect time to do so. We can’t wait to share them with you all once they are edited and ready!

Made pancakes for everyone: this was a highlight. When the mood is down, pancakes are always a good idea. We were shooting the videos for our induction systems which you can use to cook live for your customers maybe omelettes, crepes, or pancakes. This time we were our own customers and let us tell you we were quite pleased with our dining experience!

Took the necessary steps to make sure our workplace is safe and hygienic: we are a small team, and we are convinced that together we can achieve better results that is why we continue to come to work as usual. But we also needed to make sure that our workplace was safe and hygienic for everyone, that is why we replaced our hand towels for blow hand-dryers, bought hand sanitisers for everyone and established a cleaning routine to disinfect all our working areas twice a day.

Brought a piano to the office! Yes, we are not kidding. It is proved that music improves your mood and productivity, well some of our team members are quite talented and delighted us all with a beautiful private concert. In times of stress and anxiety, is the little things that can brighten up your day.

We decided that caring is more important than selling. Something positive that this virus has taught us, is that human relationships are more important than anything else. The entire hospitality community is facing difficult times, sometimes a simple call asking, “How are you going?” can mean a lot for someone else. We want to remind all our friends and customers that we are here to support you, always!

Enough talking about us, we want to hear from you! What changes have you implemented in your organisation this week? Let us know in the comments section!

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Now is the time to get creative

It is time to show a little kindness and get creative.
Our friends from Genevese cafe were able to quickly adapt to the new government regulations and thanks to the community support they have been able to continue operating.

We are all in this together!

Can you think of any other way in which cafes and restaurants can adapt to this current climate? Let us know!


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