Due to the lockdown, the F&B industry has come to a standstill. Meanwhile, restaurateurs have been bombarded with statistics and future projections of the restaurant market. To shed light on this subject and breakdown strategies for Dineout has launched Instagram Live Hours, hosted by Sahil Jain, Co-founder of Dineout.
We bring you our in-depth conversation with Mr Srijan Vadhera, General Manager – Conrad Bengaluru.
The session started with what a luxury dining restaurateur should plan and how well he/she can prepare for the ‘new normal’. Adaptability of technology will be non-negotiable. While the restaurant industry looks forward to financial assistance from the Government, it is equally crucial for them to look within and prepare to adopt robust solutions.
The luxury dining segment pertains to an extraordinary part of diners’ luxury experience. These are places for celebrations and special occasions. While special events will not cease to exist, the need to open a bottle of champagne and enjoy a gourmet meal might receive second thoughts. So, how does a luxury dining restaurant prepare for the future and reassure its diners?
1. Home Delivery & Take Away to the rescue
Luxury dining industry is more to do with the experience than just an expensive purchase. This has been one of the most dynamic and fast-growing components of the luxury sector. Diners opted more for exclusive experiences and the “Instagrammable moments”. While we expect the positive momentum of experiential luxury to persist, it will slow down in the short term as consumers temporarily revert to buying goods over experiences.
Many luxury dining restaurants like Conrad Bengaluru have begun with a revamped home delivery and take-away business model. One of the most important aspects of luxury dining has been attention to detail and utmost hygiene. Standard delivery protocols need to be set in place and adhered to.
The process of taking food orders, preparing the items, packaging and finally delivering needs to be seamless. At no point can the quality of food and service suffer because that is the USP of any luxury dining restaurant.
2. Introduce revamped and limited menu
Treat every crisis as an opportunity. Luxury dining was always about the experience at a particular restaurant and ambience. But how can a similar experience be hand-delivered to a diner? Luxury dining never got the opportunity to ponder on it, until now. It is important to be conscious of the fact that the same menu won’t work. A re-engineered menu is the need of the hour. This should include dishes that can be prepared with the limited raw materials available in the market. Wastage should be negligible and remaining parts of any raw materials should be repurposed in another food item. Packaging also plays an important role, as the food items need to be intact and travel friendly.
To be able to deliver efficiently, it is important to select areas and work with local authorities for smooth operations. Encourage pre-ordering, digital payment and limit the number of orders per day to reduce unnecessary wastage. Standalone restaurants should focus on a simple menu; the one, a guest, can understand easily and minimize waste.
3. Hygiene is numero uno
Physical distancing and hygiene need to become our way of life. Luxury dining restaurants and hotels are generally ISO certified. Right now, it is crucial to extend these steps to guest entry and raw materials unloading points as well. Sanitization stations and fixed delivery schedules should be in place for all external agents. Raw material should be cleaned and washed before stocking them. Staff members should be educated about the new safety measures in place. Physical distancing, masks, gloves and sanitization for staff should be made mandatory. It is important to also educate the diners about the same.
4. Technology will be the game-changer
Technology for such an operating model always existed. But previously, many brands didn’t feel the need to adopt these. But now it is vital for their survival. There are many touchpoints in a restaurant business where technology can prove beneficial. Diners should be encouraged to pre-order and reserve their table at such restaurants. They should be encouraged to use digital payment methods. DineIn by Dineout, will let diners place orders directly from their phones using a QR code.. Similarly, digital payments like DOPay will remove the need for diners to exchange physical currency. Table management will be crucial to maintain physical distancing. Dineout’s Reserve will simplify and automate this process with least human intervention. For such solutions and more, click here
5. Educate and retrain staff members
Staff members form the backbone of any business in the servicing industry. Retaining them with the updated model of operations will help run the business smoothly. Use this time to plan and get your staff members up to speed with mandatory hygiene protocols to be followed. There are multiple touchpoints where the staff gets in close contact with diners. It is essential to recognize these and train accordingly. Staff should be trained with physical distancing protocols to be followed at all times, including security check as well as room service.
How a staff adopts safety measures in their own space reflects on what measures they will take while servicing the diners. This needs to be ingrained in the DNA of servicing.
Luxury dining restaurants can look at international markets for guidance and mould their techniques. It is a crucial time to create brand awareness. Some initiatives include limited seating with a maximum number of 2-3 diners on a table. Restaurants with buffet should consider switching to A la carte, as that will be profitable. Table reservation should be mandatory. It will prove beneficial to use local produce and design a new menu. Lower profit margins will need to be set, and operational costs should be optimized.
The restaurant industry has started to recognize the true potential of technology and its adoption. It will help to uphold and continue to deliver the brand promise of a luxury dining restaurant. It is equally important to share this message with the diners, via social media, direct messaging, live video etc,.This will help reassure diners and build trust. Social media can come handy in amplifying this message. Dineout’s prepaid restaurant vouchers have re-instilled confidence in the restaurant industry. Apart from this Dineout has been pioneering in the technology domain for the restaurant industry. To find out more, click here