The last few weeks have been particularly unsettling for the hospitality industry, but some good news at last – we now have a clear direction from the government.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the most significant disruption to the hospitality industry that most people will experience in their lifetimes. Now we are in a state of lockdown, apart from those offering takeaway services, your business should be closed.
Closing your hospitality business is something than no owner wants to do, but flattening the coronavirus curve is essential.
We are in a much better position now than at the start of the outbreak, and already we see positives emerge from the initially challenging situation.
Hospitality business owners breathed a sigh of relief when the government unveiled their unprecedented move to pay 80% of workers’ wages. If you are still in the process of shutting your establishment or are making the transition to takeaway services – here is what you need to know right now.
The government has set out two grants for businesses who need to apply for funding due to the coronavirus outbreak – the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). You can download PDFs of each of the grants here.
Additionally, the government is to pay up to 80% of all workers’ wages, whether you’re a hospitality business or not. This scheme, which is run by HMRC, will be making the first payments ‘within weeks’ to help those affected by the virus.
For more information about coronavirus funds and how to claim, click here.
Also, now is the time to check with your insurance provider about what you are covered for. Some insurance policies include a clause about the highly unusual forced lockdown situation due to an infectious disease; others don’t.
Ring your insurer to find out what help, going forward, you will be able to claim from them, as every little helps right now.
What to Advise Staff
As a hospitality business owner, your staff are a huge part of your business, and no owner wants to have to give their employees the bad news that the future of their jobs is unclear.
But if coronavirus has meant that you are closing indefinitely and you can’t give them a date for the future when they will be back in employment, you’re not alone. Many business owners are worried, and as it is unclear when businesses will be able to open back up again, employers, employees and communities are pulling together to help those who face redundancy to find other forms of employment.
However, just as COVID-19 has severely affected some businesses, it has meant that others are thriving. Supermarkets and the NHS are calling out for staff which could be a temporary solution for your employees. For example, the Co-op recently announced they are looking for 5,000 staff to help deal with demand.
Have an honest conversation with your employees about the situation, and keep in touch with those who are happy to come back to work once the restrictions are lifted.
If you have decided to switch to a takeaway service, start making the necessary arrangements immediately. Get in touch with takeaway material suppliers and work out how many staff you will need to stay open.
Get on social media and promote your new opening hours and practices. As many people in the UK are feeling disconnected right now, they will appreciate a friendly local voice who stays visible throughout the crisis. Now is the time to get active on social media – let me explain further.
Communicating with Customers
And last but certainly not least, keep a two-way conversation open between your business and your customers.
Because the situation with coronavirus has escalated and changed so rapidly, there is understandably a lot of confusion. People’s daily lives have been majorly disrupted, and everyone is looking for the same thing – clarity and stability.
Your social media channels are your most important tool right now; update your customers regularly as to what the situation is in your business. Getting involved in your local community Facebook group is a great way to get your messages seen, and showing support for other companies is crucial for your brand right now.
Bring the positivity on social media – share positive news that you find and remember to have a sense of humour while staying professional; right now, people need positivity, not negativity!
Before You Go
For many hospitality businesses, the COVID-19 situation has been a distressing time. But with careful planning and a positive attitude, there is no reason why you can’t come out more substantial once the opening restrictions are lifted.
Big hospitality has shared some of the positives that have come from the coronavirus outbreak here.
Business owners weathering the storm are now looking forward to being able to open again, with some estimates predicting this could be in a matter of weeks. If you will be in need of staff for your new schedule, now is the time to start planning to be able to hit the ground running. Get in touch with us today to discuss your hospitality staffing needs going forwards.
About KSB Recruitment
We are expert recruiters in the catering and hospitality industry with over 28 years in business, placing the best candidates in their perfect roles with an obsessive attention to detail.
KSB is proud to be a Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) member, accredited investors in people, and both Data Protection and Home Office Compliance registered.
We specialise in roles in Birmingham, Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.