Health and Safety

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 Message to all Clients and Colleagues.

A Message to all Clients and Colleagues,

Like you, we are monitoring the latest international updates from world health authorities about COVID-19. Top Shelf Concepts wants to ensure that the resources and teams representing our products and services are available to you, and focused on helping you create Wow Food Presentation, and Serving Solutions that attract people to keep coming back to your venue.

The impact on the Hospitality industry is inevitable,   But, be ready for the bounce back!   Work on your venue\business now –Keep positive and thinking about how you can be stronger, on the other side, to be competitive.  Better times on the other side.   – it is a Bridge to Prosperity

Subsequently, Top Shelf Concepts is committed to:

  • Continue to conduct in-person meetings as required, however, our investment in digital communication tools and meeting platforms allows our people to perform anywhere and at any time with colleagues and clients. We urge our customers and clients to request moving meetings online where necessary.    
  • Our warehouse facilities are well stocked to respond for fast dispatch
  • Our customer service centres are staffed to ensure that your project proceeds smoothly.

Top Shelf Concepts has been keeping a proactive working position on COVID-19 and we encourage all our industry partners, customers and friends to do the same. We are taking all practical steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, clients and other stakeholders as a matter of the highest priority. 

We remain flexible, agile, and continually challenge the status quo.  Taking a human-centred, holistic approach is part of the essence of Top Shelf Concepts – during difficult times, this approach is exactly what is required.  We are in this together! 

Top Shelf Concepts will continue to apply holistic sustainability, just labour practices, uncompromising commitment to quality, and planning for continuity of supply, to every aspect of the supply chain. We have always maintained a multi-faceted supply chain strategy, within and between countries in accordance with our supply and quality continuity planning, giving confidence that we are in a strong position to meet our customers’ demands all around the world.

You can count on us. With a diverse portfolio of products and solutions, we are operating at full capacity to stand ready to deliver our Food Presentation and Serving Solutions to our clients globally.

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In times of stress, it is important to take care of our mental health.

We are living in some wild times. People are fighting over toilet paper, hand sanitiser is sold out on most stores, and stressful news are being shared everywhere.

To help us all, we have prepared a list of things you could do to combat stress and anxiety, hope you find them useful. If you would like to share a new tip with us, please do so on the comments! Together, we are stronger!

Exercise

Some love it and some… don’t. But no one can deny that exercise helps combat depression and anxiety. Even a quick 30 min session increases the amount of endorphins in your body, which can help your brain cope with stressful situations and mental tension. So, go ahead, let’s get sweaty!

Sit under the sun

On the bright side, we still have the lovely Australian summer sun to warm and cheer us up. Let’s take advantage of that, spending even five minutes under the sun, can help you boost your mood. Just remember to always wear sunscreen to protect your skin.

Go for a walk

Fill your lungs with fresh air, maybe listen to a podcast, while you enjoy some time outside. Whilst keeping social distance is important, let’s not miss out on the advantages that a lovely walk outside can bring.

Drink some hot tea

Green, white and herbal teas are just best option as they have calming properties, we recommend you to reduce your caffeine intake for now, as it is proven to spike anxiety for some people. Try adding a bit of honey for extra sweetness.

Practice gratitude

In times of stress (and anytime) be thankful. There are plenty of things to be thankful for, keep them always in mind.

Pet an animal

Gladly, authorities have announced that pets can’t transmit the coronavirus. On the other hand, they will surely put a smile on your face.

Take time to practice a hobby

Now that we all have a bit more time for ourselves, it is a good time to paint that special painting, finishing a puzzle, or just learning a new skill. The sky is the limit!

Talk to a friend

We are all in this together, and sometimes sharing your feelings with a friend or colleague can help you alleviate the tension, even if it is a quick conversation over the phone.

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Personal hygiene and food safety is everyone’s responsibility.

If your business involves food handling and serving, it is your responsibility to take the necessary measures to ensure the best food safety practices in the workplace.

Everyone wants to remain in business, that is why it is crucial for you to follow the food safety rules and regulations. It is also important to teach your employees how to keep good hygiene when handling food.

Food poisoning and cross contamination can create serious problems for your customers, and also for your business’s reputation. Making sure the food you serve is safe is one of the most critical parts of the food preparation process, this involves all activities from the farms, all the way to the plate.

Germs and bacteria can be especially dangerous if found around cooking and food serving areas, therefore, food handlers must practice good hygiene both personal and of their equipment, to avoid the spread of illnesses.

Achieving a good level of food safety, should enable your business to:

  • reduce the risk of food poisoning to your customers
  • obey the law
  • protect your businesses reputation

Any person who works in a position where they come into contact with food or food preparation surfaces and equipment, such as benches, kitchen utensils and cutlery, must follow the necessary rules and regulations.

Personal hygiene is essential to minimise risk, many people might carry harmful bacteria on their bodies without even knowing about it and can unwillingly contaminate the food.

Here are a few basic personal hygiene practices food handlers should follow:

  1. Washing your hands– when starting work, handling raw meat or money, sneezing or going to the toilet. This should be done thoroughly with water and soap. Business owners must provide special stations to be used exclusively for washing the hands, preferably out of reach from the food preparation areas.
  2. Never prepare food for others when ill- Supervisors must always be advised if a staff member is feeling unwell, that person should be sent home straight away and should not be in contact with the food whatsoever.
  3. Keeping clothing and protective equipment clean- Dirty clothing is one of the leading causes of cross contamination in the kitchen, changing or hanging aprons when leaving the kitchen is important, especially when handling raw meat. Making sure clothes are always clean and kept in a dry place is an important step to ensure the safety of your food. Protective equipment is generally designed to be used once and should be disposed immediately after being used.

