a table topped with different types of food: COVID-19 impact: How hotels and restaurants are gearing up to woo price-conscious customers

© Provided by The Financial Express
COVID-19 impact: How hotels and restaurants are gearing up to woo price-conscious customers

a group of people sitting at a table with a plate of food

© Provided by The Financial Express

By Mujeeb Ur Rahman

COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe and the hospitality industry is no exception. The impact is hazardous as we already know, especially in context to the hospitality industry, due to the fear of the spread and the travel restrictions, the hotel industry is the first business to be affected and unfortunately could be the last to recover. Once the situation normalizes, it would take another six to eight months at least for the industry to recuperate. Even though it’s the current unlocking phase of the country, the impact has hit hard on the mentality of the people, the demand for tourism and F&B may surely take a grip but it will take time for people to accept the new normal.

COVID-19 effect: Safety and Hygiene in restaurant operations

The food and beverage industry has been hit particularly hard by this COVID-19 storm. Normal restaurant operations have shrieked around the globe, and many businesses have been forced to pivot their offerings in a bid to survive. It will take time for the hotel industry to reassure its guests and build customer satisfaction related to hygiene and safety standards. It is crucial to prepare the staff in a way that they can deal with sick patients, maintain daily health checklists, clean the delivery counter in regular intervals and ensure that gloves, masks, hairnets and aprons are available for everyone. Every single staff needs to be trained well and protocols are to be strictly followed as advised by our local authorities.

Apart from the safe and mutual understanding at both the ends, the industry may face obstacles due to the restrictions in gathering and the hotels after opening doors would have to maintain social distancing that will lead to operating on half the capacity of the banquets, restaurants and lawns. Hence, a shrink in the revenue might be observed paired with the additional cost of advanced sanitation and safety equipment.

But we might have heard this phrase, ‘Success always lies on the other side of the shore’.

Innovation in the F&B space: Customers will be more price conscious

A unique transformation needs to be opted by the stakeholders in order to keep the sector new and interesting. Following the COVID-19 crisis, the customers will be more price-driven than ever before in this case affordable meals will be high in demand for a long time now.

People will also look for added value experiences – something that can bring loyalty to a brand – and hotels must respond accordingly.

Innovation in food with the vibe and experience of the restaurant will be preferred by the customers.

Promoting the venues for intimate ceremonies would be the new normal for a hotel to uplift its RevPAR for at least a year from now keeping fewer gatherings in mind. Also, this is the best time to connect with existing or past clientele, and maintain a relationship that could lead to a healthy business opportunity for the hotel.

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in living memory. No expert can comment on when the situation will come to an end. Slowly but steadily the situation will get back to normal but it is going to be a different experience and feel completely. Though technology is an enabler, it might not replace the human touch which brings the warmth and authenticity that resonates with the customers. Post COVID-19, such services might be a real luxury and customers would look for different experiences. With a positive outlook and structured plan, the industry is expected to flourish soon.

Chef Mujeeb Rahman is a celebrity chef and restaurant consultant, who has worked with reputed Hotel giants like Oberoi & Trident Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, etc. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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