As a hospitality industry specialist, Ron Browne of Extrapreneur Services has consulted to clubs, pubs and restaurants on operations, marketing and governance to ensure optimal operation and compliance. This is the first of a regular column.
The past two years have set many businesses back on their haunches, wondering what the heck they can do to regroup and thrive. In order to move forward, we sometimes need to stop – take stock – plan – execute.
In clubs, we were forced to stop. COVID has disrupted us like never before with shutdowns, reduced capacities, disappearing workforces and ‘pivot’ strategies to keep the doors open. If we take stock of the things we did to keep trading, strategies included –
- Take away food only to keep kitchens operating and some revenue flowing
- Operating with reduced staff numbers through both departures and COVID isolation rules
- Outdoor sports like golf and bowls are resurgent as activities to get people out of the house
- Care programs where clubs provided food, medical support (including vaccination centres) and home care to aged members
- Operating as relief shelters in fire and more recently and repeatedly flood shelters
- Providing online connections to our members with online raffles, badge draws and food ordering services
What is the central theme of all these things? Community! Clubs have firmly re-established their pre-eminent position as the village green of old, where people gather to entertain, educate, provide support and comfort to their members and the community at large.
So how can we incorporate this into our plan for the future? Sit down and review what worked and what didn’t and see how you can incorporate the winning strategies into your ongoing operations. My crystal ball tells me that the following will be inevitable going forward –
- Change in visitation by members and the community including more take away options and potentially less time spent on-premise
- Reduced staff needing to work smarter through revised rosters, with cross-training becoming essential to cover ‘disease isolation’ absences
- Increased reliance on technology to communicate with members (via apps and social media), sign in technology and rewards tracking, as well as in house menu ordering options
When you review the possible strategies, look to execute those which cost the least to implement but provide the greatest possible return.