"It is expected that social distancing measures will play a significant role in how and when hospitality businesses can re-open. Many are concerned that they will not be able to re-open quickly enough"
A leading North West design group who’s founder is behind some of the region’s most popular eateries including Manchester’s Albert’s Shed, Chester Racecourses’, 1539, and Cheshire’s King Street Kitchen, has launched a support service for hospitality businesses in the region as it warns they won’t survive unless the Government outlines re-opening regulations in its ‘comprehensive plans’ soon.
Design Equals, an agency network of creative experts for the hospitality industry, has warned that by looking at our European neighbours, the dining out experience will need to change for the foreseeable future.
However, with no guidance still from the Government on regulations such as social distancing measures, business owners need to be prepared to act to re-open swiftly as well as pre-empting extra measures that means customers will feel safe to return.
Katie McCarthy, founder and design director at Design Equals, said: “It is expected that social distancing measures will play a significant role in how and when hospitality businesses can re-open. Many are concerned that they will not be able to re-open quickly enough to survive if they do not know soon what they will need to do to adapt their business.
“Businesses will have similar overheads when they re-open, with rents and rates likely to remain the same, but if social distancing guidelines are confirmed, they may only have capacity for half the number of customers so takings will be affected.
“There could however be ways to utilise outside spaces further whilst considerations such as hand washing facilities at entrances and touch free menus will give customers the confidence to return because it’s a safe environment.”
In the absence of government guidance, Design Equals has launched a support service for businesses in the region.
It has launched an emergency service and subscription box that will come directly through your door.
Katie added: “Until we know more from the Government, we are learning from our European counterparts who are a few weeks ahead of us and working to cascade that information to businesses in a simple, creative way.”
There are three boxes for businesses to choose from with each offering different levels of guidance.
The entry level ‘Help Hospitality Heal’ support box (RRP £180) is a one-off purchase which provides an extensive guide on preparing and prioritising your space for re-opening.
This includes access to a one to one consultation with a designer to discuss space, cost effective solutions such as revised use of seating arrangements, flow of operation safe spaces and flexible partitions for creating safe distancing.
The full-service support kit (RRP £999) is a fully personalised business solution which is developed with you by a team of experts. Customers will receive three meetings with a dedicated DESIGN=creative team specifically selected with skill sets considered to the venue type.
The team will define solutions as well as fast-track a programme of works tailored to your individual business needs.
For those wanting to keep abreast of the latest guidance and advice regarding Covid-19, the company will be working with partners in the hospitality industry, to provide a monthly ‘Back to Business’ subscription box (RRP £59.99 per month) that will land directly on your doorstep.
Each month will provide up to date advice guide covering the latest changes, provided by a team of experts. It will also share details of design, products and discounts to help you prepare for your re-opening. Advice will range from interior design advice to operational guidance and insights into individual business’ plans.
Katie added: “We wanted to launch a solution that would help hospitality owners prepare for re-opening, including being ready to open their doors whilst adhering to new guidelines. With little yet known about an exact return date from the Government, we need to act now to be ready to successfully re-open. Our message to outlets is whilst your doors are closed be open to change.
“We have an army of creatives who are working together to provide sensible, educated and affordable ideas for the industry which will arm them with the knowledge and products to a successful re-opening.
“The industry has been hit hard, but we can’t dwell on that now, we can only be ready to welcome guests back through the door and for them to feel safe when they return.”