Six weeks in - Consumer confidence is growing in the sector but operators need to guard against comp
Yumpingo launched the We Hear You initiative on 4 July, together with CGA and UKHospitality, to support the hospitality sector and the government in reopening the sector safely and with minimal logistical or data challenges. The initiative now covers 750 venues and has gathered nearly 65,000 responses. The analysis and insight below covers the period between 4 July and 16 August – it also includes data around the effect of Eat Out to Help Out.
We Hear You Insight:
Although people are becoming less nervous about going out, hygiene, steps of service and communication of safety protocols remain crucial as there are still people going out for the first time needing reassurance.
Vigilance in following safety protocols is seen as declining. High satisfaction with COVID-19 safety precautions has dropped over the six weeks (79% down to 58%). This seems to have negatively impacted guest satisfaction as measured by Net Promoter Scores (or NPS). The likelihood to recommend a venue has dropped 32 points over six weeks (78% to 46%).
The report notes that clear safety measures are a driver for 79% of diners and 83% of those over 55-years-old. Only a few people (8%) believed that safety restrictions could be lessened, so safety is still very much top-of-mind for customers and operators can't afford to relax on this.
How are you ensuring that managers and servers in week seven have the same diligence as week one? This is especially important because first-time visitors made up 37% of the total last week.
Eat Out to Help Out Insight:
Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) further supports the importance of following safety protocols because an absence of standards leads to lower NPS.
SAFETY: EOTHO may have driven footfall, but customers were notably less satisfied with COVID-19 safety measures compared to non-EOTHO days. Every guest experience must be treated as an opportunity to win back consumers who can share their positivity with friends, family, and across social platforms. The increased volume produced by EOTHO is great for the sales line but will negatively impact long term brand health unless operators follow an effective safety regime around queuing, spacing of tables, cleaning processes, et cetera - even though sales volumes have increased enormously.
SPEED: Lower NPS scores on Monday to Wednesday compared to Thursday to Sunday, is not just solely related to consumer views on COVID-19-related safety measures. Complaints about "speed of service" were 50% higher on Monday to Wednesday versus Thursday to Sunday, indicating food service outlets were overwhelmed by the increase in traffic, possibly leading to them being overbooked and understaffed.
LOYALTY: EOTHO is driving increased volume of customers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays so the key opportunity is to convert these visitors into more valuable and frequent users by using targeted marketing invitations like Happy Hour or Brunch.
Here are Yumpingo’s top tips for how to best manage your operations during the EOTHO days:
Increase your staffing.
Encourage bookings in advance and/or manage queues with appropriate spacing.
Facilitate outside check-ins and web access to the menu via a QR code to expedite customer seating, ordering, or to even advance ordering.
Ensure your team is fully trained on safety procedures on every shift as if it were the first day of opening because for some guests it is their first day back. There can be no complacency or declining adherence to standards.
Clearly mark and explain safety measures to guests.
Use QR codes for ordering, paying, and reviewing if possible.
Maintain high standards of hygiene with staff, tables, floors and toilets.
Consider running a smaller easier-to-execute menu to facilitate kitchen operation.
Find out about how to join the We Hear You initiative here or contact Yumpingo on email@example.com.
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Gavin Adair, CEO of Rosa’s Thai, said of the initiative: "We are delighted to be supporting the We Hear You initiative. There is nothing more important than understanding how happy and safe our customers feel as they return to our restaurants. The more we pull together as an industry to balance the need for safety and hospitality, the faster we all build confidence and custom.”
Join the growing number of operators re-igniting hospitality in the UK by listening to customers and providing quality insight in uncertain times.