The news just broke that Sarah Wiener in Berlin has filed for insolvency. Restaurant in trouble! We will all read sad news like this more often, especially when the dark season begins, which restaurant owners are already looking at with concern. But if you take a closer look at how owners of restaurants behave and communicate, you will be surprised how much they stick to the old and how little they communicate. Restaurants should really do more to meet the demands of the “Next Normal” and to ensure their survival.
The first thing to note is that very few restaurants talk to their customers, sit down at their table and simply ask a few questions:
- What do we have to do so that you will also visit us in autumn and winter?
- How should we design the interior so that you feel comfortable?
- What do you want to know from us so that you can trust us?
- How should we communicate with you?
- How do you inform yourselves about us?
We have done this for you and did an informal survey. These are some statements given during some conversations:
- They should use their website to explain in detail what the working conditions are like, what hygiene measures are implemented and how the guests are involved.
- They should use their website so that we can make suggestions for improvements if necessary.
- The impression must be created that the restaurant and guests are a community working together towards the goal of offering or receiving the best possible service in the new era.
- It must not only be said but we have to see and feel that and actions have to follow words.
- If they have an outdoor area, then they should also use it in winter, weatherproof, with radiant heaters and blankets and also cosy and lovingly furnished. Then we will feel comfortable there.
- The danger of infection is particularly high indoors. But a loud, blaring air conditioner or a strong air exchanger is no solution. Who wants to be in a room with something like that.
- You should also have the windows open in winter and set up the interior as you would outside with blankets, extra heaters and create by that a cosy atmosphere.
- We don’t want to sit at a table with strangers.
- The waiters should perfectly observe the safety regulations and also kindly help us not to make any mistakes. We don’t want hip students but trained, hyper-correct staff.
- We see home delivery of food as an additional option at best. But actually we rarely want that, because the food is often not as good as in the restaurant, it is colder and the packaging effort is great. And it lacks the feeling of sitting in a restaurant. It’s just not the experience.
- But we don’t want to pay much more either because the prices are often expensive enough already. But we would definitely accept a smaller menu. Few dishes, but really good ones.
- In the past, we would rush to the restaurant and have a quick meal. Today, however, it’s something special again, it’s a big effort for both sides. It should be celebrated accordingly.
- Restaurants should open earlier and close later, especially in the cities. The kitchen should be open from 4 pm to midnight. Then the restaurants could run up to three shifts. Closing the kitchen at 21.00 is no longer acceptable today.
- We expect card payment with modern equipment. It is disgusting to receive banknotes that have already passed through many hands. And we don’t want to reach for the keys with our fingers either, but type with a disinfected pen.
Restaurants will be able to collect statements like these and others. They should be prepared for this and implement it. Can’t be done, doesn’t exist! The virus will determine our lives for a few more years. Those who do nothing will not survive the pandemic.
So: Ask questions, use the website, communicate regularly and intensively, inform clients completely transparently, be flexible, work continuously to ensure the well-being of clients and train the team. You have to reinvent yourself, forget the old, put everything to the test and compare everything with the expectations and wishes your guests have. Afterwards, the issue “Restaurant” is no issue anymore and functions also in winter. Let’s start