What restaurants should look like, and will hopefully do so again in the near future.

nervousness about going back into work and likely into a series of very busy shifts. They have their own concerns about the virus and the new way of working, while quite often they’ll have new colleagues to interact with. Much of what was familiar to them has changed.

Another huge issue, however, is the massive shortage of staff. So many good people have left the industry during the pandemic – a situation that’s been compounded by the restrictions on freedom of movement around Europe.

“Many of our guests don’t want to be reminded that there are new rules and regulations to abide by; they just want to have a good time.”

Many of our guests don’t want to be reminded that there are new rules and regulations to abide by; they just want to have a good time. They don’t want to follow a one-way system to the bathroom, and they forget to put on a mask. They certainly don’t want to be reminded, by someone they don’t know, to observe these new measures. No one really enjoys being told what to do, after all, not least when they are out having fun. What we can do though, as employers, is to empower our teams with confidence. Give your teams some key phrases to use when talking to difficult guests about the new restrictions. Encourage them to speak up and if the smile isn’t coming naturally, then to fake it until they make it. Even with masks on, it’s evident from our eyes when we are smiling, so they mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking their expressions are hidden and should always act like their face is in full view. Employers should understand when staff are doing that. It is by no means easy to keep smiling


even though it’s a given of our trade, so praise them, thank them and appreciate this additional, new hard and tiring work.

Respectful of others

Both employers and guests perhaps need to be reminded that some visitors and staff remain super cautious about the virus. Some people will be constantly looking out for their own safety, while others – probably a growing group as those wearing their double vaccination label increases hour by hour – are fed up and are less inclined to respect the rules and guidelines. Both sides have their own reasons for viewing things as they do, and we should be wary of judging anyone – be they cautious or cavalier – but we do need to highlight the rules where necessary. I don’t think there is any harm reminding our guests that the team serving them are working hard to give them the best experience – but that there are new processes that are still being learned. Signage with humour is great. Lots of friendly reminders that Covid restrictions are not imposed by today’s receptionist or waiter but are coming from a much higher power.

Above all, though, be kind – a phrase that has been worn out by constant use. How can we get that message out to the wider public? Consider just putting that ‘Be kind’ on your signs, and on menus too. We’re all delighted to be back open and trading, but everyone has to adjust. The pandemic has affected each and every one of us in different ways, and we all need to be mindful of that and considerate of others. One day soon we can, hopefully, see the remaining restrictions lifted. But in the meantime, we all need to work together to make that possible. ●

Hotel Management International /


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