The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on hospitality businesses. However, as 2022 has been the most restriction-free year since 2019, many such businesses are now looking forward to what could be their most financially successful festive season in three years.
Also contributing to this rosy picture is the Qatar World Cup set to take place in December. However, if you run a hospitality business yourself, it would be advisable for you to make sure it is prepared for comfortably handling all of the custom that comes its way.
What is the current state of the hospitality sector?
According to research reported by The Morning Advisor, combined sales made by pubs, bars and restaurants in Britain’s 10 most populous cities during the four weeks to 22 October 2022 were 4% higher than during the equivalent period in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Scottish-based major food and drink wholesaler Dunns Food and Drinks has predicted that pubs and bars across Scotland could be in for their “busiest festive season ever”.
Julie Dunn, Operations Director at Dunns Food and Drinks, has said in words quoted by The Comet: “The hospitality industry will be looking forward to an extra boost after a difficult few years.”
She added: “If a much-welcomed World Cup sales boom were to come to fruition — despite Scotland failing to make the finals — it would certainly provide some certainty to bars, pubs, and restaurants across the country.”
Will your workers be able to handle the holiday boom?
Christmas is typically a busier time than usual for hospitality businesses — and this coming Christmas could prove a financial lifeline for many of them.
Dunn enthuses: “The hospitality industry will be looking forward to an extra boost after a difficult few years.” Nonetheless, she observes: “Inflation, energy price spikes, and the shortage of labour are all impacting businesses — including our own — up and down the country.”
It is very much in your interests for you to make sure your business can accommodate a significant amount of custom. However, you also need to remember that it will be easier for you to jump this hurdle if you place a strong priority on safeguarding your workers’ welfare.
Offer mental health support to your workers
Mike Hardman of the catering equipment suppliers Alliance Online has warned in an article published by HRM Guide: “From busier shifts to irregular work patterns, there are several reasons why the stress levels of the average hospitality worker tend to shoot up over the festive period — and that’s not to mention overtime.”
You therefore have a strong incentive to support your employees’ mental health. As Hardman explains, doing this “can increase productivity and help with staff retention, which should help your business operations run a bit smoother this Christmas.”
Ensure that your employees maintain a good work/life balance
As you put together the Christmas rota, you could struggle to assign shifts in a way that will leave everyone happy. However, there are at least a few tips and tricks you can heed in order to prevent or ease headaches among your workforce.
You might be able to hire temporary personnel capable of working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. However, you should try to make sure none of your permanent employees will need to work all three of those days, or simply an excessive number of days in a row.
Create a comfortable work environment for your workers
In a survey highlighted by The Drinks Business, two thirds of hospitality professionals admitted that their work performance was being affected by personal difficulties. Furthermore, 62% said that they were reluctant to bring up the subject of their mental health with their employer.
However, as an employer, you could put your employees at ease by telling them proactively that your office door is always open and they can let you know of any concerns they have about their work or workplace.
During particularly hectic periods, you could also keep morale high by providing employees with incentives and rewards.
Implement tech solutions suitable for further easing the work burden
One such solution could be a modern POS system. The ‘POS’ acronym stands for ‘point of sale’ — a term meaning “a place where a customer executes the payment for goods or services”, as Investopedia explains.
TechRadar explains: “If the old adage of ‘time is money’ is to be believed, your company’s profitability can shoot up after getting a POS system.” For example, online takeaway ordering systems can help reduce the number of orders managed relatively time-intensively over the phone.