4. Wiping perspiration- it is important to do so with a clean cloth and then wash your hands straight away, avoid touching your face while preparing food.

5. Jewellery, perfume and varnish – must be kept to a minimum, wedding bands should preferably get disinfected before starting work. Nail varnish or fake nails can be easily chipped off, contaminating the food you are preparing therefore is better not to wear any. Perfumes are also to be avoided as the food can get tainted, no one really wants their food to taste like the latest ‘Chanel’ fragrance.

6. Hair- It should be tied back, and facial hair should be preferably kept short to avoid it falling onto the food.

7. Avoid bad habits- never smoke near food preparation areas, and wash your hands and face afterwards. Chewing gum while preparing food is extremely prohibited as it increases salivation with small particles being propense to land on the food.

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Take your part by following the steps described above, together we can create a more responsible and safer industry, that provides excellent and well thought service to our customers. 

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Coronavirus: How can hotels raise above to protect their customers and revenue.

Coronavirus has had an undeniable impact on international travel and the hospitality industry. At Top Shelf Concepts, we look at the current trends and make some key recommendations to mitigate the impact upon your business.

Don’t stop marketing your hotel but do adapt your approach.

The impact of recent demand shocks on the Australian hotels sector are expected to be short-lived despite a challenging start to the year. With bush fires, hampering travel, and as fear about the Corona-virus spreads, Chinese tourist groups stopped, conferencing and events being deferred to a later date, some sectors have been impacted significantly.

Now is the time to take advantage of this ‘ window of opportunity’!

Take time to be the best in your field.  The best in Food Presentation, Hygiene and Communication.

People still need to eat, and to meet.

While cancellation of overseas events is having some impact on the Australian industry, the long-term growth will make Australia, and many other countries stronger. The biggest impact is the cancellation of international events in Australia and the roll-on effect on suppliers in particular – venues, hotels, staging, crewing, stand building, waitstaff and many other ancillary services, many of which use temporary staff – who will not be getting paid.

But please let’s not panic, the Australian tourism industry is resilient and competitive.  It will grow overnight, as we have the ability to bounce back fast.

A glance on how these ambitious goals can be achieved.

  • Be Seen
  • Be Green
  • Be Clean

It’s time to work on the business.  This leads us toward different ways of thinking that are beneficial and drive effective change. When we don’t have any restrictions on us, we tend to reflexively do what we have always done and don’t consider possible improvements.

Being risk avert, means that often we need to change our perspective on the status quo. Instead of focusing on the disruptions to our lives, we might reflect on how we can be proactive, which in turn will make your hotel or venue be the best.

RECOMMENDATIONS:  

 “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”–Alexander Graham Bell

  • Check your Food Serving – is your food covered?  Are you protecting your patrons from the airborne virus? The best way to prevent illness is being exposed to this virus, which spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Using Food Dispensers, Bakery Display cabinets ensure that there is no cross-contamination with food service and the food.
  • Reassure your guests Highlight wherever you are going above and beyond to ensure guest safety, e.g. deep cleaning rooms etc. It’s also worth reiterating that you’re following local Governmental guidelines and best practices to minimise risk.  Share a video on your enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection, as a precautionary measure against corona-virus.  Share this information that food presentation, Food Preparation is compliant with stringent health regulations.  Taking extra steps that go above and beyond industry and regulatory requirements to ensure its customers’ health and comfort and provide them with confidence and peace of mind when planning their travel and stay.

    Implementing enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection of all rooms, dining, and conferencing areas as a precaution.  In line with the latest expert medical finding that the COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted by touch, placing your greatest focus on surface cleaning.  Make it known that you use approved chemicals proven to kill viruses and germs, that leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces, and is eco-friendly.

  • Share your cleaning process!  Include how your team are comprehensive by the following:  wipe down of all surfaces — from windows, trays, tables, seat, screens, armrests, seats, controls, panels, air vents and storage, to lavatories, kitchen, and staff areas.  All of this is done in addition to other normal procedures such as replacement of reading materials, vacuuming, and more. 
  • Focus on domestic markets, keep advertising. Ensure maximum domestic market exposure by concentrating more budget and targeting on in-country advertising to focus on those already here, countering the impact of international travel restrictions and reduced flight timetables. Google’s search traffic for ‘staycations’ are up 50% YoY so far in 2020.
  • Be where the market is. Focus on campaigns where there’s still an established audience with a strong intent to book. Ensure you have brand PPC covered to capture those still looking to book your hotel and have a re-marketing campaign in place to convert those still undecided, but who have already shown they might be in-market. Everyone is sharing negative campaigns out there, focus on the positive and get creative! A lot of great advertising ideas come from the darkest of times.
  • Peace of Mind Accommodation booking Advise how you will be providing customers added flexibility, choice, and value; with the ability to change their accommodation dates without change and reissuance fees.
  • Try to maintain your rates It’s not about price of rooms, it’s all about reassurance of hygiene, in all operational aspects. Promote added value offers or the flexibility of your booking terms. 

  • Last but not least: Prepare for the bounce back The travel industry is resilient, and we would anticipate that once the situation improves, demand should return. History, industry analysis (i.e. Bernstein’s prediction of “a near complete bounce back in 2021”) and the fact that most of us will be accumulating holidays when not travelling, would suggest that returning demand is an inevitability. 
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