Reopening Planning in Lockdown: What Did We Learn from Last Time?

What happened during previous lockdowns and how can we use that now? Find out what we’ve learned during 2020. 

Hospitality businesses have been pushed to their limits over the last year and as we enter another national lockdown, there is obviously growing concern about what that will mean for the UK’s third-largest employer and the thousands of business owners and team members affected.

What we did see last year was an amazing sense of resourcefulness, resilience, and support within the sector. This time we are better prepared and more informed to support operators and their teams in maximising this time and emerge from this lockdown in a strong position to face to the future. Read on to find out what happened last time and what you can do to support your teams and the sector through the another lockdown.

Maximising your operation

During the first lockdown operators quickly had to find ways to adapt their operations with many entering the food delivery space for the first time in a bid to diversify revenue streams and keep operating during periods of enforced closure. And there’s actually never been a better time to join the market, as online food delivery was already seeing an increase in popularity before the pandemic, with market value increasing from £8.1b to £8.5b between 2018 and 2019. And the market was expected to continue to grow, with a projected growth rate of 6.5% in 2020, but the changes in the marketplace this year are likely to accelerate this growth.

According to Deliveroo, over 11,000 new restaurant partners have joined the platform since March, and they have doubled the number of delivery riders to meet consumer demand.

And with consumers also not going out as much, the demand has increased for home delivery options. Data from CGA in April showed a clear opportunity for delivered drinks as well as food, with a third of the public looking for opportunities to have both delivered. But remember to be clear on the most up to date guidelines on the sale of alcohol, under current guidelines the delivery of alcohol is permitted but operators can only offer soft drinks for takeaway. The data also showed that the biggest demand for delivery was among those who usually eat out at least weekly.

In anticipation of operators looking to adapt their operations, we launched our free Planning Delivery and Takeaway online course to help business owners and their teams. To date, over 43,000 of these courses have been assigned to businesses across the UK with over 1,000 hours of training completed.

You can still access the free Planning Delivery and Takeaway course here.

Preparing for lockdown

Mental health support

The impact of national lockdowns on team members can have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. The stress of not feeling secure in their position, of having to survive on a reduced income, whilst also losing face to face contact with their personal and professional support networks can all take their toll.

During the first lockdown, we offered our Mental Health Support Champion and Personal Resilience online courses free of charge to help operators support their teams. Even the act of providing mental wellbeing resources can have a positive effect on your teams, who will feel that their employers care about their wellbeing. We have now assigned more than 162,000 of our free wellbeing courses, with 10,000 hours of training completed.

After the first lockdown, we conducted a survey of hospitality professionals, which revealed that operators who provided wellbeing support benefited from a more engaged and supportive workforce on their return. Of the frontline team members whose opinion of their employers had significantly improved during lockdown, 73% had been provided with wellbeing support and 67% stated that they had felt their wellbeing had been prioritised by their employers.  

You can still access the free Mental Health Support Champion and Personal Resilience courses now.

In November we launched our brand new Aspire channel, a home for a mix of inspirational and motivational content to help people in their hospitality career. We’ve been providing a range of blog articles, webinars and video content for team members to access completely free.

Accessible training

As part of our ongoing mission to provide support during the pandemic, we have aimed to make training accessible to all. We’ve been doing this through our own free courses and learning resources, as well as partnering with other hospitality providers to reach as many people as possible.

In April we joined forces with hospitality trade body UKHospitality to launch UKH Pathway, an online training initiative for hospitality team members. The free to use platform was designed to provide access to a wealth of training, wellbeing and personal development resources for furloughed team members. The platform has so far helped over 6,000 hospitality team members access learning resources this year, and new users can still sign up now and have access to all the previous resources as well as upcoming new resources to be added.

We also joined forces with the Licensed Trade Charity to build a platform of learning resources for the licensed trade sector. The platform has a huge range of packages available covering Personal Development, Management and Leadership Skills, Personal Development, Compliance and more, meaning operators can build a package selection that suits them. The platform is still available, with many courses free of charge, here.

Prepare for reopening

It’s never been more important to ensure your teams are fully trained and you are meeting all your compliance requirements. This period of furlough is an excellent opportunity to get on top of your training goals, so you are fully prepared for reopening your premises. During lockdown, we were able to develop a fully online APLH and SCPLH course and examination, so you can also ensure you have everything needed for your DPS and personal licence holders.  

As well as meeting your mandatory compliance requirements, you could also consider additional skills and product training. Our hospitality professionals reported that they felt that COVID measures were having an impact on the level of service they could provide to customers and providing extra training material can help build confidence in your team and also helps with building the confidence of your guests.

And to make life even easier, all these courses are available online and can be completed online. You can check out the full range of online courses here.

Support lobbying groups

You can make an impact during this time by taking part in and sharing research surveys, encouraging your teams to take part, and sharing the some of the amazing campaigns that hospitality trade bodies and operators are championing. The results of research polls play a vital role in the efforts of trade bodies who are campaigning to ensure all operators are supported. Working together to let the Government know what we need can and does have an impact, so it’s important to be proactive and share your voice.

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