3 Things You Should Hear After Opening This Week

22nd July, 2021 in Industry

3 Things You Should Hear After Opening This Week

Prioritising Health And Wellbeing In Hospitality

This week marks the end of Covid restrictions in England (I refuse to culturally appropriate ‘Freedom Day’ which has historically been used to signify important moments towards racial equality, such as Emancipation Day in the US and the end of apartheid in South Africa). It may also be the beginning of untold stress and difficulties for the UK’s millions of hospitality and retail workers.

Masks are no longer required, nightclubs can reopen, and social distancing rules are in the bin. All this while Covid cases are increasing and millions of minimum wage, untrained frontline hospitality and retail workers are going to have to deal with a public that’s frustrated, confused, and fed up with the situation and a government that has a ‘one rule for us, another rule for them’ policy.

These are going to be stressful times indeed, and at Healthy Hospo we’ve been thinking about what we can do to help businesses and hospitality workers deal with the reopening of everything.

1 - The customer is NOT always right

It’s time to put this tired old adage where it belongs, in the bin.

The vast majority of your guests are going to be perfectly lovely, respectful and a delight to deal with, but as we all know our brain has the most inconvenient habit of ignoring the nice guests and focusing ON that 1 asshole that seems hell bent on a mission to ruin our night. And yes, you will get that 1 guest that wants to turn their night into a West End performance of why they’re right - and you’re wrong to ask them to be respectful in your venue as if they’re auditioning for the soon to air TV show: ‘Britain’s Biggest Asshole’.

If you’re a manager, owner, or work FOH, then support your team. Have their back and look out for each other. You’ll likely never see that asshole guest again, and would you really want to? Your team however, you work with day in, day out, so treat them like family.

2 - Rest = Recovery

When you work in a high stress environment, rest becomes vital to allow Cortisol levels to return to normal, and to help us unwind and recover from the pressures of the workday.

Your staff rota is the key here to ensuring enough rest and recovery. First step is to make sure that everyone has enough time off between shifts to get home, rest, eat, recover and do some of life’s essential admin. Legally that’s a minimum of 11 hours defined by the UK government, along with 24 hours within any one week and 48hours every fortnight.

This is not only the law; it will help your staff recover so that they are at full strength when they come to work.

3 - Do you really need to open?

Now THIS is a controversial question but hear me out.

Given the chronic staff shortage that the industry is going through right now, caused by the twin demons of Brexit and Covid, staff retention has become more important than ever. When you can get a job in Lidl that pays more than minimum wage (a Customer Assistant is currently getting £10.70ph, plus a £2 bonus if they work nights), has consistent hours and is much lower stress, then we risk losing people out of the industry for good.

We need to look after those that are still working in UK hospitality, protect them from burnout, irate guests, and ensure that they want to stay working in our amazing industry.

So, given the costs and difficulties of recruiting new staff, ask yourself the question: is it more sustainable and profitable for my business and staff to cut down opening hours? Will this help avoid burnout and allow my staff to stay with my business? Even some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Le Manoir, have temporarily reduced their opening hours to protect their staff through these difficult times.

At the same time, be mindful about how your staff may feel. Discuss this with them and listen tentatively to their opinion, creating a safe space where you can both openly talk about such matters will only strengthen your working relationship. If you do decide to reduce hours, let your team know with plenty of time in advance.

We are all experiencing a rather turbulent moment in time, but remember, this is temporary, and with every low must come a high.

Things will get better in time; we just need to look after each other until we reach the light at the end of this rather long tunnel.

Much love