With summer upon us, if you haven’t already given your place a bit of a spruce up there still time. According to reports (reported in this edition) the multi outlet-casual dining sector shows no signs of slowing down. And of course, newly opened businesses are “brand spanking new”, and can make surrounding businesses look a little tired.
Reports have also stated that following the general election “austerity, after eight years is over”, and one of the harsh lessons of any recession is that businesses who keep investing, albeit carefully, will reap the rewards. We often say that here at CLHNews with respect to advertising, businesses that continue to advertise during a recession invariably reap the benefit post-recession.
There is no doubt that for the independent sector competition is fierce, the march of the multi outlet groups has been relentless, so, for many independent hospitality businesses whether you’re a pub, hotel or restaurant, a makeover may make the difference between success and failure. There is no doubt that the revolution in the U.K.’s leisure habits is forcing businesses to adapt or suffer the consequences, namely, which use sales and ultimate closure.
Furthermore, particularly at this stage of the year a refurbishment doesn’t have to cost the earth, or cause massive upheaval, and demonstrates to both customers and staff your commitment to the business. Many hospitality businesses have transformed their premises with budgets that barely reach double figures. The golden rule? Apportion capital carefully monitor expenditure, and to get involved in the entire process.
• The old saying is true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. How do you look from the outside? Will a lick of paint, new signage, tidied or overhauled garden area, Plant pots and hanging baskets, new outdoor furniture benefit from investment?
• Same goes for the inside, one of the biggest areas of criticism, review sites such as Tripadvisor is “tired” “dated” “in need of refurbishment”. The interior design goes a long way to putting your customers at ease, and, reflects your business’s unique personality. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your individuality and for something the multi chains cannot do.Furthermore, as dining habits have changed with businesses open from breakfast through the dinner your business will need to reflect breakfast through to my time transition attracting different types of custom at different times of the day.
• Can you make use of dead space? In particular, outdoor areas (see our alfresco dining feature) your outdoor space is as important as your indoor space, and we have whole feature in this issue on how to capitalise on your outdoor area
• Concentrate on the important issues which are in need, in particular revenue generating areas. Whilst it is important for ongoing maintenance, and preventative maintenance, areas which put people seats or heads on pillows are the areas to concentrate on. They are areas which will generate revenue
• Take a long hard look at your business and identify and invest in key distinguishing features that give the business character, such as stone walls, wooden floors, engravings, cornices and ther forms of art.
• The more comfortable guests/customers are the more likely they are to recommend and return. Comfort matters a lot but doesn’t have to cost a lot. Stools, tables and chairs, crockery and glassware, heating, lighting, beds, mattresses and décor: all form part of the overall customer experience
• Toilet areas, unspectacular, though they may be, are vital in enhancing the reputation of a business, or consequently have the opposite effect. Make them memorable for all the right reasons. 53% of adults surveyed would not return to the premises because poor facilities. They absolutely have to be bright, clean and fresh smelling, offering all the amenities people have come to expect.
• Set aside capital on a regular basis for ongoing maintenance and which will help when considering a major refurbishment. Allocate capital carefully to get the best value for money.
• Finally, the most important consideration, consult those in the know! Yes, there will be jobs can be done in-house, but if you want to really wants to keep up and surpass the rise of the corporate chains, consult an expert who can give you professional advice on all aspects of refurbishment, from small changes to an entire refit.