Having been in all three environments in the hospitality business; the Hospitality Manager, The Event Creator and the Guest. These experiences have helped me to identify the key reasons why most hospitality businesses are failing.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you run: a bar, a club, a restaurant, a hotel, a bed and breakfast or a cafe. The same challenges are faced by each hospitality brand type. I’ll point them out and offer tips on improvements. If you find these insufficient, get in touch for some consultation.
Location: Never underestimate the importance of the right location. You need to be placed in an easily accessible, secure and safe location with the proper amenities within.
Atmosphere: No one wants to be in a cold, dark, sad/angry place. That’s the worst sort of vibe ever. Music is a great way to add to the atmosphere. Like a seduction scene, it must be used wisely and perfectly; not loud, not forced. I want to come in and instantly feel lighter. I want to be able to have lighthearted business meetings that lead to good deals. That said, your business vibe should be warm, cosy, trendy and memorable. After all, the atmosphere is part of your brand.
Staff: Your staff can make or break your business. It is important your staff understands and appreciates that the customer comes first, always. Invest in training your staff.
Invest time and thought into building a good work relationship with your staff. Study their strengths and weaknesses and assign them to suitable roles. In the same vein, do not hold onto bad staff. Create a happy work environment. Never neglect to reward loyalty and you’ll find your staff turnover to be really low which means your business profits. Branding isn’t just for the benefit of clients or customers, it is also for the staff. Understand this and you’ll have one of the most effective and strong brands ever. L
Still on staff, the saying dress as you want to be addressed has never been more appropriate. Ensure your staff dress in a way that represents your brand message. Cheerful, attractive, professional, dependable and quick.
Hygiene: From the restrooms, to the kitchen, the guest rooms, the restaurant, The tables and chairs, the floor, windows, bar, cutlery, decor and staff, I can’t overemphasise how important it is to keep everything clean, tidy and shiny. Get rid of dust, mould, and any trace of uncleanliness. When guests leave, get their table or room clean again. Ensure cutlery, guest area, and toilets are without odour.
Business time: Study and understand the times people in your business environment go to work or school, drop off the children, leave work for lunch and after work drinks. What crowd do you want to cater to? What kind of businesses are in your locality?
Timeliness: Build a reputation for timely delivery of orders. Time is money.
Guest Type: There are different types of guests and they all come with their own specifications. The Celebrity guests, Business Execs, Hippie Crowd, Bankers and Accountants, Handymen, CEOS, Small business Owners, Sport Lovers, families and students. Identify what crowd tends to frequent your establishment and work to keep them happy. Repeat customers are the ones who keep you in the Black. Not the one time Money Spenders who are always out for the next new spot.
Menu: Your menu should be creative and fun. Like a treasure book, the more the guests look, the more they find. The description should be easy to understand and the names of the meals and drinks attractive if you have signature meals.
Food Quality: The least you can do is provide an excellent dining experience, after all you are charging me a lot for the meal. The way to any human’s heart and pocket is with great food, so get a good cook/chef who understands this principle.
Drinks: It’s so disappointing when you get charged a lot and the product is below par. Ensure your bar staff includes an excellent mixologist, and ears to the ground on what brands your new guests ask for most.
Content creation: The world is moving at a breakneck speed. Events are happening everywhere. Why would anyone want to spend more than two hours in your establishment spending hard earned money? What’s the attraction, the entertainment, the extra mile? Contact a savvy Event Creator who doesn’t think within a box and knows how to sell fun that would be customised to your clientele.
Partnerships: It is inevitable that drink companies and even cigarette brands would approach you for some branding partnership where you would sell their brands exclusively, display their brands, et cetera. Their aim is Visibility so offer it. Media: You need media presence; online and main stream media. Be seen, be heard. Their aim is content, so offer that. Offer packages like discounts. There should be certain perks for working with you.
Customer Appreciation: Have details of your repeat customers along with important information like birthdays, promotions, etcetera. Appreciate them with a text, a cake or some drinks on the house.
Inventory: Get a good accountant to watch your money and a store manager for the stock. Have an inventory of every item and payment before the start of business and the close of business.
Credit: Before you give credit to any customer, ensure you set up an automatic payment scheme with approval from the customer’s bank for the deduction to be done at the agreed time. You are in business and your goal is PROFIT.