The Power Hour – HOW WILL THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR THE CONSUMERS POST COVID-19?

Q1. How do you think a fall in disposable incomes will affect footfalls?

A1. There will be a slight decrease in spending power. Initially people will also be cautious about stepping out, until they get the confidence to step out. Both these factors coupled will contribute and have a significant effect on the number of guests and footfalls. 

Q2. How do you plan to regain trust and confidence of the guests even after strict safety measures are put up in place?

A2. One has to always go the extra mile in order to make customers feel safe during these trying times. We have multiple hygiene protocols and detailed hygiene manuals in place, to ensure the safety of the guests and our staff – which is of utmost priority. We’ve been in contact with our regular guests and informing them about all the precautions that our team has been taking. Naturally, once they begin venturing back and others see that it is truly safe – they themselves will return because of the unique experience, dish or cocktail that they wish to have again. 

Q3. When do you think people will start coming to the restaurants or food courts? 

A3. Once the city starts coming back to life and the public is comfortable venturing outside again, people will slowly begin returning to back to their favourite places. It is in turn, the restaurant’s duty to ensure that the customer feels as safe as possible. The management needs to have a stringent procedure with regard to sanitisation and hygiene. Restaurants will have to wait for directives from the government and how we can return to normal functioning in regulated stages. 

Q4. Cloud kitchen is in. How this concept along with Swiggy, Zomato pose threats to the restaurant industry?

A4. The F&B Industry is a massive one and over the years, there have been lots of new verticals introduced and cloud kitchens are just one of those. The industry is large enough for all of these verticals to co-exist and all function simultaneously. 

Q5. How relevant can one be in this change times, we were perhaps the last human touch and interaction based industry and trades in the service industry. 

A5. One of the most fundamental social activities for everyone is to step out to their favourite restaurant to grab a nice meal, a tasty cocktail or a memorable experience. These moments are difficult to replicate and the crisis might affect the industry, but we strongly believe that people will come back, with precaution. 

Q6. How to ensure social distancing in pubs / bars? 

A6. Due to the impact of Covid-19, restaurants will have to maintain strict social distancing norms. Restaurants await guidelines from the government, so they can rework the layout and setup accordingly. There will be a limit on the number of people at the restaurant at any given point in time, restricted tables in each section and fewer service staff. Restrictions on the number of people in smoking areas, restroom and at the bar will have to be incorporated as well. 

Q7. Will be strongly loyalty driven and building a sense of assurance has become most important or as important as food, service and ambience. How do businesses rally this loyalty? 

A7. It is crucial that restaurants keep their audience engaged even if the restaurant isn’t functional. The brand identity and the quality of the service, food and drinks all play a significant role in instilling loyalty in the customer toward the restaurant. These come together to bring the customer the ideal experience and will play a critical role in supporting the business post the pandemic. 

Q8. Do you think of bringing AI into picture now like having robots servicing guests like we have robot restaurants in Bangalore? 

A8. Human interaction and personalised service will be relevant and will always be one of the main reasons why people visit a restaurant. During Covid-19, precautions will be taken into consideration through contactless dining, billing systems and other measures to minimise personal contact. Once the pandemic ends – the value and significance of personalised service will slowly return. 

Q9. I own a small café in the hills of Coonoor in the Nilgiris. Needless to say tourism is one of the biggest hit industries. Considering that tourist inflow is going to be cautiously low, how can we offer new takeaway experiences? Secondly- how can we as an industry manage to packaging garbage that we will create. Is it safe to ask customers to get their own boxes for takeaways to preserve the environment? 

A9. It is unfortunate but true, tourism is one of the worst affected industries. Initially optimistic people will come out but one should focus on their regular customers whose loyalty has been evident throughout. Curate unique food experiences and special / seasonal menus to give them a reason to visit again and try something new or personalised for them according to their taste. Regarding packing – it is critical that we as a community do our part to take a step towards being more eco-friendly and sustainable. Although, while customers carrying their own packaging is theoretically a good idea – it may not be the most viable option practically or health-wise. 

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